Offshore Racing Rule
Offshore Racing Rule
Offshore Racing Rule

The 2019 ORR Rulebook is available and includes technical changes, plus restrictions on the setting and sheeting of headsails to leeward. By Dan Nowlan, ORA Rulebooks Manager

While most of the rule changes in the 2019 Offshore Racing Rule (“ORR Rule Book”) are technical clarifications and improvements (and are described at the end of this article), ORR recently has received queries asking if it is legal under the 2019 ORR to use a whisker pole, reaching strut or other spar with a headsail to leeward (see photo).

Outrigger photo

Rule 10.05 covers “Restrictions on Setting and Sheeting of Headsails” and the legal use of whisker poles, spinnaker poles, etc. For 2019, a clarification has been made to 10.05 f). The intent of ORR Rule 10.05 f) is to not allow spars or outriggers to be used in this way. Careful review of that rule combined with the current edition of the Racing Rules of Sailing indicates a clarification is needed. The clarification is stated below and is effective immediately. Changes are underlined.

10.05 Restrictions on Setting and Sheeting of Headsails

10.05 f) Headsails may be sheeted to any part of the deck or rail, but to no fixed point higher than 0.05*B above the deck or coach roof, or to the main boom, within the measurement limits (see 9.10.2) or to the spinnaker or whisker pole when the pole is set on the opposite side from the main boom but may not be sheeted to any spar or outrigger set to leeward. This changes RRS 50.3 (c).

Why doesn’t the ORR Rule permit this usage of outriggers with headsails?

There are several reasons for the current rule. Historically, this ban existed in the Racing Rules of Sailing and was adopted by IOR, IMS and ORR. That ban has been removed from the RRS, but there remains a conflict with the Equipment Rules of Sailing (ERS).

Another reason is that this use of an outrigger improves the aerodynamic efficiency of a headsail. Fair rating of this configuration would require the creation of a sail aerodynamic algorithm that accounts for this improvement and that non-overlapping jib configurations are favored by this use, which means differentiation from overlapping headsails aero is needed.

In addition, masts may need reinforcement to safely deal with these additional loads

What can be expected in 2020?

As can be seen from this clarification, Rating Rule content must recognize the impacts of the other sailing rules that govern our sport—specifically, the Racing Rules of Sailing and the Equipment Rules of Sailing. For the 2020 ORR Rule, we will be following the content and changes World Sailing makes to these rules and in the spirit of the Universal Measurement System, consult with the other major rating rules, IRC and ORC, to seek a common solution to the legality of this configuration.

Related changes on multiple headsails and measurement

Modern designs often set multiple headsails, and the language in Rule 10.05 a) and Rule 10.12.2 needed revision to permit this. Note the new language underlined below. In 10.12.2, the language allows for a boat to be rated with a virtual largest headsail so that its multiple headsails comply with the LP line requirement of 10.05 a)

10.05 Restrictions on Setting and Sheeting of Headsails

a) When a headsail or multiple headsails are set under a spinnaker or inside another headsail, it shall not be tacked in such a position that, if the sail were trimmed flat along a parallel to the center line of the boat, its clew would fall abaft the LP line (see b below, 10.12 and 10.38).

10.12 Longest Perpendicular of Headsails (LPG)

10.12.1 Headsails shall be measured on the perpendicular from the luff (outside edge of the sail and/or luff rope) to clew (intersection of the lines of the foot and leech). A wrap-around headsail shall be measured on the perpendicular from the line of junction of the wrap-around parts to the clew.

10.12.2 LPG shown on the rating certificate shall be the value for the greater of the largest area headsail carried on the boat or largest area headsail for which the boat is rated.

Other rule changes for 2019

Changes in three other sections of the 2019 Rule Book are explained briefly below.

4.08 Energy Storage—4.08.2 and 4.08.3 as written state uses of stored energy that shall be declared. Missing from the text are the words that for 4.08.2 uses there is no rating change and for 4.08.3 uses there is a rating change.

Section 8 Inclining Tests—This section has been expanded to include use of the boom to hang weights when no spinnaker pole(s) are available.

Sail Area Calculation—Jib and mainsail midgirths are located for measurement by folding the sail. Roach and headboards require corrections to be made to sail area calculations based on these locations. This was done for mainsails in 2018 and has been included for jibs this year.


Offshore Racing Association
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