Frus­trat­ing & fan­tas­tic

New IRC for­mat to at­tract smaller boats

Boating NZ - - Caption Competition -

“A TER­RI­BLE RACE” was the ver­dict from some of the first boats to ar­rive at the Rus­sell fin­ish af­ter this year’s PIC In­sur­ance Bro­kers Coastal Clas­sic.

Not be­cause they didn’t get fan­tas­tic con­di­tions for the race. But be­cause the first two hours were so good, they thought they’d shave a lit­tle time off the race record.

Frank Racing’s skip­per Si­mon Hull said that they were on track for a record time for the first third of the race. But over time the strength went out of the wind be­fore it turned un­ex­pect­edly north, and very light, on the ap­proach to Cape Brett.

“That’s sailing,” he said, of the re­sult which re­mained his sixth Coastal Clas­sic win in seven years. The boat had a sen­sa­tional up­wind leg be­tween Cape Brett and Rus­sell, reach­ing speeds of well over 25 knots, to fin­ish at 1724hrs.

Taeping fin­ished at 1907hrs in sec­ond place, while Slime, a 13.2m Mal­colm Ten­nant-de­signed cata­ma­ran was the third boat to cross the fin­ish line, at 1918hrs. Taeping first took line hon­ours in the 2002 race, and this year’s time was within four min­utes of her fin­ish time 14 years ago, with the same skip­per.

The first of the big mono­hulls was Harry Dod­son’s Transpac 52, May­hem, which fin­ished at 2026hrs. Viento II crossed the line just two min­utes later af­ter a very close race, and Awen, the Open 60, at 2041hrs.

The 141 en­tries in­cluded one all-fe­male crew, seven solo en­trants, and five boats with just two crew.

A CHANGE TO the for­mat of the 2017 IRC Na­tion­als at Bay of Is­lands Sailing Week will make it more ap­peal­ing for smaller keel­boats.

Bay of Is­lands Sailing Week will host the IRC Na­tion­als again in 2017, en­abling boats with en­dorsed IRC cer­tifi­cates to com­pete for the pres­ti­gious Na­tion­als tro­phies along­side the usual Bay Week hon­ours.

But with the dif­fi­cul­ties of or­gan­is­ing races in which very dis­sim­i­lar boats com­pete against each other, re­gatta or­gan­is­ers have suc­cess­fully ne­go­ti­ated a for­mat change al­low­ing Na­tion­als com­peti­tors to race in three sep­a­rate di­vi­sions.

IRC Classes 1, 2 and 3 will align with the ex­ist­ing A, B and C di­vi­sions of the Bay Week re­gatta, so a 30-foot cruiser-racer won’t have to sail the same race as a TP52.

The stan­dard six boat min­i­mum fleet size has also been re­duced to just three boats in each class for the 2017 Na­tion­als, in the hope that a suc­cess­ful event will gen­er­ate more lo­cal and over­seas in­ter­est in IRC racing in New Zealand.

The IRC hand­i­cap sys­tem is an in­ter­na­tional rating rule that al­lows keel­boats of all shapes and sizes to join in, with­out pref­er­ence to ‘big bud­get’ boats. As a rating rule, rather than a per­for­mance hand­i­cap like PHRF, IRC is based solely on a boat’s phys­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics.

Hand­i­caps aren’t al­tered from race to race, so a boat’s hand­i­cap can­not be im­proved by racing badly. It’s also an un­pub­lished rule, which pre­vents de­sign­ers from tak­ing ad­van­tage of it when de­sign­ing new boats, and means boats of all ages and types can win races un­der IRC. To find out more and to en­ter the 2017 IRC Na­tion­als and Bay of Is­lands Sailing Week, visit www.bay­ofis­lands­sail­ing­week.org.nz.

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