Eligibility Criteria – ‘Cruising Superyacht’ Defined
From the very beginning, some 30 years ago, superyacht racing was a competition between large cruising sailboats. In recent years, the SYRA and regatta organizers have defined ‘superyachts’ as those yachts with a minimum overall length (LOA) of 30.48 meters. Some superyacht regatta organizers include minimum LOA as a criterion for entry or for participation in superyacht classes at their respective regattas.
It is the individual regatta organizer who determines eligibility requirements for their regatta and whether to accept racing yacht entries, or whether to allow racing yachts to compete against cruising yachts.
The superyacht handicapping rule (ORCsy), currently used at all SYRA sanctioned regattas, was created in 2015 specifically for cruising superyachts. The simple definition of ‘cruising superyacht’ is any sailing yacht over 30.48 meters in length that was designed primarily for cruising. An SYRA working party, with help from ORC, presents measurement values that can assist organizers with that determination (pdf).
2022 Annual General Meeting
A 2022 Annual General Meeting was held and documents are posted here.
2020 Annual General Meeting
A virtual 2020 Annual General Meeting was held and documents are posted here.
2020 Winter Newsletter
The sixth issue of the SYRA newsletter was emailed to members in February 2020 and is posted here. Previous editions of the SYRA Newsletter can be found on our Newsletter page.
Faces in the News
Robbie Doyle, recently inducted into the U.S. National Sailing Hall of Fame, has made significant contributions to superyacht racing. Learn more here.
2019 Annual Meeting
The 2019 SYRA Annual General Meeting will be held in St Barths on Wednesday, 20 March 2019.
Location: Salle de Théâtre, Gustavia St Barths
Time: 1700 – 1815 (social hour following)
View the meeting minutes and past Annual Meeting documents here.
Changes to the Appendix SY
Staggered start and pursuit racing formats for superyachts create no shortage of overtaking situations on the race course. In order to minimize dangerous situations when yachts with limited maneuverability are in the process of being overtaken, RRS 17 was modified in the original Appendix SY.
In recent years there has been a fair amount of discussion, and little in the way of consensus, about overtaking on the same tack while sailing different angles. The original language in the Appendix SY, as it pertained to Rule 17 and proper course when overtaking to windward or to leeward, left room for uncertainty. This then led to some inconsistencies with the application of the rule at different regattas, which resulted in confusion for competitors on how this rule applies.
The SYRA’s Superyacht Racing Committee met in Porto Cervo last spring on this issue and continued the dialogue in subsequent months. The end result was World Sailing approving modifications to the latest edition of the Appendix SY (version 3.1 December 2018), which now includes a definition for ‘Overtaking’ (SY2.4) and revised language for Rule 17 ‘On the Same Tack; Proper Course’ (SY2.9).
Version 3.1 of the Appendix SY can be found right here on the SYRA website. As a result of these changes, one of the original 5 superyacht racing Case Studies (#2) required modification.
This change will be reviewed during the SYRA’s annual ‘Superyacht Racing Rules’ interactive forum in St Barths on Thursday morning, 21 March. Of note, five members of the Superyacht Racing Rules Committee will be at the Bucket next month. If you have any questions for committee members or would like to provide input on any issues pertaining to superyacht racing rules, there will be an opportunity to meet (see the SYRA Committee section) or you can email us anytime and we will forward to the committee chairman.
Fall 2019 Newsletter
The second issue of the SYRA newsletter has been emailed to members and is posted here. We welcome your feedback as we continue to produce what is designed to be an informative and interesting periodical for those who are involved in superyacht racing. The winter edition will be published in February 2019.
2019 ORCsy Rule and VPP – Better Yet
The handicap rule used by nearly all of event organizers for the past 4 years is the ORC Superyacht Rule (ORCsy).
This came about 4 years ago through a SuperYacht Racing Association initiative in response to feedback from superyacht owners who sought to have a fully transparent rule. The resulting collaboration between the ORC, the worldwide leader in rating technologies, and the SYRA has been recognized by yacht owners and crews as a great success to this point.
At the conclusion of racing every autumn the ORC, with input from SYRA technical representatives, compiles a list of superyacht handicap rule and Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) issues to be researched further and tested in order to continue with refinement and improvement of the rule in the interest of fair racing.
The first test run of the 2019 is expected later this month for evaluation by the ORC and SYRA. The list of features and areas being researched for the 2019 ORCsy VPP include, but are not limited to :
• KEEL RESISTANCE – The keel resistance (frictional and residuary) will be revised for high thickness and shallow draft keels.
• DYNAMIC AND TACKING ALLOWANCE – These allowances will be revised to better assess heavy boats accelerations, not only in tacks and jibes.
