|Before directly addressing IRC rating reviews, it is important to understand what IRC is and what IRC is trying to achieve.
IRC is a rating rule. Each boat’s TCC is calculated from her measured
and rated data. IRC is not a handicap system such as PY or PHRF.
Simplistically, a handicap system is trying to answer the question ‘How
fast did this boat go last week?’. Handicap systems are therefore
subjective. IRC is objective.
Secondly, IRC makes the presumption
that each boat is fundamentally of sound design. That does not mean IRC
does not take note of cruising and other compromises to design. It
does. Fitout for instance, materials, rig configuration, etc are all
included in the calculation of TCC. But if a boat’s design is such that
it just plain does not perform as the data suggests, then no account is
taken of that. So, keel and rudder design, hull form, ballasting, rig
proportions, etc are all assumed to be reasonable (within the context of
the particular boat) and sensible. It would be philosophically very
unwise to adopt any other philosophy which could lead to the
encouragement of poor design.
||Thirdly, IRC is aimed at production cruiser/racers and
racer/cruisers. By their very nature, such designs tend not to be
extreme. To support this, IRC tends to treat extremes in design slightly
severely. To do otherwise would be to encourage extreme designs to the
cost of the more middle of the road boats. ‘Extreme’ is of course a
relative term and also will change with time. What was extreme 10 years
ago might now be the norm.
Over the last 30 years for instance
displacement has reduced significantly with advances in primarily
materials and structures allowing the construction of much lighter
boats. The norm must therefore be continually re-addressed.
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