52nd Annual Meeting of the Offshore Racing Congress was held in two
parts: Zoom committee meetings held over 6-8 November followed by
both in-person meetings in Athens and Zoom conferences held over
12-14 November. In the concluding meeting of the ORC Congress a
thorough overview was given of the 2021 season and what improvements
and events lie ahead in 2022 and beyond.
Delegates from among the 45 countries that use the ORC Rating System
heard reports from among several Committees that have met in the
last week to give their recommendations on several important items:
- Submissions from national rating authorities to changes rules and
- Changes in membership of the Committees
- Improvements to the ORC VPP in formulating ratings for 2022
- Locations and dates of major 2022 and 2023 ORC championship events
- Report from Treasurer Patrick Lindqvist on the strong financial
health of the organization
Notable among decisions approved by the Congress are the following:
The Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) changes made by the
International Technical Committee (ITC) led by Andy Claughton
focused on mostly small adjustments to improve accuracy, with a
significant review made of the aerodynamic model. Improvements to
the wind gradient model and better force coefficients for asymmetric
spinnakers predict a closer match of observed upwind and downwind
performance among 25 sample designs evaluated within the 1800 boats
in the ORC test fleet. Overall the change in ratings in the 2021
fleet for 2022 is anticipated to be only <0.5%.
ITC has also helped confirm that a new scoring concept introduced
last year called the All Purpose Handicap (APH) does better at
providing a single-number representation of a boat’s performance
averaged across the entire range of windspeeds. ORC has not yet
eliminated the General Purpose Handicap (GPH) on certificates, but
is moving towards phasing this out of supported use.
Another interesting item related to scoring is the adoption of the
new terms “Polar Curve Scoring” and “Scoring Wind” to replace
Performance Curve Scoring and Implied Wind, respectively. The reason
is to encourage broader adoption of PCS as a scoring method since it
is the most accurate of all offered by ORC.
After three years of development work, ITC expects this year to
finally roll out for more general use the new ORC Multihull Rule
(ORCmh), beta-tested this year and slated for further testing in the
first half of 2022.
ITC Chairman Andy Claughton has also been approved to devide of the
Committee into a technical production group and an expansion of
designers to oversee suggested changes to the VPP. These include
Quentin Lucet from VPLP (FRA), Mark Mills (IRL), Adolfo Carrau from
Botin Partners (ESP), and Bruce Nelson (USA).
The Congress also approved the adoption of a recommended upgrade to
the Aerodynamic model based on a more modern wind gradient model and
new force coefficients for asymmetric sails. They also listened to
an explanation of the ongoing work on the hydrodynamic research on
residuary resistance, expected to be adopted into the VPP in 2023.
Overall, Chairman Bruno Finzi reported the ORC system has done well
in 2021, coming close to returning to pre-pandemic levels of
certificates and boats in the fleets that use the system. At this
time in 2020 there were 7413 ORC Club and ORCi certificates issued,
compared to 9326 issued thus far in 2021 now…an increase of 26%. The
largest spike in ORC statistics in 2021 was in the USA, where in
2020 there were only 346 certificates issued compared to 1040 now –
a 300% increase!
Finzi also expects an even better year in 2022 with next year’s ORC
championship events to include the ORC Mediterranean Championship in
Sorento, Italy in May, the 2022 ORC World Championship in Porto
Cervo, Italy in June, the ORC Double-Handed European Championship at
the Aegean 600 race in July, and the 2022 ORCi European Championship
in Hanko, Norway in August.
Adding to the list of World Sailing-endorsed ORC World Championships
is a new event next year, the 2022 ORC Double-Handed World
Championship to be part of the Gotland Runt race in Sweden in July.
Bids for 2023 ORC championship events were approved for the 2023 ORC
Worlds in Kiel, Germany the 2023 ORC Europeans in Malta, and 2023
ORC DH Worlds in Barcelona. An expression of interest was also
received for the 2024 ORC Worlds to return to the USA since being
cancelled in 2020.