ORR Allows Large Roach Headsails for 2018

Jim Teeters, ORA Technical Director 28 Feb 2018

The Offshore Racing Association (ORA) has introduced Large Roach Headsails (LRHs) into the 2018 Offshore Racing Rule (ORR). This type of sail resides in the “no-man’s” land between headsails (genoas/jibs) and spinnakers that had previously been disallowed in ORR. After several years of consultation with sailors and representatives of the marine industry the ORR committee has developed a methodology to measure and fairly rate these sails.

There are a number of boats that will find this sail fills a gap in their sail inventory. One example is a boat with a fractional rig whose largest headsail is non-overlapping. For tight to beam reaching, especially in light air, there is no sail on board that would provide optimal performance.

There are also a number of boats for which the LRH has virtually no attraction. A boat rigged with a masthead overlapping headsail already has in her inventory a sail or sails that achieve much of what an LRH does. Read more...

Annapolis to Newport Race Using ORR-EZ Rule in 2017

Boats already registered can be dual scored by the ORA if they obtain a 2017 ORR-EZ certificate.

Newport, RI April 11, 2017- It has been called one of the world’s most challenging races; however, the 2017 Annapolis to Newport Race scheduled to start on June 2nd is making it easy for competitors to try something new. All Boats registered in either IRC or PHRF (A2N version) can compete for some more silver under the new ORR-EZ rule which will be dual scored by the Offshore Racing Association (ORA) for all boats that have a 2017 ORR-EZ certificate.  

ORR-EZ is the little brother to ORR, in effect, a kinder, gentler ORR rating, and we at ORA believe that it’s the proper rating system for use in dual scoring the 2017 Annapolis to Newport Race,” said Bjorn Johnson ORA’s Executive Director.  The Offshore Racing Association – which manages the ORR-EZ rule – states that ORR-EZ does not have to measure every boat for EZ like other measurement rules. Instead, it uses standardized hull data from measured boats it has in its database. It finds a boat of the same design and makes changes based on sail inventory, sail size and how much crew a boat will carry. If it’s a one-off boat, ORA creates a model of it with the help of the boat’s designer or with its in-house design team. If a boat already has an ORR rating certificate the conversion to EZ is even simpler.

ORR-EZ is not an observed performance rule like PHRF, where the age of your sails, or the condition of your boat’s bottom, or the capability of your crew is figured into your rating. It’s the next step up, but it’s not a full-blown measurement rule either,” said Jim Teeters, Technical Director of ORA. ORR-EZ is also easy on the budget. It costs only $100 per ORR-EZ Application ($75 for renewal), and the ORA is offering select discounts to Annapolis to Newport Race competitors.

New VPP Multihull Handicapping System Coming Summer 2017

The Offshore Racing Association will be releasing ORR-MH this year to handicap multihulls.

Newport, RI - March 30, 2017 - The Offshore Racing Association (ORA) is pleased to announce that a new VPP multihull handicapping system will be released for use this summer. “ORR-MH” will use the latest VPP technology and testing procedures to handicap the diverse range of multihulls that are racing on the world's oceans and coastlines. ORR-MH will join ORR, ORR-EZ, HPR (High Performance Rule) and ISYR (International Superyacht Rule) as part of the stable of rating systems administered by ORA. ORA is collaborating with Teeters Yacht Technology and Eagan Software for the final testing stages of this new multihull VPP-based handicap system.

ORA will continue to work with the various race organizers, owners, designers and multihull experts in further refining and upgrading this system. The research effort and development process was headed by Jim Teeters, ORA Technical Director and head of Teeters Yacht Technology. Jim has been coordinating with various designers and multihull experts during the development of ORR-MH. “These are exciting times in the world of handicapping with all of the new foil technology for both mono and multi-hull sailboats,” said Teeters.

ORR-MH will be the multihull handicap rule used for the 2018 Newport Bermuda Race in its new Multihull Division. The race already uses ORR for handicapping their Monohull Divisions. "We are very pleased to have been selected by this prestigious offshore event. Multihulls present a unique handicapping challenge, as they are as diverse a fleet as monohull sailboats and many have partial or full foiling ability," stated Bjorn Johnson, Executive Director of ORA. He continued with, “We look forward to working with these and other events that have an interest in promoting fair handicap racing, whether it is with one hull or multiple hulls.”

