Offshore Racing Congress (ORC)
Who Owns It
Offshore Racing Congress (ORC)
Why Did It Start
The ORC was founded in 1969 by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and the Cruising Club of America (CCA) to develop a handicap standard for the international community. Since then, the ORC has supported several rules including the IOR, IMS, and, most recently, the ORC Rule. The ORC Rule was structured in the late 2000’s to promote safe design practices and to fairly rate a broad range of designs, including cruiser/racer and modern race boats. The ORC Rule is recognized by World Sailing as an International Rating System. Learn more about the history of the ORC.
How It Works
The ORC Rule relies on a Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) based on standard measurements defined by the Universal Measurement System (UMS). More information on measurement may be found on our Services page. The rating calculator outputs a multi-number rating, suitable for various scoring options and course configurations. While ORC Club and ORC International certificates differ with respect to measurement criteria, they rely on the same calculation routine. As a result, Club and International certificates may be scored consistently with each other. The ORC VPP is updated annually and all rules, regulations, certificates and VPP documentation are freely available to the racing community. ORC scoring options include Time-on-Distance, Time-on-Time, Triple Number, and Performance Curve Scoring. In 2021 all ORC certificates include custom scoring options tailored to specific races and events. An explanation of these options for US and Canadian events can be found here.
Who Uses It
ORC is globally recognized in local, national, and international races making it the most popular measurement-based rating system in the world. With primary interests among European race circuits, the annual ORC World Championships draw international attention to the rating system. The ORC has been recently featured in several areas of the US, including the Galveston Bay races in Texas, Charleston Race Week, the Chicago Mac and Bayview Mac races as well as local races in Chesapeake Bay, Biscayne Bay, and New England.
Where We Fit In
US Sailing Offshore is charged with acquiring, processing, and archiving all data to issue ORC Club and ORC International certificates to boats based in the United States.
ORCi is based on a complete boat measurement carried out by a US Sailing Official Yacht Measurer as defined by the Universal Measurement System. This is the most accurate rating the rule system offers. These certificates are intended for use in World, Continental, Regional, and National level races. To request official measurement, please contact the US Sailing Offshore office.
Club certificates do not require verified measurement. Instead, owners are allowed to declare select measurements while other parameters are assigned by the rating office. Where input data is lacking, the rating office will apply estimates or default values that err to a faster rating. The more data submitted based on measurements, the more accurate the rating. Sail Measurement Certificates must be provided and can be completed by your local sail maker. ORC Club certificates are intended for club-level racing.
ORC One Design
For specific classes, ORCi and ORC Club certificates are available in a standardized configuration. All data affecting a boat’s rating are standardized based on One Design class rules or past measurements taken reflecting close tolerances. No measurements are needed for these certificates, provided that there is proof supplied to the rating office that the boat is complying with its Class measurements. Any configuration change shall invalidate the ORC One Design certificate and a new standard ORC International or ORC Club certificate must be issued.
ORC Super Yacht
Handicapping widely disparate Super yachts represents one of the most formidable challenges any rule authority can undertake. A Super yacht fleet typically includes schooners, sloops and ketches of varying lengths and with displacements ranging from 50 to 600 tons and the huge disparity in yacht type, size and shape is exceptionally difficult to handicap.
For more: ORC Super yacht
For boats currently holding a year valid certificate, any changes to the configuration must be reported and a new certificate reflecting those changes issued. For ORCi certificates, relevant parameters may need to be remeasured.
ORC provides free access to all measurements and any valid certificate issued by any rating office in the world since 2009 through the free ORC Sailor Services database. Measurements and copies of certificates in pdf format are available at no charge without limit. Copy certificates are NOT valid for racing.
To understand how a potential modification would impact a boat’s rating, trials may be ordered through the Sailor Services system on the ORC website. There is no limit to the number of trial certificates issued in the ORC Sailor Services system. Trial certificates are NOT valid for racing.
Hydrostatics/Stability Data Sheet
Understanding the limitations of stability is important to every boat owner, but this information is also useful to offshore race organizers interested in defining relevant safety standards in their entry requirements.
For more: ORC Stability Datasheet Explanation
The ORC Speed Guide uses the ORC VPP to develop polar diagrams for your yacht. These diagrams are an asset to understanding relationships between performance, sail selection, wind speed, and wind angle. Speed Guides are provided with every US Sailing issued ORC certificate. Additional speed guides may be obtained via the ORC sailor services.