RATING CERTIFICATES*: What should I know?

*Rating = handicap assigned to a boat based on measurements made on it.

Regattas are divided into two types, depending on the system used to do the scoring:

1.         Real Time regattas: In this format, the first boat to cross the finishing line is declared the winner. They are usually regattas with One-Design boats (RC44, CS50, ...) or Box Rule type boats (TP52, IMOCA, Class 40, ...).

2.         Corrected Time regattas: In this format, each boat’s elapsed time is corrected based on its rating certificate, and the classification is determined from the corrected times of each boat. There are different scoring methods, and the Notice of Race of the event shall indicate which one will be used.

Corrected time racing is based on rating (or measurement) certificates, specific for each boat. There are various rating rules - and therefore, different compensation systems -, each with its own method to calculate the rating of each boat:


It is crucial to know the classification system that will be used in the regattas of our interest before asking to have our boat measured. This information is detailed in the Notice of Race for each event.


Each rating system has its own peculiarities, and each rating authority recognizes specific measurers. Some measurers are recognized by various rating systems, while others can only measure for a specific system.


Below we will focus on the two most used: ORC and IRC. Although they are very different both in the formula and in the way of scoring, the measurements we make for ORC will also be useful for IRC, but not the other way around, since IRC requires fewer measurements than ORC.


Use the following link to see the measurement condition in which the boat must be presents to perform a measurement.



This is "the question"! The first thing I need to know is which regattas I'm interested to enter in. Every event organiser decides under which system they will score their event, so the first thing I should do is to read the NOTICE of RACE of those events, where it will be specified under which rating system are going to be scored. With this information, then I shall contact an official measurer for that rating system, and to appoint for a measurement.

The ORC (Offshore Racing Council) certificate is based on the IMS Measurement System. It is a completely open system, and each National Authority issues its own certificates. It has various modalities:

ORC International (fully measured)

ORC club (partially measured/declared/estimated)

ORC DH for "two-handed" racing

ORC sy for SuperYachts

ORC mh for multihulls


To obtain an international certificate, it is necessary that the "hull file (offset file)" with the boat's water lines exists in the ORC database. If this file does not exist, and the owner wants to obtain an ORCi, he must bear the costs of generating one. If not, hewill only be able to obtain an ORC club.

One of the most characteristic measurements of this system is the measurement of flotation, freeboards, and the inclining test.

The IRC measurement, thus the scoring system, comes from the old CHS. It is based on a secret formula and is owned by the RORC (England) and the YCF (France), which are the only ones that control the formula, and therefore, the only ones that issue the certificates. It has different types:


IRC endorsed (fully measured)

IRC secondary valid certificate, in which some parameters are modified.

Standard IRC (partially measured / declared / estimated).


One of the most characteristic measurements of this system is the weight of the boat and the appendages.