The Offshore Racing Rule (ORR) receives grant from the Cruising Club of America.

NEWPORT, R.I. (November 15, 2016) – The Offshore Racing Association (ORA), owner of the Offshore Racing Rule (ORR), is pleased to announce that the Cruising Club of America (CCA) has approved a significant grant for the continued support of the ORR.

"Since the founding of the CCA in 1922, there has been an inherent interest in the development and maintenance of handicapping systems," explained CCA Commodore James Binch of New Canaan, CT. "Beginning in 1926, and forming what is now called the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee in partnership with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, there has been a need for the CCA to be intimately involved with small yacht handicapping and give it support."

ORA Executive Director, Bjorn Johnson, is grateful to be working in partnership with the CCA for the continued improvement of the ORR handicap system. "This generous grant will enable us to not only continue research, but also implement cutting edge technology so that ORR can maintain its status as the best Velocity Prediction Program available for sailors worldwide," said Johnson. "ORA Technical Director, Jim Teeters, is working with his team to improve ORR for 2017 and into the future, making the best rule even better."

With its multiple features, ORR provides custom help for event organizing authorities, course configuration adjustments, and is continually evolving for the betterment of sailing. With over 1000 certificates produced in 2016, ORR is the fastest-growing rating system in North America. The ORR is used in classic inshore and offshore races, including: Newport Bermuda Race, Transpacific Yacht Club Races, Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, Bayview Mackinac Race, Pacific Cup, Vallarta Race, Rolex Big Boat Series, SoCal 300, California Offshore Race Week, Ugotta Regatta, Marion Bermuda Race, Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race and many other races of importance. For more information about ORR, visit the ORR website.


About the Cruising Club of America

The Cruising Club of America (CCA) is rapidly approaching its second century of championing efforts to improve seamanship, the design of seaworthy yachts, safe cruising and racing techniques, and ocean-wide environmental responsibility. The CCA is distinctive in its continuing efforts to promote "the adventurous use of the seas." A high bar of competency is set for inclusion in this influential organization, including passage making experience, proven offshore cruising and racing skills, leadership, and demonstrated congeniality. The CCA’s 1300 international members volunteer their collective efforts to support the best practices in boating at eleven stations throughout the U.S.A., Canada and Bermuda. In conjunction with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, the CCA organizes the Newport Bermuda Race, North America’s premier offshore ocean race held every two years and a real world proving ground for its safety and seamanship recommendations. For more information and resources visit http://www.cruisingclub.org.

CCA Stations

Bermuda * Boston * Bras d'Or * Chesapeake * Essex * Florida * Great Lakes

New York * Pacific Northwest * San Francisco * Southern California


About the Offshore Racing Association

Formed in 2005, the Offshore Racing Association (ORA) is a not-for-profit membership organization working as a liaison between sailboat owners, rating rule administrators, US Sailing, yacht clubs, sailing organizations and organizing authorities for offshore and round-the-buoys events. The ORA, recognized internationally as one of the premier rule developers, is dedicated to improving current rating rules -- both in their content and administrative processes -- while making provisions for new high-performance boats to compete in more events. The ORA provides promotion and development of objective, science-based rating systems for fair handicapping of offshore-capable racing yachts, and guides the management of these systems at all levels, serving not only as advocate for the concerns of competing sailors but also as evaluator of technical input. For more information, please visit the ORA website.

CCA Safety Seminar Targets Racers, Delivery Crews, Cruisers

The March 19-20 Safety at Sea Seminar at Newport RI will provide valuable advice and information for all who race to Bermuda, sail in a return voyage, or cruise or race in any waters. Organized by the Cruising Club of America, the US Sailing-sanctioned seminar will be at the Marriott Hotel, a new home for this widely respected biennial safety event.

