In the fall of 2004, three major US yacht clubs, the Chicago Yacht Club, Cruising Club of America and Transpacific Yacht Club, joined forces in an alliance called the Offshore Racing Association (ORA). ORA was formed to promote and support the use of VPP-based handicapping and has undertaken the task of developing a new measurement-based rating rule that provides the fairest handicapping possible. Working in collaboration with US SAILING, ORA has undertake promotional and developmental tasks providing an increased level of manpower not previously directed toward the AMERICAP II™ rule while US SAILING has retained the function of certificate issuance. This new rule which is the next evolution of the AMERICAP II™ rule has been given the name Offshore Racing Rule (ORR) and started to be used in the 2006 racing season. The Offshore Racing Association (ORA) administers the ORR.
The ORR predicts relative time allowances between boats to permit boats of different sizes, types and ages to compete with the fairest ratings possible.
The ORR is an objective rule. Its ratings are based on full measurement of all the speed-related features of sailboats and on a Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) that calculates the speed potential of each boat at any combination of wind speed and course direction. The VPP is a set of algorithms developed through systematic research that use fundamental scientific methods.
ORR is intended to be a non-type forming measurement rule that fairly rates properly designed and prepared yachts which are equipped for offshore racing. It must be clearly understood by all who use ORR that it is not a development rule and therefore is not intended for sailors who are looking to “beat” the rule. In order to discourage attempts to design yachts “to the rule”, the algorithms of the VPP are non-public. ORR will be updated on a regular basis to stay ahead of design developments.