Mike Urwin, RORC Rating office, Technical Director explains some of the changes proposed to IRC, and the overall objective of the IRC rule. Here are a few excerpts:
* IRC does not rate individual boats, it rates the features of boats in general. We are not looking at individual boats but the whole fleet. So, as and when necessary, we make changes to the rule on an annual basis, it is very, very rare that we will make changes during the middle of a season. We run a research agenda and at the end of each year the IRC Technical Committee decides which things we want to change, which things need more work and which things are to be left alone, as they are perfectly alright. These changes all happen on a yearly basis; January 1st in the Northern Hemisphere, June 1st in the Southern Hemisphere.
* There has also been a fair amount of ‘noise’ about the King 40 in America, Soozal, which has a powered winch package. I don’t think it is appropriate for a boat of that size to have high speed powered winches and others seem to agree with me and there will be a change in how IRC deals with that next year.
We want to be permissive but we don’t want people to think they have to go out and fit powered winches if they are going to win a regatta, IRC does not encourage unnecessary expense. If a development comes along with value to the sailing community, we will not penalize it. If the development has little or no value than we will not look as favourably on that.
* There will be many small changes next year, potentially issues such as bowsprits, and stored power. We will also be slightly refining the way we treat keels. One significant change to the rule is the way it will look. From the 1st January 2010, we will be adopting the Equipment Rules of Sailing, in their entirety. We are doing that because IRC is an international rule and we need to have measurements and standards that are common to all countries. We want to have measurers who have been trained by us or the relevant National Authority. We want to have consistency of training and measurement, throughout the world. In practice, this won’t actually change anything but it will result in improved IRC measurement standards around the world.
Complete interview:  http://www.ircrating.org/en/concentric-circles/213-mike-urwin-interview.html
reprinted from SCUTTLEBUTT 2945 – Wednesday, October 7, 2009
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