Fair Racing / Handicapping

Committee Members | ORC Measuring | Corinthian Spirit | Activities and Status | Reports and Documents | Superyacht Regattas – Handicapping Rules

Kurtz_SBA3641The mission of the Fair Racing / Handicapping Committee is to address all fair racing issues and to evaluate the handicapping/rating systems currently being used in superyacht racing, identifying the positive and negative aspects of each rule. The committee is to report back to the SYRA Executive Committee with recommendations on the viability of the rules being used as they pertain to fair racing, how they can be improved for superyacht racing and whether a new superyacht rule should be considered. Other fair racing issues such as class breaks, the owner/driver issue and course composition will be addressed.

Fair Racing / Handicapping Committee

Committee Members

Membership as of May 31 2018

Organizer- 1 Edoardo Recchi (chair)
Organizer- 2 Kate Branagh
Designer- 1 Bill Tripp
Designer- 2 Ruurt Meulemans
Sailmaker Mike Toppa
Industry TBD
SYRA Technical Jim Taylor
SYRA/Race Officer Peter Craig

ORC Measuring Under the ORCsy

It is important to separate fact from fiction regarding measured yachts under the current superyacht handicapping rule. While the Rule Authority clearly prefers measured date over declared data, it is not mandatory to measure one’s yacht in order to race under the ORCsy.

The perception from some that unmeasured yachts receive a significant penalty assigned to their ORCsy handicaps is not true. For the 2018 ORCsy VPP, a rating adjustment of 1% across all wind ranges is assigned to yachts that are not measured. As an example, for a yacht with a 400 second per mile rating, this amounts to approximately 1 minute 20 seconds for a 20nm race. It is worth noting that this transparent adjustment is mentioned in section 302.3 of the ORCsy Rule… “A boat with a “Declared” ORCsy certificate shall receive a penalty of 1% on her rating time allowances”. Captains have been reminded that this was to be put into effect numerous times prior to the 2018 racing.

It has not yet been determined how non-measured yachts will be treated with the 2019 VPP. The ORC is contemplating a more significant rating adjustment than 1%, though this issue is to be discussed at a meeting between the ORC and SYRA later this spring. SYRA members are encouraged to provide us with your feedback on this issue.

A welcome change in superyacht racing in recent years has been a growing sense of confidence from owners and sailors that the superyacht rating rule of choice (ORCsy) has clearly enhanced fair racing. A fully transparent VPP has played a major role in the popularity of the rule, which debuted 4 short years ago. But so too has the fact that measured data is steadily replacing declared data fleet wide. As of March 2018, 54 superyachts were fully measured with more already partially measured or scheduled to be fully measured soon.

There are two steps to measuring – the out of water hull scanning to capture offset files and then the flotation and inclining procedure while in the water. For more information on measuring your yacht, please contact the ORC at orc.org/superyacht or refer to the applicable section of the ORC website: http://www.orc.org/rules/ORC%20SY%20Measurement%20Guidance%202017.pdf

List of ORC measured superyachts tops 50
A welcome change in superyacht racing in recent years has been a growing sense of confidence from owners and sailors that the superyacht rating rule of choice (ORCsy) has enhanced fair racing. A fully transparent VPP has played a meaningful role in the popularity of the rule, which debuted 4 short years ago. But so too has the fact that measured date is steadily replacing declared data fleet wide. As of December 2017, 50 superyachts were fully measured with another 18 partially measured or scheduled early in 2018.  Click to see the current this list of ORC Measured Yachts (pdf)

As more yachts get measured, it has been substantiated that some of the data declared by teams has not accurately reflected the ‘as raced’ condition of their yacht. Both the SYRA and ORC have been encouraging racing superyachts to consider getting measured during the next yard period when they are scheduled to haul out. In addition to playing a role in fair racing, programs will be able to accurately quantify their yachts’ ‘as raced’ displacement and stability.

Participating programs have been reminded that the ORCsy VPP will again feature a rating adjustment for those yachts that are unmeasured (approximately 1% across all wind ranges in 2018). This transparent adjustment will be reflected on the certificates. It is the intent of the rating authority to reassess the rating adjustment for the following year as they learn more about the realities of measured versus declared data. Regatta Organizers and the ORC encourage those programs planning to race in the future to make arrangements to measure the next time their yachts are scheduled to be hauled.

