ORC Scoring/Informational Meeting Wrapup

Last Saturday Seattle YC hosted an informational meeting on ORC scoring, led by Ian Lloyd of ORC-Canada. It’s great to see the racing community gathering and spreading information. First off there’s a summary by organizer Sue Weiss, who is a scorer with SYC. Then we have impressions from attendee William Bonner. While it appears this was fairy focused on scoring, this kind of meeting certainly expands the community’s familiarity with the system. Let’s keep the conversation going about how to get more butts in boats, whether it’s ORC, PHRF, one-design or just “hey, I’ll meet you on the water!” Send sailish.com your thoughts, and we’ll try to get it posted. A sailish.com reader is even undertaking the task of explaining in plain terms what ORC and PHRF are really about. Stay tuned!

Ian Lloyd is to the left of the TV screen in the background.

Summary from Sue Weiss to the attendees:

First – a huge thank you to Ian Lloyd for preparing a 16 page hand that will help us review major concepts. It was a lot of absorb in 2 hours and I hope participants review it in the following months. I appreciate everyone’s workshop comments.

My observations and takeaways – and everyone is encouraged to enter into the discussion, agree and/or disagree with them.

Sailwave is a favorite scoring program locally.  Racers are used to the one PHRF number and can easily figure out how they did in comparison to another boat.  

ORC has more ratings depending on what rating system the YC (aka Organizing Authority) has said they would use  – one rating or triple ratings.  The number and kind of ratings (TOT and/or TOD, Windward/Leeward or Coastal Long Distance) need to be explicitly stated in the NOR and SIs and that the wind speed decided by the Race Committee is not subject to redress. 

ORC Scorer does not have the sail number entry system that Sailwave has (great observation) (Sail Number Wizard), however time results could be entered by boat name, similar to a check in sheet.  

Racers can see potential result changes that different wind conditions and type of race would make with a simple ORC drop down menu change.  

ORC Ratings are also available online and can be updated online.  

Most Puget Sound boats have been getting their ORC certificates from Canada, but that will change as US Sailing is setting up its own ORC certificate system.

I want to thank 48 North, Kurt Hoehne and all the yacht clubs for publicizing this event.  Hoehne runs a sailing blog and I suspect he’d like to continue the conversation.

And this from William Bonner, who attended the meeting:

Thanks for the information in the Saturday seminar. I gained a huge amount of knowledge. 

Experience racing under PHRF and ORC in the past year left me seriously questioning ORC. 

What I really liked from this weekend was the discussion related to the methods of scoring used by race committee’s which will likely be the deciding factor on how much any handicapping system is used. 

I like the quantitative measurement rating of ORC. It’s use in buoy racing where conditions of a particular race are likely consistent makes plenty of sense to me. 

Its use in a longer coastal race with variable conditions, such as Swiftsure, VanIsle360, or Round the County are more problematic when the wind may vary from nothing to gale in a single segment.  While no handicapping system will work for every boat, the fact that racers can’t know the handicap variables till after the race, and knowing what the race committed decided to call the wind, makes things much less satisfying. 

The primary question I was asked was if there’s a larger push to move more boats to ORC from PHRF. I wasn’t able to confidently answer that, but based on the consensus that the sailflow interface is what people are familiar with and it doesn’t natively use ORC ratings, there will likely be more splits in the fleet through the next couple of years, with some boats competing under the ORC rating, and some competing under PHRF, and some switching between individual events. 

Is there a general movement one way or another?

(I’m just crew that’s interested in all of this for the geek factor)

Kurt grew up racing and cruising in the Midwest, and has raced Lasers since the late 1970s. He has been Assistant Editor at Sailing Magazine and a short stint as Editor of Northwest Yachting. Through Meadow Point Publishing he handles various marketing duties for smaller local companies. He currently is partners on a C&C 36 which he cruises throughout the Northwest. He's married to the amazing Abby and is father to Ian and Gabe.

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