The IRC rating rule is coming to the United States. The New York YC and the Storm Trysail Club announced that they will be racing under IRC beginning in 2005 and will use the handicap rule for the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge in May, 2005 and in their Annual Regatta. The Storm Trysail Club will use the ruling at Block Island Race Week, June 19-25. The commitment to IRC is from 2005 through 2007. The rating rule for cruiser/racer sailboats is owned by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) Rating Office Lymington, UK, and Union National pour la Course au Large (UNCL) in Paris. Over 6,000 yachts are IRC rated in Europe as well as in 30 other countries, and was used for the first time in the United States at the St. Francis Yacht Club Big Boat Series in San Francisco. On November 19 and 20, American YC will host a seminar to help sailors understand the new IRC rating rule. This seminar is sponsored by the YRALIS and will have RORC Rating Office experts at the seminar, so participants will get firsthand knowledge of the changes in the rating system. The Storm Trysail Club will offer IRC classes in the Lauderdale-Key West Race in January and at the Pineapple Cup (Florida to Jamaica) in February. Additional IRC classes will be held during the Edlu Distance Race and Larchmont Race Week, according to Commodore Peter Kelly. The reasons for the change include: 1. a desire to improve and reinvigorate handicap racing in local fleets, 2. to encourage increased U.S. participation in international regattas and international participation in U.S. regattas, 3. IRC rating produces a single-number rating, 4. the IRC rating fairly rates a wide variety of types, and 5. there is already a vast data base of hundreds of popular designs, thus helping in keeping measurement costs down. The US Sailing Offshore Office will be working jointly with the RORC rating office to administer the rule in this country. In addition, a US IRC Management Committee has been formed under the leadership of Barry Carroll, with membership consisting of yacht clubs that elect to utilize the IRC rule in American and major-event organizers. USIRC will be affiliated with US Sailing, the sport's national authority, that will process the certificates. The IRC rating will be offered in place of IMS and that PHRF rating will still be available at most venues. Since the IRC rating will be accepted by many organizing authorities, many competitor may want to reassess how they wish to participate in next year's events, especially since the YRA is planning to re-evaluate the qualification requirements for many of their series and season trophies. In addition to the NYYC events and Block Island Race Week, venues that have announced the use of IRC at their events include the Annapolis-Newport Race, the NORT and the Vineyard Race, Key West Race Week, Miami Race Week. For more information, go to http://www.yralis.org/2004/041131-announcement.htm or to http://www.rorcrating.com/
Russell Coutts, that New Zealander match racing czar, has done it again. This three-time America's Cup champion has won the King Edward VII Gold Cup for the seventh time by defeating James Spithill 2-1 in the finals in Bermuda, making him the only sailor in history to win this regatta seven times. The Bermuda Gold Cup is one of a series of match racing events that make up the Swedish Match Racing Tour. With this win, Coutts and Team Colorcraft crewmembers Jes Gram-Hansen, Christian Kamp and Rasmus Kostner, were awarded the championship and $30,000, and Coutts gained 25 points toward the Tour championship. Coutts is now leading the competition in points, having a high score of 45 points to date. In the Petite Finals, American Ed Baird defeated New Zealander Scott Dickson, 2-1. Baird is second on the Tour, trailing by five points behind Coutts, and Peter Gilmour of Australia is third with 30 points. The last day of racing had to be cancelled because of winds gusting up to 50 knots with 3-5 foot seas on Hamilton Harbor, so the final results were determined by the standings on Saturday. Ed Baird, James Spithill, Scott Dickson - these are all names that readers should be familiar with as they all have raced on Manhasset Bay in the Knickerbocker Cup. Most of the match racers in the top ten at the Bermuda Gold Cup have raced here on Manhasset Bay at one time or another at the Knickerbocker Cup. Russell Coutts won the Cup in 1996, as did Ed Baird (1993, 1994, 2000), and Peter Gilmour (1998, 2001). James Spithill, Mathieu Richard, and Jes Gram-Hansen have also raced here in past years. And Scott Dickson came in third overall in this year's Cup, and then went on to place fourth against "rock starts" Coutts, Spithill and Baird. "We are very pleased to make the final four and we are happy with the way we sailed against Gilmour, Coutts, and Baird," Dickson said. "This is my fourth time here in Bermuda competing in the King Edward VII Gold Cup and it has been rewarding for me and the team to have good results. It has also been the result of hard work and extra sailing this year and it has paid off." There must be something about sailing in Manhasset Bay, for this is not the first time that a match racer who came to our peninsula has gone on to great honor in other match racing events around the world. With competition this tough - Coutts as a three-peat at the America's Cup and Ed Baird who just won that prestigious west coast match racing event, the Congressional Cup - one could argue that young Scott Dickson has a great future ahead of him. Final Standings of the King Edward VII Gold Cup Final Results: 1. Russell Coutts (NZL) Team Colorcraft, $30,000; 2. James Spithill (AUS) Luna Rossa Challenge, $18,000; 3. Ed Baird (USA) Team XL Capital, $11,500; 4. Scott Dickson (NZL) Dickson Racing Team, $9,000; 5. Peter Gilmour (AUS) Pizza-La Sailing Team, $7,500; 6. Staffan Lindberg (FIN), $6,500; 7. Mathieu Richard (FRA), $6,000; and 8. Klaartje Zuiderbaan (NED), $5,500. For more information, http://www.swedishmatchtour.com / http://www.kingedwardviigoldcup.com
As part of tour of U.S. yacht clubs to further their mission to share the team's passion for sailing, Team Alinghi, winners of the America's Cup in 2003, will be at Riverside YC on Wednesday, Nov. 10 . The evening begins with a media session from 4:45-5:45 pm, followed by a workshop from 6 - 7:30 p.m. The topics of the workshop will include presentations of Alinghi's successful journey to win the America's Cup 2003, strategy to win the American's Cup 2007, and the technological aspects of Alinghi's design program. A cocktail reception will complete the evening, which will end approximately at 9 pm. Brad Butterworth, Alinghi tactician, Grant Simmer, Alinghi general manager, and Dirk Kramers, Alinghi designer, will be on hand to make a very interesting evening for all participants. www.riversideyc.org.
US Sailing is now accepting nominations for the 2004 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year Awards, considered the highest individual sailing honors in the United States. The awards are presented annually to the individual yachtsman and yachtswoman who demonstrate excellence through outstanding on-the-water achievement during the current year. Members of US Sailing can nominate their favorite male and female sailors to receive this distinguished award through November 30, 2004, on US Sailing's website at http://www.ussailing.org/awards/rolex