The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia announced today that the Overall Winner of the 2004 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will be the boat that wins the IRC (International Rule Club) handicap category overall on corrected time.
The Tattersalls Cup has for the past ten years been presented to the boat that wins the IMS (International Measurement System) handicap category. Prior to that, the trophy was awarded to the boat that won the IOR (International Offshore Rule) handicap category.
In announcing the change to IRC, CYCA Rear Commodore Roger Hickman noted: “The CYCA keeps the position with the handicap rating rules under constant review. The IMS rule, and before it the IOR rule, served the race well as the primary grand prix rating rules of their time.
“However, we now find ourselves in a position where IMS has declined in popularity and support, thus rendering it inappropriate as the handicap category from which the Overall Winner of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is determined.”
Rear Commodore Hickman went on to say: “The IRC rule has gained in popularity and support in Australia and overseas just as IMS’s own position has been declining. Whilst the IRC rule has now has gained international recognition through the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), it was not designed as a rating rule for grand prix boats and is not an open and transparent rating system.
“Thus the CYCA does not see it as a long term replacement for IMS as the handicap category for the Tattersalls Cup,” he stressed.
“In the absence of a broadly accepted grand prix rule for 2004, the CYCA finds itself in state of transition,” Rear Commodore Hickman explained. “Much work is being done on the development of a new rating rule, but that work will not be completed in sufficient time for it to be assessed for its suitability for the 2004 race. Indeed, unless progress is made quickly, it may be difficult to contemplate applying the new rule for 2005.
“Against that background, the CYCA Board has determined to apply the IRC rule on a year-by-year basis until a suitable alternative is identified.
“Given the popularity of the IRC rule, and the large number of boats both in Australia and overseas with IRC certificates, we could well see the entire fleet in this year’s 60th Race competing for an Overall Win and the honour of having their name inscribed on the historic Tattersalls Cup,” Rear Commodore Hickman added.