- Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 March 2013 15:55
I’m thinking of going yacht racing, how do I start?
So you’ve decided that it’s time to try racing, either in a local race or in an open event. It can all seem a bit daunting once you start looking at the paperwork! DON’T be tempted to ignore it all and hope for the best, as you may end up not being able to take part after all, or even worse fall foul of the Racing Rules of Sailing.
Racing your boat will involve putting in the entry, compliance with Special (ie. safety) Regulations and anything else stipulated in the Notice of Race, and a handicap or rating certificate unless you will be racing in a One Design Class. Of course there are also the issues of familiarising yourself with the Racing Rules of Sailing, and getting yourself and the boat to the start line in a suitable condition, but this article will not go into any details about preparation of your boat (or yourself); it will look solely at the ‘paperwork’ side of things.
To see this in a more visual 'flow-chart' format, click here for PDF download
- Choose the event you want to do.
- Obtain the Notice of Race for the event and read through it carefully; it will usually be published on the organising club’s website.
- Check that your boat insurance covers you for racing.
- Check the requirements for a rating or handicap.
- Check whether the boat has to comply with a particular ISAF Special Regulations Category (they range from 0 to 5, with 0 being the highest category). You can find the regulations themselves on the ISAF website: http://www.sailing.org/specialregs
- Check deadline dates for sending in the entry and the rating/handicap. Being late is likely to cost you money!
- If you need a local handicap, talk to the organising club to arrange it. If you need an IRC rating, read on…
- If you are outside GBR then please substitute your local IRC Rule Authority where we mention the RORC Rating Office or RORC website. You can find the contact details at http://www.ircrating.org/contact/rule-authorities
- Look on the IRC website and see if your boat is listed as having ‘standard hull data’: http://www.ircrating.org/technical-a-certification/standard-hull-data
- Check whether there are any requirements for a Stability Index (STIX) number or minimum Safety & Stability (SSS) number for the race. If there are, and you are not sure whether your boat will comply, contact the Rating Office for advice.
- Check whether you need an ‘Endorsed’ IRC certificate for the event. Endorsed means that the measurements and weight have been verified by an official measurer. For most popular production boats the standard hull data is acceptable for Endorsed certificates and it is just the rig and sails that need to be measured.
- If you DO need an Endorsed certificate, check with the Rating Office to find out what measurement will be required.
- If your boat is not brand new, find out from the Rating Office whether it has had a rating before. If it has then you should be able to get a copy of the last certificate, and if it was within the last 2 years they will send you a simplified form to renew the certificate. Otherwise you will need to complete a New Application form:
- Have a look at the IRC page on the Rating Office website http://www.rorcrating.com/irc-rating-gbr. There is a lot of advice about various aspects of IRC rating.
- Read the IRC Rules and Regulations http://www.ircrating.org/technical-a-certification/rule-a-definitions; they may look long and boring but it may save you being protested later. The Notice of Race may alter some of the IRC rules, so make sure you note where that has been done. See also the jargon translator! http://www.ircrating.org/introduction/jargon-translated
- Read the advice on the website http://www.rorcrating.com/irc-rating-gbr before downloading the New Application form and saving it onto your computer.
- If your boat is a strict One Design you may be able to use a simplified application form. The IRC approved designs are listed on the One Design application form on the IRC Forms web page.
- Complete the New Application form. If RORC holds standard hull data they will just need confirmation of which version your boat is (many designs have different keel versions, for instance). You will still need to complete the rig and sail measurements, and all the other detail questions about configuration.
- You can find simplified rig and sail measurement guidelines on the IRC website http://www.ircrating.org/technical-a-certification/measurement/352-simple-sail-measurement-guides
- For a standard (not Endorsed) certificate you do not need official measurement. However, you may have it measured (contact the Rating Office to get the details of your nearest measurer), and we recommend asking your sailmaker for the sail data rather than measuring the sails yourself.
- If you have any problems with the form, or queries about how to proceed, contact the RORC Rating Office, whose friendly and efficient staff will be able to advise you.
- Your certificate should arrive by e-mail within 21-28 days if not sooner. There is a guaranteed ‘Expedited’ service which doubles the cost but you will have the certificate within 5 working days.
- Once issued, your TCC will appear on the online listings which Clubs can check. However, we recommend sending a copy of your certificate to the organising club so that they have all the information.
- Read the Sailing Instructions carefully.
- Get to the start line on time, and enjoy your race!