A Commitment to Leadership in Sport >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
Leadership in sailing is reminiscent of politics. Check the wind direction and act accordingly. It’s not as often when leadership extends its vision to make decisions that go beyond. But it is happening with increased frequency in sports.

It was in 2017 when I pleaded that there be leadership for handicap racing in the United States. There were too many scoring rules dividing the country, and a consensus technical rule was needed to promote growth and, ideally, link the country to the international community. It now seems to be happening.

It was a big deal when Charleston Race Week moved to ORC in 2017, and that shift to this international scoring rule has moved up and down on the East Coast. This was another big deal when the Bayview Mackinac Race and Chicago Mackinac Race moved to ORC in 2021. And now the final act of leadership has crossed the country.

Over two thousand solo miles further west, when the handicap fleets line up to compete in the Rolex Big Boat Series 2022, they will race under the scoring rules set by the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) rather than the ‘Offshore Rating Rule (ORR).

The four-day regatta, hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, California, has been under the ORR since 2014; now in 2022 the handicap divisions will be divided according to ORC rules and ORC certificates will be required to compete.

“The mission statement of the St. Francis Yacht Club is to serve as a center of inspiration for regional nautical activities and a leader in yachting internationally,” said William H. Dana, Commodore of the St. Francis Yacht Club. “The adoption of the ORC scoring rule, which has become the dominant scoring rule internationally, reflects our commitment to leadership in sport and sailing on the West Coast. “

The St. Francis Yacht Club will also use the ORC rule when scoring other handicap regattas on its 2022 regatta calendar, including the Stone Cup (May 21-22) and Phyllis Kleinman Swiftsure Regatta (August 19-21) , often used as an air- until event for Rolex Big Boat Series.

For more than 50 years, the Offshore Racing Congress has managed and developed the IOR, IMS and now ORC scoring systems used in coastal and offshore racing around the world. Globally, it is the most popular measurement-based disability system, with more than 10,000 certificates issued in 45 countries.

“At ORC, we are very happy to have been chosen to contribute to the success of an event as legendary as the Rolex Big Boat Series,” said Bruno Finzi, President of ORC. “This is one of the first coastal racing series in the world, and we look forward to supporting us in making it a continued success for the St. Francis Yacht Club, Rolex and all competing teams.

Run since 1964 and considered the West Coast’s most prestigious regatta, the Rolex Big Boat Series draws competitors from across the country and around the world for four days of buoy racing in San Francisco Bay.

“Since the inaugural race of this regatta, we have evolved with the scoring rule of the time,” said Susan Ruhne, President of Rolex Big Boat Series. “We have watched the evolution of ORC internationally and have listened to feedback from the sailors and owners who compete here. As the Rolex Big Boat Series continues to evolve, it is important that we race by the most current and relevant rule, which is why we are making this change.

The Rolex Big Boat Series 2022 will likely feature three ORC divisions, in addition to a number of one-design classes. The Classics division, for classic yachts built before 1955 and over 48 feet in length, will continue to race with ORR-EZ rating certificates.

Peter Wagner, who has raced with his J / 111 Skeleton Key (USA 115) in several Rolex Big Boat Series and who won the 2021 J / 111 World Championship, said his team raced under both rules.

“Our transition to ORC has gone smoothly and has led to some fantastic races at major East Coast events,” said Wagner. “The ORC fleets were strong, the competition fierce and the results fair. We are excited about the St. Francis Yacht Club’s decision to join the ORC movement, which we believe will help expand the base of high quality keelboat racing here on the West Coast and around the world.

Adam Corpuz-Lahne, Senior Sailing Director of the St. Francis Yacht Club, sees two big advantages with ORC. “It’s transparent and it’s popular,” he said. “If our goal is to promote high quality racing, we have to use the rule that attracts high quality racing boats.

“Last year the IC37 Flying Jenny (USA 24) rolled out of Annapolis and won their division. We would love to see more boats like this come here to compete. ORC appears to be the preferred scoring rule internationally and has become very popular on the East Coast and Midwest as well. We hope that we will start a trend on the West Coast and that other clubs and regions will go to ORC. ”

Ruhne agreed that the goal is to continue to attract the best competition on the water and the ORC rule best supports this goal. “The Rolex Big Boat series has a long history of attracting top competitors from around the world and we want to continue this tradition,” she said. “We can’t wait to see the same boats return year after year, in addition to hosting new competitions that test the locals. Ultimately our goal is for more boats to race here. ”

The Rolex Big Boat Series 2022 will be held September 14-18 at the St. Francis Yacht Club. The notice of race will be published in February and registrations will be open at that time for selected one-design fleets, classic boats with ORR-EZ certificates and monohulls with ongoing ORC certificates.

An informative ORC Q&A with Dobbs Davis and the ORC Support Team will be hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club via Zoom on January 19 at 6:00 PM PST. All interested parties are invited to attend. Register, Click here.

For race information: https://rolexbigboatseries.com/

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