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Another Viewpoint: IRC for the Caribbean – Value for Money?

From a competitor’s standpoint this may appear attractive until one examines the actual dollars and sense. For one, there will be a considerable expense for the local fleets that are presently racing under the Caribbean Sailing Association (CSA) Rating Rule to switch from CSA to IRC. In the CSA database at the moment are approximately 800 boats of which 40% are locally-based racing yachts. These comprise a surprising number of entries in the premier Caribbean regattas and the majority of competitors in the smaller regional events. Even visiting yachts that have valid IRC certificates may still have to pay to race under IRC in the Caribbean. All the Caribbean regattas, due to the wide diversity of the racing fleets, demand that all the yachts be measured, this means an ‘endorsed’ IRC certificate which is considerably more expensive and usually means that the boat has to be hauled and weighed on a calibrated load-cell.

From a technical standpoint the CSA Rule continues to be proactive in rule development, continuously monitoring the results and sailing conditions at Regattas and events at all levels in the Caribbean. The CSA rule has taken rule administration to new levels recently with the implementation of an internet based interface between the measurers/rating database/regattas. This will eventually lead to an electronic rating certificate that will be available to measurers, competitors and regatta organizers over the internet. At all major Caribbean Regattas the CSA provides the services of a Regatta Measurer who assists not only with late entries that require measurement but also assists the regatta organizers with class allocation and provides on the spot advice for organizers/juries on measurement matters.

All of this for an annual validation fee of $20 US and measurement fee of $4 US per foot. The measurements are valid for five years once there are no changes to the hull or appendages. Compare this to fees for weighing, boatyard, application and measurement for IRC endorsed.

Our events place a high premium on challenging racing, great parties, fantastic venues and great weather. The CSA does its small part to make this all happen; and does so efficiently and economically. Does the CSA Rating Rule deter racing yachts from visiting the Caribbean to participate in Regattas? I think the answer is obviously, no.

Jeffrey Chen is Chief Measurer for the Caribbean Sailing Association.

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