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Yacht Racing at the Grimsby & Cleethorpes Yacht Club

Yachts racing is organised on Sunday’s throughout the sailing season (April-November). We have both IRC and NHC racing and details of the racing programme are published at the start of the year.

Different types of yachts attain different speeds and it is acknowledged that the purest form of racing is ‘One Design’ racing, where all yachts are of the same type and where very limited or no modifications are allowed.

To race different types of yachts (or the same types of yachts with different modifications) requires a system to ensure that all yachts can have a fair chance of winning. There have been a number of different rating or handicapping systems that have developed over the years and GCYC operate the two principle systems – IRC and NHC.

The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) developed the internationally recognised IRC rating rule. Each boat’s rating is calculated using measurements of the boat; her length, weight, draft, sail area, etc. The resulting time corrector, the boat’s ‘TCC’, is her handicap. After a race, each boat’s elapsed time (the time she has taken to complete the course) is multiplied by her TCC to calculate her corrected time (her race time making allowance for the characteristics of the boat). The boat with the shortest corrected time is the winner of the race. Only yachts with a valid IRC certificate can race IRC.  

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) administers a handicapping system known as the National Handicap for Cruisers (NHC). With this system, each boat is allocated a number, based on it’s expected performance and the number is adjusted depending how the boat performs. After each race the Elapsed Time is adjusted by it’s NHC handicap number to give the Corrected Time.

The RYA gathers race results annually on a national basis and computes the data to produce the NHC numbers. Some yachts have a higher degree of certainty over their NHC numbers than others.

GCYC normally operates both IRC and NHC racing fleets. The minimum number of yachts that can race is 2. If both competing yachts have valid IRC certificates then they will race IRC. If neither has an IRC certificate, then they both race NHC. However, if only one has an IRC certificate, then the IRC rated yacht will be allocated a NHC number and both yachts will race NHC.

If there are 2 (or more) yachts with a valid IRC certificate and 1 without an IRC certificate, then there will be an IRC fleet and a NHC fleet where each of the yachts with an IRC certificate is allocated a NHC number. There will be a winner in each category.    

Where there is only one IRC yacht and one or more NHC then there will only be a NHC race.                                      

If there are 2 or more yachts in each of the IRC and NHC categories, then there will be two separate racing fleets, although they may sail the same course.

Whether racing IRC or NHC, the aim is to have an enjoyable and safe race.