• STABILITY – In the computation of righting moment the effect of free surfaces of liquid tanks will be taken into account for those boats providing a certified stability booklet.
• MIZZEN STAYSAIL – The efficiency of the mizzen staysails, which depends on the blanketing effect of the mizzen, will be further evaluated.
• DECLARED CERTIFICATE PENALTY – The penalty will be reviewed and tuned according to the number of races a yacht participated in previous seasons. For those new to superyacht racing it will be reduced. (presently at 1% for declared certificates)
• SAIL ALLOWANCE – The allowance for the number of sails carried on board will be reviewed to better assess cruising configurations.
• CORINTHIAN SPIRIT CLASS – A screening factor based on Sail Area /DSPL and/or DSPL/Length ratios will be studied to make the class more homogeneous in the Corinthian Spirit Class.
• CORINTHIAN CERTIFICATES ONLY – A size factor will be studied to assess different acceleration for big yachts.
• DYNARIG assessment improvement.
SYRA Newsletter Debut
The SYRA just recently debuted their ‘SYRA News’, an email communication to members which will be produced three times year in June, October and February. The first issue was emailed and is posted here. We welcome your feedback as we launch what is intended to be an informative and interesting periodical for those who are involved in superyacht racing.
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.
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: ORC SY Measurement Guidance 2017.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: ORC SY Measurement Guidance 2017.pdf
2018 Superyacht Winter Circuit
The hurricane season was catastrophic for many in the Caribbean and the southeastern seaboard of the United States. The impact was especially severe in the British Virgin Islands. As such the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda will not be able to host their Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta in 2018.
Antigua was virtually unscathed and their Superyacht Challenge is proceeding as scheduled (http://superyachtchallengeantigua.com/) with nine yachts currently listed. For the first time, the Antigua Superyacht Challenge will feature four days of racing (January 31 – February 4).
The island of St Barths did take a direct hit from Hurricane Irma, and the recovery in the following months has been nothing short of remarkable. The 2018 edition of the St Barths Bucket (https://www.bucketregatta.com/) will feature approximately 30 superyachts, including an impressive six-yacht Corinthian Spirit Class. The Spirit class is a 2017 SYRA initiative embraced by all superyacht organizers and represents a great option for yacht owners looking to participate and compete while committing fewer resources in the lead up to the events Corinthian Spirit Exhibit.
The Winter Circuit will kick off a great racing season, with Porto Cervo, Palma and Newport attracting yachts into the spring and summer months.
Big Boats, Big Tactics
With high tonnage, there are long-game tactics to consider, but in high-stakes, high-ego superyacht racing, it’s never as simple as it appears. Read more here.
By Tony Rey – December 30, 2016
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.
Chelsea Ships Bell Clock Awarded
At the Annual General Meeting in St Barths, a beautiful Chelsea Ships Bell Clock was presented to Alessandro Nazareth, representing the ORC Technical Team
An ambitious initiative to develop a rating system for superyachts began in 2014. In eight months, the team developed the new system, designed to meet the goals of transparency and fair sailing. Due to their extraordinary efforts, the new rule made a successful debut at the 2015 Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta and at the St Barths Bucket after that. They continue to apply their talents and diligent efforts to ongoing improvement efforts and refinement of the ORCsy Rule.
SuperYacht Racing Association
Presented with sincere thanks to
The ORC Technical Team
For their contributions to Fair Sailing
New Corinthian Spirit Class
The SuperYacht Racing Association (SYRA) membership, in conjunction with the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) has developed a new initiative: the Corinthian Spirit Class.
The superyacht racing circuit is thriving with new yacht owners coming on the scene every year. Yet stakeholders agree that there is a need to broaden the appeal of superyacht regattas. Recognizing this need, a new class has been developed with the primary goal of attracting more yacht owners and growing participation. The Corinthian Spirit Class offers an alternative to what is viewed by some as increasingly competitive and resource intensive racing.
Read the full release: corinthian-spirit-release-november-18-2016
In Remembrance – Ed Dubois
Ed was an extraordinary talent and friend. His legacy is a remarkable one and the SYRA is honored to be a small part of it. It was his drive and vision that saw the need for and gave life to the SuperYacht Racing Association. All those who race superyachts or are part of this industry are indebted to him for his many contributions and creative ideas.
It is with great sadness that we say good-bye to a very special man. We will continue to strive to meet his goals of safe and fair racing with the zeal and good humor that were uniquely his.
From the Dubois team official press statement: “Ed Dubois was a huge talent and his legacy will continue as one of the world’s great yacht designers. Known not only for his love of all things boat-related, but also music, art, travel and most of all, his family and friends. Ed leaves his darling wife Honor and four wonderful children, to whom he was completely devoted.”
