UK IRC nationals to visit Poole • Live Sail Die

For the first time, the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s GBR IRC National Championship in 2024 will not take place from the club’s base in Cowes but will be part of the International Paint Poole Regatta. The 26th edition of the IRC Nationals, one of the major annual regattas in the international scoring system operated by the RORC, will take place in Poole Bay from 25-27 May 2024.

Held every two years, the International Paint Poole Regatta, as usual, will be organized by the Combined Yacht Clubs of Poole and Poole Yacht Racing Association, with title sponsor International Paint. This year’s event included the IRC Southern Region Championship.

One of the oldest sailing events in the world, the Poole and Bournemouth Regatta as it was originally called was first held in 1849. At that time yachting was a hobby popular with royalty and aristocracy with clubs being set up and regattas held around the entire UK coastline.

The Poole and Bournemouth Regatta was originally contested for the Canford Cup, a George IV silver vase made in 1822. The trophy was first awarded in 1849 to Gleam, of P Roberts, Esq of the Southern Yacht Club in Southampton. It then disappeared for decades, until it was reclaimed in 2015. Recently it was won by Sam Laidlaw’s Quarter Tonner Aguila in 2016, Richard Powell’s Marvel in 2018 and this year’s Who’s Next. Ed Wilton.

Who’s Next by Ed Wilton – winner of the 1822 Canford Cup at the International Paint Poole Regatta © Ian Roman/

The UK National IRC Championship was first held in 1999 with the advent of the new RORC/UNCL rule IR2000. Developed from the Channel Handicap System (CHS), the calculations behind the IRC rule are not disclosed to avoid the arms race that inevitably occurs when competitive, well-resourced teams try to optimize their yachts according to published rules. Between CHS and IRC the rule has been refined over nearly 40 years and between them the RORC/UNCL rating offices hold a huge database covering small keelboats to the world’s largest superyachts, from cruisers to grand prix racers. Significantly, all certificates issued in the UK, both standard and approved, are verified by the professional staff of the RORC Rating Office.

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Since adding complexity to rating systems usually results in little or no change in results, the IRC has been deliberately simplified with ratings calculated from declared boat data for standard certificates (i.e. i.e. no need for measurement) whereas for an IRC approved certificate, a yacht’s data must be verified by measurement, but without the requirement of complex stability and hull measurements. A yacht’s IRC rating is expressed as a unique number (TCC) for the hourly rating and can be used in international events. In practice, this allows teams to relatively easily calculate their position on the course and their result a few seconds after the finish.

Andrew Pearce, Chairman of the International Paint Poole Regatta, said: “We are delighted that the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) have announced that they are inviting the International Paint Poole Regatta to host the IRC National Championships as part of its regatta in 2024. from the Solent to Poole is something we have been talking about for some time as the two regattas fit together very well. With three days and eight races, the two regattas are perfectly suited, and Poole being a very short journey from the Solent should encourage any potential boats interested in taking part in the event.

Cape 31 racing at the International Paint Poole Regatta © David Harding/

Eremy Wilton, CEO of the RORC, was present at the announcement of the first day of the Southampton International Boat Show and said: “It is a real pleasure for the RORC to be part of the International Paint Poole Regatta. It may not seem like a big decision to move the IRC National Championships away from their traditional home of Cowes, but it is a big decision within the club and within the IRC to move the event. This has never been done before and as it bears the title ‘Nationals’ we thought it was really important to take it to another part of the UK.

“The prestigious International Paint Poole Regatta is very well established and International Paint is a well known brand that has been with and supported the Regatta for a long time so there is no better synergy for the Regatta, the IRC Nationals and the International Paint Poole Regatta will meet in 2024. We hope this will be the start of its move to other major regattas across the UK,” continued Wilton.

Andrew Pearce, International Paint Poole Regatta President and RORC CEO Jeremy Wilton © Chris Jones

Jason Smithwick, Rating Manager at the RORC Rating Office, said: “We are delighted to have this event as part of the International Paint Poole Regatta. For some time we have had the idea of ​​moving the IRC National Championships to other locations to vary the venue and allow other boats to compete in their local waters and now is the perfect time. We hope Poole will attract regulars to the Solent and in particular boats from the South West and beyond. Poole is a perfect first edition of this initiative with excellent race organization and sailing waters. RORC will of course be part of the core team to help the International Paint Poole Regatta deliver a world class national event that IRC sailors deserve.

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