Larry Huntington, here at the helm of Snow Lion in in the 2015 Transatlantic Race, will present on heavy weather sailing. (Stephen Lirakis)

Larry Huntington, here at the helm of Snow Lion in in the 2015 Transatlantic Race, has done 23 Bermuda Races and will present on heavy weather. (Stephen Lirakis)

Presented by sailors who combine extensive offshore experience with specialized knowledge, the topics include heavy weather, safety equipment, medical issues, calling for help, the Gulf Stream, damage control, boat and crew preparation, lessons learned from accidents, man overboard, and the Bermuda Race’s regulations.

Newport Bermuda Race seminar rule: “A minimum of 30% of all crew members shall have attended a US Sailing-sanctioned safety at sea seminar within five years of the start of the race. The captain and either the navigator or a watch captain must be included in the required 30%.” This requirement is satisfied by attending the all-day Saturday Seminar. In addition, two crew members must hold current First Aid/CPR certificates.

All-Day Saturday Seminar Presenters and Topics

Moderator Bruce Brown demonstrates a life raft at a safety seminar.(Rousmaniere)

Bruce Brown demonstrates a life raft at a safety seminar at Newport Beach CA.  (John Rousmaniere)

Moderator Bruce Brown (MOB, rescue at sea, ethics of giving assistance, damage control, hands-on), is a West Coast  sailor and veteran safety seminar presenter and moderator. This will be his first CCA safety seminar. Bruce tests safety equipment, is a trainer for the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association, and chaired US Sailing’s review of the fatal accident in the 2012 Ensenada Race. “If I could only expect one takeaway from this seminar,” he has said, “it would be to share the knowledge each attendee gains with everyone on board. If we can create a safety ethos where safety is a consideration in every decision made on the water, we will end up with fewer accidents and a better sport.”

Frank Bohlen (marine weather, sea state), a professional oceanographer, has sailed 18 Bermuda Races, often as navigator. He writes the race website’s Gulf Stream tutorial and the race program’s article on the Stream, weather, and race strategy. Frank conducts pre-race weather briefings and, after the race, debriefs winning crews at the Navigators Forum at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.

Read more: CCA Safety Seminar Targets Racers, Delivery Crews, Cruisers

Offshore Racing Association Celebrating its 10th Anniversary

July 23, 2015

Offshore Racing Association Celebrating its 10th Anniversary

Started in 2005, the Offshore Racing Association (ORA) Continues its Mission to Provide Fair Rules for Racers.

The Offshore Racing Association (ORA) was founded in August 2005 as a sailboat owners’ association dedicated to improving offshore racing for the large number of amateur cruiser racers. Now celebrating its 10th year, the organization has stayed true to its original purpose and has become one of the premier rule developers both nationally and internationally.

Over the past 10 years the organization has had sailors with experience on its Board of Directors. Board Members have always been willing to help with promotion and educational features as well as participate in face-to-face meetings to help race-organizing authorities with events. “From the beginning, input from owners and organizing authorities is what drives this organization to be customer-centric and to develop new and innovative systems,” states Bjorn Johnson, ORA Executive Director. Part of the ORA’s mission includes helping organizing authorities promote not only their events but also the use of handicapping systems that meets their needs.

Additionally, the Offshore Racing Association has worked with U.S. Sailing’s Offshore Office over the past decade to continually develop excellent customer service and support through their shared commitment to a customer-focused mission. The Association works to provide support to sailors and event organizers through US Sailing. US Sailing is often the first point of contact for boat owners who use their rating systems, boat measurement process and data management.

The ORA developed, owns, and manages the Offshore Racing Rule (ORR). Now the major offshore rating rule for North American offshore racing, it is also the chosen rule used in races such as: Newport Bermuda, Chicago Mackinac Race, Ocean Race North, Marblehead to Halifax Race and SoCal 300. The Association also manages the High Performance Rule (HPR) for races that offer HPR classes, including: TransPac Race, Rolex Big Boat Regatta, NYYC Annual Regatta, Charleston Race Week, Chicago Grand Prix Regatta, and many others.

