Racing Offshore

"Perhaps the greatest contribution which The Cruising Club of America has made to American yachting is the development of the Cruising Club Measurement Rule."

Robert Bavier, Jr.,
"Nowhere is Too Far", 1960

"The Cruising Club Rule, almost universally adopted, has been responsible for the development of fast seagoing yachts. Let us not forget that the men who are competent to man these craft in ocean racing are equally competent to man them in non-competitive voyages. It is the men who count, whatever their tastes."

Alex W. Moffat,
"Nowhere is Too Far", 1960

CCA BurgeeThe CCA Rule
By 1933 The Cruising Club of America was hard at work developing a satisfactory ocean racing rule, and that year announced a design contest to test the rule. Thus was the start of the long evolution of The CCA Rule, which endured and evolved for over fifty years.

CCA members have been leaders in the development of major ocean racing rules, including the CCA Rule, MHS/IMS, and now, the ORR.

Offshore Racing Association
Offshore Racing Association

 Over the years, many measurement-based rating systems have been developed, each trying to make improvements so that fairer handicapping was achieved. Measurement ratings expanded with the advent of Velocity Prediction Programs (VPP). AMERICAP was created in the mid-1990s for use in the USA and was specifically geared towards cruiser-racer sailing programs, as opposed to those used for grand prix style racing. An important component of AMERICAP was the use of a non-public VPP. This means that algorithms inside the VPP are not available to the public which helps slow the attempts to optimize to the rule – creating a much more level playing field for cruiser-racers using diverse designs across different regions. Several years ago, US Sailing adopted a policy of being “rule-neutral,” and subsequently, the Offshore Racing Association was established.

In 2004, three major yacht clubs – The Chicago Yacht Club, the Cruising Club of America and the Transpacific Yacht Club – joined forces in an alliance called the Offshore Racing Association (ORA). The ORA was formed to promote and support the use of VPP-based handicapping and develop a new measurement-based rating rule that provides the fairest handicapping possible. The ORA and ORR maintained one of the key aspects of AMERICAP, the use of a non-public VPP. This new rule, the Offshore Racing Rule (ORR), was first used in the 2006 racing season.

The Offshore Racing Association consists of a Board of Directors and Technical Advisors all of whom are dedicated to the sport of sailing. Racers from around the globe, naval architects, sailmakers and race organizers all help guide the ongoing and future development of ORA and the ORR.

The Offshore Racing Association was formed to bring together those US yacht clubs that require an objective, comprehensive measurement handicapping rule that is grounded in the best science available. Read this position paper for full details on the rule's objectives and features.

A Bit of History
While The Cruising Club of America is, to its core, a cruising club, racing offshore has been an essential component of the Club's activities since its inception in 1922. The CCA, along with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, is the organizer of the Newport Bermuda Race, one of the top ocean races in the world.

CCA members have been active players on the international ocean racing map since Honorary Charter Member Thomas Flemming Day, owner and editor of "The Rudder" magazine, advocated ocean cruising and ocean racing, and began organizing daring offshore races between east coast ports. Amid criticism from New York and Boston papers, he blasted the "grey-bearded rum soaked piazza scows...who spend their days swigging booze on the front stoop of a clubhouse." Day continued to organize offshore races and, in 1906, with the help of Sir Thomas Llipton who provided the trophy, the Bermuda Race was born.

It is no accident that one of the founding principles of both the CCA and the Bermuda Race is to develop good boats. CCA Commodore Herbert L. Stone desired, on the revival of the Bermuda Race in 1923, " encourage the designing, building, and sailing of small seaworthy yachts, to make popular cruising upon deep water, and to develop in the amateur sailor a love of true seamanship, and to give opportunity to become proficient in the art of navigation..."