Kathy Lammers shares with David Glenn, Editor of Yachting World, Antigua’s Sailing Week’s reasons for using the CSA Rating Rule and not the IRC Rating Rule:

We have taken a serious look at the potential advantages and disadvantages of running the regatta under the IRC rating rule.  My feeling is that the issue arises as a result of a lack of knowledge and understanding of the CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association) rating rule which is, in fact, very similar to IRC.  The CSA rule has been in use longer than any other rating rule currently used and it is constantly updated to deal with new boat designs.Last year Antigua Sailing Week offered scoring under both rules and only three boats asked to be scored based on their IRC rating.  The class that was scored under IRC included Titan, Genuine Risk and Oystercatcher XXVIII.  Their finishing places were identical under CSA and IRC in every race and their corrected times were very close as well.  When Antigua Sailing Week 2011 was over, Paul Miller, our entry and results guru, completely recalculated the results under the IRC rating rule for every boat in the event (just for our own information) and there was only one class that had two boats change position and neither was in the top three in the class under either rating rule.The St. Thomas Rolex Regatta offers an IRC class and this year they had only nine boats enter that class.  In the past few years the number of boats in the class has differed very little.  I believe it is the only regatta in the Caribbean that currently offers an IRC class aside from the RORC Caribbean 600 which is a different type of event.  I have spoken at length with Peter Holmberg who is heavily involved in the St. Thomas Rolex Regatta and who I understand raced in the IRC class this year on Highland Fling XII until it lost its rig on the first day.  Peter spends a lot of time on the professional racing circuit in Europe and the Med and is a big advocate of the CSA rating rule.  He feels the CSA vs IRC discussion is pretty much a non-issue among the bigger boats.  At the CSA Regatta Organisers’ Conference held last fall, Peter told me that the St. Thomas regatta would re-look at whether or not they would have an IRC Class in future years.The Voiles de St. Barths has grown tremendously in the past three years since its inception and it is run entirely under the CSA rating rule with a good fleet of fairly prestigious boats entered this year.

One of the big issues we have in the Caribbean with the IRC rating rule is that IRC certificates are not required to be endorsed.  My understanding is that in order to obtain an endorsed certificate the boat must be weighed and all owner-supplied information must be verified.  As endorsed certificates are not mandatory and it is time-consuming and costly for the average sailor to obtain one, the result is that a very large percentage of certificates are not endorsed.  I understand that most of the bigger boat certificates are endorsed but it could be an issue for us for the more cruising-type boats.  Antigua Sailing Week would most likely want to require that all certificates be endorsed.  We don’t have local IRC measurers in the Caribbean so IRC rating issues must be directed to the IRC in the UK and could take a minimum of 24 hours to resolve.  In the Caribbean we have CSA measurers on hand at all regattas to deal with any issues that may come up (as one did during Antigua Sailing Week this year) so they can be resolved very quickly.

We believe that switching to the IRC rating rule would make it prohibitive for most local Caribbean boats to participate so while we may gain some, we would probably also lose just as many.  This is a very complicated issue and one that we will continue to discuss and consider as we move forward with Antigua Sailing Week.

Kathy Lammers Chairman, Regatta Organising Committee Antigua Sailing Week

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