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

ORR Allows Large Roach Headsails for 2018

Jim Teeters, ORA Technical Director 28 Feb 2018

The Offshore Racing Association (ORA) has introduced Large Roach Headsails (LRHs) into the 2018 Offshore Racing Rule (ORR). This type of sail resides in the “no-man’s” land between headsails (genoas/jibs) and spinnakers that had previously been disallowed in ORR. After several years of consultation with sailors and representatives of the marine industry the ORR committee has developed a methodology to measure and fairly rate these sails.

There are a number of boats that will find this sail fills a gap in their sail inventory. One example is a boat with a fractional rig whose largest headsail is non-overlapping. For tight to beam reaching, especially in light air, there is no sail on board that would provide optimal performance.

There are also a number of boats for which the LRH has virtually no attraction. A boat rigged with a masthead overlapping headsail already has in her inventory a sail or sails that achieve much of what an LRH does. Read more...

Offshore Racing Rule to be Used in Mills Trophy Race

Boats with valid ORR certificates will be dual-scored in this Great Lakes Race.

Newport, R.I. - April, 26 2017 -- By strong customer request the Offshore Racing Rule (ORR) will be included in the Mills Trophy Race hosted by the Toledo Yacht Club. The Mills Trophy Race is held each year on the second weekend following Memorial Day and this year’s race starts on Friday, June 9. In addition to PHRF scoring, the 2017 race will be dual-scored in ORR for six or more boats sailing on the Mills Trophy course (67.8 nm) that submit valid 2017 ORR certificates. Racing begins near the Toledo Harbor Light and ends near South Bass Island. Following the end of the race, boats proceed to the public docks in downtown Put-in-Bay for a celebration with both winners and “also-rans.”

The Mills Trophy Race is a test of navigational skill as the race starts in the late afternoon and sailing continues through the evening and into the night. “The Mills Trophy Race is a perfect fit for ORR boats,” stated Bjorn Johnson, Executive Director of the Offshore Racing Association (ORA). “This type of distance race can use one of the many available Offshore Racing Rule wind mix combinations to get accurate finish results.” According to Jim Teeters, Technical Director of the ORA, “The race committee for the Mills Trophy Race are cutting-edge with their foresight in using the Offshore Racing Rule for dual-scoring, proving themselves as leaders in the United States sailing measurement rules.”

For information about the Mills Trophy race, please visit here. On-line registration for this race is available on Yacht Scoring. Sailors with questions about ORR, should visit the Offshore Racing Association or the Offshore Racing Rule.