In the fall of 2004, three major US yacht clubs (the Chicago Yacht Club, Cruising Club of America and Transpacific Yacht Club) joined forces to create the Offshore Racing Association (ORA). ORA is a handicap class rating rule owner that also acts as the developer, manager, marketer and supporter of the Offshore Racing Rule (ORR), a Velocity Prediction Program (VPP)-based handicapping for sailboat racing. The ORR handicapping system is able to predict relative time allowances between sailboats to permit boats of different sizes, types and ages to compete with the fairest ratings possible.
ORR is an objective rule whose rating calculations are based on the measurement of all the speed-related features of the competing sailboats. Developed through systematic scientific research, the ORR Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) calculates the speed potential of each boat at various combinations of wind speeds and course directions to give the fairest handicap possible.
ORA intends for the ORR handicap system to be a non-type forming measurement rating rule that fairly evaluates well designed and prepared boats. Remember, the ORR is not a development rule and is not intended for sailors who are looking to “beat” the ORR handicap system. In order to discourage attempts to design boats “to the rule”, the algorithms of the VPP are not publicly broadcast. ORA will be updating the ORR Rule Book and handicap system on a regular basis to stay current with the latest VPP research and boat design development.
ORA has assumed the task of developing new measurement-based rating formulas for handicap classes that provide the fairest handicapping possible. They have also undertaken all promotional and developmental tasks associated with ORR by providing an increased level of manpower not previously seen in offshore racing.