The Offshore Racing Association is the non-for-profit liaison between the sailboat rating rule administrator, US Sailing Association, and the offshore and round-the-buoys event organizers and racers. The ORA makes rating rules easier to use by race organizers and boat owners and provides feedback from race results and research to keep the rules current and effective for their target markets.
The ORA believes that modern rating rules need more than sophisticated algorithms to equalize a fleet of boats of different designs successfully. Each rule is customized to certain types of sailboat racing. The ORR is for fleets of existing designs and production boats and discourages costly optimization. The HPR is for today’s higher speed, custom designs and encourages developmental improvements. ORR-ez is a hybrid of the Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) and an observed performance component factor, and is fully customizable for race course configuration.
Race organizers and boat owners need to understand the applications of different rating rules. The underlying science and computations are complex, but the use of the resulting ratings doesn’t need to be. The ORR can generate Single Number handicaps which are easy for casual racers to use. World-class events can opt for ORR Performance Curve Scoring which allows for the specific wind conditions and course configurations. HPR has open rating formulas for professional sailors and designers to ferret out every advantage within the rule’s defining limitations. ORR-ez handicaps are based on an entirely objective foundation using actual measurement or sister-ship data that define performance and manages one off designs for which there is no performance or handicapping experience.
The ORA finds the answers for both the organizers and the owners to make a rating rule work best for their events or their boats. The entire process from boat preparation, to measurement, to certificate administration, to equipment requirements, to sail limitations, to scratch sheets and scoring requires collaboration among several parties. For someone new to the field, the system can seem like an uncharted maze of requirements and procedures. The ORA facilitates the process by working with designers, boat owners, measurers, rule administrators, and organizing authorities to make rating rules fair and functional for racing fleets across the country. And the Technical Advisory Committee assesses research findings and recommends rule adjustments for evolving technologies and innovations.
The ORA works for boat owners and race organizers to clarify the essential aspects of rating rules. The association receives a small fee from each certificate that is issued by US Sailing, and it welcomes individual members. The ORA has a close working relationship with US Sailing Association, the ORR Owners Association, the Sailing Yacht Research Foundation, the Cruising Club of America, the Chicago Yacht Club, the TransPac Yacht Club, the New York Yacht Club, and other national and international racing entities.