Sailing Search Engine:

Getting your IRC Certificate

When we first got the boat the issue of handicap certificates was not a priority. There were no immediate plans to race, and no crew to race with! However time marched on and the first event was soon imminent.

Thinking that we would race in the CYCA classes, we got an updated certificate. Thankfully the CYCA had us on the database, and it was just a a case of updating the owner details. However shortly before the event we realised that we would in fact be in the IRC classes.

The process for obtaining an IRC handicap looks daunting, but if you dig a little deeper it can be tackled step by step. Phone or write to the RORC for an application form, or even better get it online. It is now a fairly sophisticated Excel spreadsheet which automatically checks the data inputted. You shold allow plenty of time for the application to be processed as they get very busy. Applications can take as long as 3 or 4 weeks during January - August. They were very good with us, and turned the application round very quickly.

It is in your interests to make sure the information is as accurate as possible. The RORC have standard hull data for some designs, but they still need the rig and sail measurements from you. If they are not completed they will normally ask you to supply them, which delays your application, or will use 'worst case' sistership measurements. The exceptions are recognised one designs such as a J24, Contessa 32, etc. for which they have full standard data. There is a simplified application form which you can use if you have one of the standard designs.

If you already have a certificate you can get most of the information from that. The only information it is not possible to get from an IMS certificate are the overhang measurements (for LWP) and the headsail luff length (LL).

If you haven't had a certificate for a while, the procedure for getting an uptodate one depends on what design the boat is, whether you are a new owner of the boat, and when the last certificate was. If the last rating was some time ago they we may ask you to fill in a new application form to make sure they have all the relevant information. If you call the Rating Office, or write to them with details of the boat they will let you know what they require.

If you have bought a boat which has a current rating the IRC certificate is invalidated by change of ownership, so you need to ask for a re-registration form.

The IRC Rules state that rated yachts must have an approved sail number. You can either get a number from the RYA (free to RYA members), from the RORC or from the Clyde Yacht Clubs Association. The only difference will be the suffix letter. Each makes a charge to issue a sail number.

If you think your rating is too high you should write to the Rating Office explaining why you think it is too high. Support your claim with relevant race results and other evidence, and they can then investigate the matter properly. A rating is only as accurate as the rated data, so check that you are sure all the measurements and information on the certificate are correct.

If you think that a competitor's rating is too low you can buy a copy of their certificate. The Rating Office will try and keep out of these issues and will usually suggest you discuss any discrepancies direct with the owner. Alternatively you can protest the rating.

IRC is a 'live' rule. Which means that the maths behind the calculation of TCC are continually adjusted on an annual basis to reflect changes in design and sailing practices. There is no guarantee therefore that a yacht's TCC will remain the same from one year to the next and TCC's may go up or down.

Standard rated data for well known series produced designs is continually reviewed and the annual rationalisation of data may have led to some alteration in your yacht's rated data and TCC.

The RORC will not accept measurements over the telephone. You need to put any information in writing to them and they keep a full record in your yacht's file. We had an old IRC certificate which we managed to get after a few calls to the Rating Office. However rather than lift all of the measurements off the old certificate we re-measured. Where we couldn't measure we took the measurements from the certificate.

The form is a mass of letters and codes, and takes a bit to get to grips with, but the Measurement Diagrams were invaluable. Download and print the whole lot, and take them with you. Don't rely on your memory tell you what 'yy' stands for!

When we submitted the form we got a call from the Rating Office querying some of the measurements. They decided to go with the old certificate numbers as they had been done by an RORC approved measurer.

While you can submit your own measurements, deliberately supplying false data is of course cheating. And other competitors are going to start to show an interest if you start winning!

The crew number shown on your certificate is a calculated figure and cannot be altered. It has no effect on the TCC. This figure is meant as guidance for race committees who wish to apply a crew limit. An age allowance is also automatically applied after the boat is 3 years old.

Rating Office
Excel Application Form
IRC Measurement Diagrams

Latest News


Sea Dreamer collage