Steady as she goes

The RORC Rating Office's Mike Urwin tells us of the latest developments with IRC
Nine years on from the introduction of IR2000 and the IRC, Mike Urwin down at the RORC Rating Office in Lymington is sitting pretty. The recent IRC meeting in Paris, hosted by the UNCL, was attended by 25 countries with reports submitted from a further six. This year IRC certificates have been issued in 45 countries compared to 38-39 in 2008. The world might be going through global economic meltdown, but the RORC’s all-encompassing rating rule is still on the rise. According to Urwin, numbers are down in what he terms ‘developed nations’ although that was to be expected given the present economic situation. Where growth is being seen is from countries further afield, where the rule has been adopted more recently. He cites the example of Japan where the number of IRC certificates issue has grown from 117 in 2008 to 208 so far this year. By with the numbers of IRC certificates issued being down in the West, this is affecting the overall total. In 2007 and 2008, certificates were sent out for 7355 and 7740 boats. This year up until the end of August 6224 certificate were issued, down from 6746 over the same period in 2008. The biggest coup for IRC over the last couple of years is the advent of the Mini Maxis, hotly contested under IRC with many teams operating a step beneath America’s Cup campaigns. Having attended several regattas this year where the Mini Maxis were competing, we didn’t hear any complaints about ratings - which must be a first… “Every boat in the Mini Maxis has its chance of winning given the right conditions. They are stunning boats. When have we ever had Maxis of that sort of speed before,” says Urwin. At the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Sardinia last year