ORC Category 4 – simplified

Minimum requirements for Cat 4 events

The Offshore Racing Council (ORC) recommendations cover monohulls and multihulls in five groups: Category 4 is for short, daylight races in protected water, Category 3 are on open water, Category 2 are longer races, Category 1 are long and well offshore, and Category 0 races are trans-oceanic. The Offshore Special Recommendations require progressively more gear for each category.Since the majority of regattas require Category 4 compliance, here’s a basic list of the portable safety equipment requirements for sailboats a Category 4 race:

  • 2 buckets of 9 liters each
  • A non-electric, magnetic compass
  • Spare bulbs or parts for all navigation lights
  • A softwood plug attached to each thru-hull
  • Two fire extinguishers
  • 1 anchor
  • 1 watertight flashlight with spare batteries and bulb
  • First aid manual and first aid kit
  • Foghorn
  • Radar reflector
  • Non-electronic chart(s), light list and plotting tools
  • Durable stowage chart showing location of all safety gear
  • Echo sounder OR lead line
  • Tools and spare parts with a quick way to disconnect or sever rigging
  • Lifebuoy with light, reflective tape and drogue OR Lifesling with light and reflective tape
  • 4 red handheld, 4 white handheld and 2 orange smoke SOLAS-grade flares
  • Heaving line
  • Storm trysail OR a mainsail reefable to 40% of normal luff
  • Lifejacket with reflective material, whistle, and yacht name for each crew