There are two steps to measuring – the out of water hull scanning to capture offset files and then the flotation and inclining procedure while in the water. The Rule Authority is more than willing to explain the process to Captains who would be measuring for the first time. Please contact the ORC here or refer to the applicable section of the ORC website: http://www.orc.org/rules/ORC%20SY%20Measurement%20Guidance%202017.pdf

Corinthian Spirit

Corinthian Spirit Racing – Expanding the Playing Field

A 2017 SYRA initiative, Corinthian Spirit racing is showing some real traction just one year later. With fleet building a primary goal, this class is designed to attract yacht owners new to superyacht racing as well as with those who participated in the past, but are not currently competing. Informal polling has revealed that the reasons for dissatisfaction from those who left racing was quite varied, and included the former handicapping rule, expenses related to yacht optimization, the need to augment permanent crew, and perceptions regarding safe racing.

The SYRA, in collaboration with the ORC, has created a superyacht racing experience with an emphasis on fun, competitive racing with streamlined access to a handicap certificate, fewer regatta related expenses, and minimal impact on the yacht captain’s resources. The initiative debuted successfully at the 2017 edition of the St Barths Bucket with four yachts competing and all participants pleased with the class debut. This year’s Bucket featured a six-yacht class and the Superyacht Cup Palma will have a ‘Spirit Class’ later this month.

A key Corinthian Spirit goal is to keep the racing fun and competitive without yacht owners having to optimize their yachts. The aim is to provide an enjoyable experience for participating owners and their guests with all well sailed yachts capable of a podium finish regardless of pre-regatta optimization and preparation.

The most notable criteria and class specific rule precludes spinnakers, Code 0 sails and mizzen staysails. Additionally, jibs on furlers or hanks are a must. All participants are required to have a valid ORC Corinthian Spirit (ORCcs) handicap certificate and an experienced RRS-Safety Afterguard Member on board.

The process of acquiring an ORCcs handicap certificate is simplified with the ORC and regatta organizer assisting if a captain asks for help. The ORC representative meets with all captains (and owners if so desired) on the participating yacht at the regatta for an information exchange prior to racing. When handicapping yachts, the ORC takes into account each yacht’s optimization for racing (or lack thereof) before final handicaps are assigned.

Handicap adjustments can and will be made by the ORC/SYRA panel between races based on observed speed potential and maneuvering characteristics of the yachts (using GPS tracking and on water observations).

And there will be a 1% Owner / Driver credit applied to handicaps of those yachts who’s owner drives at least half of each race.

Safe racing has been and will continue to be a top priority of regatta organizers and the SYRA for all superyacht racing. There will be no compromise to safe racing in the Corinthian Spirit Class. The pursuit or staggered start racing formats are used with the superyacht RRS Appendix SY in play to ensure safe racing remains the top priority.

Because the Spirit Class yachts race without spinnakers, their class may sail shorter courses than the conventional racing classes.

We hope to continue experiencing growth with this superyacht initiative and feel strongly that it can expand the playing field, enabling more yacht owners to enjoy the superyacht racing experience.

Activities and Status

ORCsy 2017 End Season Report:
After 9 successful events in 2017 (SuperYacht Challenge Antigua, Swan Cup and Loro Piana Caribbean Regatta in Virgin Gorda, St. Barth Bucket Regatta in St. Barth, Loro Piana SY Regatta in Porto Cervo, SY America’s Cup in Bermuda, SY Cup in Palma, Candy Store Cup in Newport and Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Porto Cervo) the ORC would like to update you on the situation of our handicap system. Read more here.

There are a number of issues that come into play when one looks to address “fair racing” with superyachts. First and foremost is the rating / handicapping of the yachts. The different systems are explained here, as well as a list of what rules superyacht regattas are using.

Other areas that impact ‘fair racing’ that will be addressed include but are not limited to: accurate measurement data, shared database among rule authorities, course composition/race management, racing oriented superyachts, class splits, passing lanes in pursuit racing, extended starting sequences, and owner/drivers.

The ORCsy Handicap Rule made its successful debut in 2015. The rule continues to evolve based on experience and observations.

For more information and the Rule Overview visit:  www.orc.org/superyacht

Reports and Documents

Displacement Meeting at YCCS
Meeting Summary 60KB PDF
17 June 2013

SuperYacht Racing: Is ORC-sy the answer?

Sail change onboard the 180 ft mighty black hulled Marie. © 2015 jrenedo
Sail change onboard the 180 ft mighty black hulled Marie. © 2015 jrenedo

One of the wonderful things about super yachts is their individuality: They may have sleek racing lines or timeless classic charm. It’s one of the things we love about them, a chance for the owners and naval architects who designed and built them to show off their personality and skill. And there is nothing more spectacular than seeing these magnificent yachts racing en-masse and under full sail.

But how do you “level the playing field” in such a diverse fleet?

Fall 2015 article posted by Breeze Studio: http://breeze-studio.co.uk/is-orc-sy-the-answer.