Part of the Association’s 10th anniversary goal is to revise and update the ORR’s VPP (velocity prediction program), which provides the best handicapping system available today. The goal of ORA has always been and continues to be to create the fairest handicap system available. To help ensure this, rewrites keep the rule up-to-date with the latest design innovations. ORA also uses the latest scientific studies to guarantee the VPP models give ratings that allow for the fairest possible racing, regardless of boat design. Once this update is complete in the fall of 2015, the ORR will have the most advanced VPP program available for the widest variety of sailboats, including: Cruisers, Racer/Cruisers and Grand Prix Racers.

For more information about the Offshore Racing Association, please visit www.offshoreracingassociation.org.

Offshore Racing Association Extends Partnership with US Sailing

Offshore Racing Association, US Sailing to Improve Centralized ORR and HPR Certificate Processing

The Offshore Racing Association (ORA), owner of the Offshore Racing Rule (ORR) and High Performance Rule (HPR), is announcing a new agreement with US Sailing’s Offshore Office that will bring enhancements, and improved support and service for offshore racers.

To deliver these improvements, ORA has extended its partnership with US Sailing, incorporating a new centralized communications and customer service operation. “US Sailing’s Offshore Office, with its experience in certificate processing and boat data management for different handicap systems, is a perfect fit with ORA,” said Bjorn Johnson, Executive Director of ORA.  “Add to this the technology upgrades and process redesign US Sailing is implementing, and we are confident sailors and race organizers using the ORR and HPR rules will experience significant benefits and improved racing.”

Beginning in 2016, boat owners will no longer coordinate with four parties separately as they navigate through the boat certification process. US Sailing will be the interface with boat owners, managing the overall certificate issuance process, and taking on responsible for coordinating activities amongst the key parties - boat measurers, certificate processors, OA’s and owners. 

We are excited to renew our agreement with ORA, and continue our long standing commitment to handicap racing, and the ORR and HPR rules,” said Jack Gierhart, Executive Director of US Sailing. “For handicap racers and race organizers alike, a central resource that simplifies and supports all facets of the handicapping process for the rules used in the U.S. is a big benefit. We look forward to working with the ORA and our other partners to make it easier for more sailors to get to the starting line."

ORA and US Sailing will work together to apply these practices to create the best experience possible for ORR and HPR customers. ORA’s Technical Director, Jim Teeters, is working with his team to complete a new and improved ORR rule for 2016. US Sailing will interface with the new rule to make the necessary improvements. For more information on ratings and certificate issuance, visit http://www.ussailing.org/racing/offshore-big-boats/.

About ORA

The ORA’s Offshore Racing Rules applies the HPR for Grand Prix boats and the ORR for racers and cruisers with its multiple features, including event organizing authority benefits like custom course configuration adjustments. Races that offer HPR classes include the TransPac Race, NYYC Annual Regatta, Rolex Big Boat Regatta, Charleston Race Week, American Fall Series, Key West Race Week, and Chicago Grand Prix Regatta. 


The ORR continues its strong growth and is now used in events, including the TransPac Race, Newport Bermuda Race, Chicago Mac Race, Pacific Cup, Ensenada Race, ECOS, NYYC Annual Regatta, Rolex Big Boat, Puerto Vallarta Race, Cabo Race, Marion Bermuda Race, Aldo Alessio Race, Corum Cup, Verve Cup, Islands Race, Annapolis to Newport Race, Phyllis Klienmann Swiftshure Cup, Mexorc, Ocean Race North, Marblehead to Halifax Race, Hamilton Trophy, The Corinthians Yacht Race, Ft. Lauderdale to Charleston Race, Charleston Race Week, Fast 50 Class, SoCal 300, and many more. For more information about HPR and ORR, visit http://offshoreracingassociation.org/.

Top 10 Finishers of the 2014 Offshore Racing Rule East Coast Series Championship

  1. SWIFT – US Naval Academy Sailing Squadron
  2. VALKYRIE – Drew Chapman
  3. VAMP – Leonard Sitar
  4. BOMBARDINO – James Sykes
  5. CONSTELLATION – Joshua Forgacs
  6. SIMPATICO – William Riley
  7. NANUQ – Glen Doncaster
  8. CARINA – Rives Potts
  9. LIR – John McNamara
  10. CYGNETTE – William Mayer