Is a Grand Prix Rule still needed?

The RORC Rating Office's Mike Urwin airs his views
This article follows on from part one on IRC published yesterday Grand Prix Rule Obviously one of the tasks the Rating Office has been involved with in recent years is the development of an internationally acceptable Grand Prix Rule. The idea behind this, as was the case with IOR back in 1970, was to promote international competition but also to cater for an elite group of custom-built racing boats that would otherwise race under IRC, where they would be stretching what is effectively a cruiser-racer rule and ruining the racing for the non-professionals. Unfortunately development of a Grand Prix Rule has reached a stumbling block with the three parties involved with its creation - RORC, the ORC and US Sailing - going their separate ways. Since then it could be argued they have been overtaken by events, particularly the advent of box rule classes such as the TP52 and the ORC’s GP 42, along with successful one designs like the Farr 40, Melges 24 and Mumm 30, and the need for such as rule is much reduced. “One can argue that there is a successful TP52 circuit, there is apparently going to be a successful ORC GP 42 circuit, probably limited to the Med, and that takes out maybe 40-50 of the world’s top owners, the serious keen players,” argues the RORC Rating Office's Technical Manager, Mike Urwin. "Given also that IRC seems to be increasing accepted around the world as the default rule of choice - do we then need to go any further? Well, I’m not sure. There are those who are racing in IRC who perhaps should be elsewhere. Is it right, for instance, to build one-off boats to race under IRC? Arguably not.” There were several areas of disagreement between the parties involved with the new Grand Prix Rule.