Louay Habib interviews Mike Urwin, joint Chairman of the IRC Technical Committee, on some detail technical aspects of IRC.
LH: One objective of IRC is to provide a rating that will allow the existing fleet to be competitive while not being a disincentive to development - a delicate balancing act and one that is more important than ever in the current environment. Would you like to comment on the 2012 rating changes designed to change the balance between boats with non overlapping headsails and designs with overlapping headsails?
MU: Recent years have seen a steady trend towards new designs having non-overlapping headsails. This, and the trend among some boats originally designed with overlapping headsails to convert to a non-overlapping configuration, has prompted sail designers to develop improved designs for these sails in lighter airs. Allied with the fact that modern sailcloth is better able to deal with the higher loads in tall, high aspect ratio sails, this has changed the balance slightly in favour of the non overlappers.