Offshore Racing Rule

In the fall of 2004, three major US yacht clubs (the Chicago Yacht Club, Cruising Club of America and Transpacific Yacht Club) joined forces to create the Offshore Racing Association (ORA).  ORA is a handicap class rating rule owner that also acts as the developer, manager, marketer and supporter of the Offshore Racing Rule (ORR), a Velocity Prediction Program (VPP)-based handicapping for sailboat racing.  The ORR handicapping system is able to predict relative time allowances between sailboats to permit boats of different sizes, types and ages to compete with the fairest ratings possible.

ORR is an objective rule whose rating calculations are based on the measurement of all the speed-related features of the competing sailboats.  Developed through systematic scientific research, the ORR Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) calculates the speed potential of each boat at various combinations of wind speeds and course directions to give the fairest handicap possible. 

ORA intends for the ORR handicap system to be a non-type forming measurement rating rule that fairly evaluates well designed and prepared boats.  Remember, the ORR is not a development rule and is not intended for sailors who are looking to “beat” the ORR handicap system.  In order to discourage attempts to design boats “to the rule”, the algorithms of the VPP are not publicly broadcast.  ORA will be updating the ORR Rule Book and handicap system on a regular basis to stay current with the latest VPP research and boat design development.

ORA has assumed the task of developing new measurement-based rating formulas for handicap classes that provide the fairest handicapping possible. They have also undertaken all promotional and developmental tasks associated with ORR by providing an increased level of manpower not previously seen in offshore racing. 

The Offshore Racing Rule welcomes all types of boat owners and cruisers-racers and encourages those interested to contact either the ORA or ORR for more information. 

Latest News

Bell's Beer Bayview Mackinac Race Announces Use of Offshore Racing Rule

The Offshore Racing Association and Bell's Beer Bayview Mackinac Race announce the use of the Offshore Racing Rule for the Cove Island Course.

NEWPORT, R.I. - Jan. 20, 2016 - PRLog -- The Bayview Yacht Club Mackinac Race Authorityannounced today that the Notice of Race (NOR) has been published and race registration is open for the 2016 Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race. With this NOR comes the use of the Offshore Racing Rule (ORR) for the Cove Island Course.

The Offshore Racing Association (ORA) and the ORR are excited to have been chosen by the Mackinac Race Authority and confirmed by the Bayview Yacht Club Officers as the rule of choice for the Cove Island Course. “We are thrilled to become an integral part of the 92nd running of the Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race,” said Bjorn Johnson, ORA Executive Director. Mackinac Race Authority (MRA) Chairman Commodore Tom Meier added, “The MRA is confident that the move to ORR will give our competitors a fun and fair race for all.”

The Offshore Racing Rule is used in such classic races as the TransPac Race, Newport Bermuda Race, Chicago Mackinac Race, Pacific Cup, Puerto Vallarta Race, Rolex Big Boat, MEXORC, SoCal 300 and many other important offshore races. According to Kyle Burleson, 2016 Mack Race Chairman, “This is the first time that ORR is a mandatory rule for Division I boats. Boats typically racing in Division I are bigger and faster and we believe that ORR will be a welcome development for those competitors.”

Bayview Yacht Club, founded in 1915, is widely regarded as the premier sailing club in Michigan and the Midwest. Located on the Detroit River near the mouth of Lake St. Clair, it has been hosting the Bayview Mackinac Race since 1925 and has more than 1,000 members. The Offshore Racing Association (ORA) founded in 2006, is the owner and developer of the Offshore Racing Rule (ORR), High Performance Rule (HPR) and Offshore Racing Rule-easy (ORR-ez).

CCA Safety Seminar Targets Racers, Delivery Crews, Cruisers

The March 19-20 Safety at Sea Seminar at Newport RI will provide valuable advice and information for all who race to Bermuda, sail in a return voyage, or cruise or race in any waters. Organized by the Cruising Club of America, the US Sailing-sanctioned seminar will be at the Marriott Hotel, a new home for this widely respected biennial safety event.

Larry Huntington, here at the helm of Snow Lion in in the 2015 Transatlantic Race, will present on heavy weather sailing. (Stephen Lirakis)

Larry Huntington, here at the helm of Snow Lion in in the 2015 Transatlantic Race, has done 23 Bermuda Races and will present on heavy weather. (Stephen Lirakis)

Presented by sailors who combine extensive offshore experience with specialized knowledge, the topics include heavy weather, safety equipment, medical issues, calling for help, the Gulf Stream, damage control, boat and crew preparation, lessons learned from accidents, man overboard, and the Bermuda Race’s regulations.

Newport Bermuda Race seminar rule: “A minimum of 30% of all crew members shall have attended a US Sailing-sanctioned safety at sea seminar within five years of the start of the race. The captain and either the navigator or a watch captain must be included in the required 30%.” This requirement is satisfied by attending the all-day Saturday Seminar. In addition, two crew members must hold current First Aid/CPR certificates.

All-Day Saturday Seminar Presenters and Topics

Moderator Bruce Brown demonstrates a life raft at a safety seminar.(Rousmaniere)

Bruce Brown demonstrates a life raft at a safety seminar at Newport Beach CA.  (John Rousmaniere)

Moderator Bruce Brown (MOB, rescue at sea, ethics of giving assistance, damage control, hands-on), is a West Coast  sailor and veteran safety seminar presenter and moderator. This will be his first CCA safety seminar. Bruce tests safety equipment, is a trainer for the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association, and chaired US Sailing’s review of the fatal accident in the 2012 Ensenada Race. “If I could only expect one takeaway from this seminar,” he has said, “it would be to share the knowledge each attendee gains with everyone on board. If we can create a safety ethos where safety is a consideration in every decision made on the water, we will end up with fewer accidents and a better sport.”

Frank Bohlen (marine weather, sea state), a professional oceanographer, has sailed 18 Bermuda Races, often as navigator. He writes the race website’s Gulf Stream tutorial and the race program’s article on the Stream, weather, and race strategy. Frank conducts pre-race weather briefings and, after the race, debriefs winning crews at the Navigators Forum at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.

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