A complete and touching obituary is posted here: telegraph.co.uk
Jonathan Kline recognized at 2016 Annual Meeting
At the SuperYacht Racing Association’s Annual General Meeting, held on 16 March 2016 at Salle de Théâtre, Gustavia St Barths, movers and shakers in the superyacht world participated in discussions and updates.
SYRA Executive Committee Co-Chair Kate Branagh awarded SYRA’s annual recognition trophy to Captain Jonathan Kline (a member of the SYRA Executive Committee and the Communications Officer on P2). He was presented with a beautiful, handcrafted Ship’s Bell Clock from Chelsea Clock for his many contributions to the advancement of safe racing. “Because of him, we are in a far better place than we were 18 months ago,” said Executive Director Peter Craig.
Superyacht Challenge Antigua
Hosted by the Admiral’s Inn and Antigua Rigging in association with National Parks Antigua. The sixth edition of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua is proving very popular with a magnificent fleet of Superyachts taking part. Designed to be solely for the pleasure of superyacht owners, their guests and crew. The magnificent fleet take part in three days of spectacular racing. With daily pursuit races along the stunning south coast of Antigua and laid back social events, The Superyacht Challenge Antigua is a wonderful celebration of sailing and parties.
Event website: www.superyachtchallengeantigua.com
Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous
Virgin Gorda, BVI
9 – 12 March 2016
A fleet of some of the world’s most beautiful and most impressive sail and motor yachts gather for three days of racing in the crystalline waters of the renowned sailor’s paradise that is the British Virgin Islands. A range of exclusive social events take place over four days against the backdrop of the pristine beaches and unspoilt natural beauty of Virgin Gorda. Organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and Boat International Media, the regatta has now reached its sixth edition and has rapidly grown to become a key event on the Caribbean superyacht calendar. Open to sailing and motor yachts over 80 feet in length, the regatta comprises coastal and round-the-island races as well as a packed social programme keeping owners, guests and crews busy at sea and ashore.
Event website: www.loropianacaribbeansuperyachtregatta.com
2016 St Barths Bucket Regatta
St Barthlemey, FWI
17 – 20 March 2016
The St Barths Bucket is the largest annual sailing superyacht regatta in the world. Since 1995, St Barthelemy has provided the perfect venue for breathtakingly gorgeous days on the water and world class entertainment ashore. The Bucket is an invitational regatta that features both the latest in Superyacht designs and true classics. The fleet includes many beautiful, large cruising yachts and a number of newer performance oriented designs. All are attracted by both the exciting racing under the new ORCsy rule and the unique spirit of the Bucket Regattas. This spirit is one of true camaraderie and sportsmanship in a non-commercial environment.
Event website: www.bucketregattas.com
Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta
Porto Cervo, Sardinia
7 – 11 June 2016
Organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in collaboration with Boat International Media, the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta hosts a maximum of thirty of the world’s largest and most beautiful sailing yachts on breathtaking courses winding through the islands of Sardinia’s La Maddalena archipelago. The regatta has been held annually since 2008 and is renowned as much for the elegance and prowess of the participating yachts as for the rich and varied shore-side social programme offered by the organizers and title sponsor.
Event website: www.loropianasuperyachtregatta.com
ORCsy Handicap Rule
The new superyacht handicapping rule (ORCsy) made its very successful debut this spring in the Caribbean at the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta and the St Barths Bucket. The SYRA fair sailing/handicapping initiative led to an effective collaboration between the SYRA and the Offshore Racing Council (ORC), culminating in the ORCsy. The Palma Superyacht Cup, Perini Navi Cup and Rolex Maxi Cup (supermaxis only) were the next regattas to feature this fully transparent rule. www.orc.org/superyacht
Levelling the Pitch pdf
Superyacht Racing and the ORCsy Handicap Rule
by Andy Claughton
Perini Navi Cup
A big breeze 25-know finale to the 2015 edition of the Perini Navi Cup provided a spectacular finish with 90 seconds separating the top four finishers.
Superb Palma Racing
Superyacht Cup Palma (21 yachts) concludes with three great days of racing and Marie, Inoui, Maegan celebrating class wins www.thesuperyachtcup.com/palma/
SYRA Executive Committee
Colin Kiley of Rybovich joins the SYRA Executive Committee. Rybovich is one of the four new stewards of the Bucket Regattas. Kiley replaces Tim Laughridge, one of the former Bucket owners.
An elegant, inscribed Chelsea Ship’s Bell clock was presented to Jim Capron at the 2015 Annual General Meeting in recognition of his critical role in getting expedited ISAF approval of the Appendix SY to the Racing Rules of Sailing and his ongoing contributions to safe racing.