US SAILING Halts Participation in Grand-Prix Rule Development


Carlo Borlenghi/rolex

The following is the complete text of a press release issued by US SAILING. Portsmouth, R.I. (April 29, 2004) - US SAILING has decided to place a moratorium on its participation with the International Grand Prix Working Party (RWP) to allow time for wider review of national opinion among U.S. offshore racing interests. In the meantime, the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) and the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) will continue the work to develop a new international handicap rule for Grand Prix racing boats. The RWP was created to develop a new set of rules that would promote international competition at the Grand Prix level through encouragement of fast, fun and sea worthy offshore boats racing within narrow rating bands. US SAILING has met with the other stakeholders, the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) and the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and informed them of their decision. "Launching a Grand Prix alternative Rule represents a major investment in resources and to ensure success we need to make the best assessment possible of the community it is meant to serve, from owners and builders to event organizers," said Janet Baxter, US SAILING President. "An appropriate mechanism for inviting, organizing and distilling grand prix opinion will help to define the development of a grand prix program that will suit U.S. sailors". "Although the RWP did a fantastic job at surveying potential constituents, discussing all the issues of Grand Prix racing and formulating rule proposals there remain differences on key elements of such a rule," said Baxter. "In addition, U.S. interests in Grand Prix developments could be shared by a wider community than has provided formal input to the RWP." Bruno Finzi, Chairman of ORC, continues to be enthusiastic about developing an international rule. "We appreciate the work and involvement of US SAILING to date and look forward to continuing working with them in the near future." "We have received strong support from a number of countries and potential owners to develop a rule that will allow us to recreate the international yacht racing circuit and we shall continue to work towards this goal," comments Chris Little, Commodore of RORC. "We welcome the outcome of US SAILING's consultation and look forward to continuing working together towards the rule's creation." No time limit has been set for the moratorium by US SAILING and they will continue to stay in close contact with the work of the joint RWP and keep that group advised of developments and U.S. opinion will be taken into account throughout all RWP developments. The RWP is in the process of appointing a manager to co-ordinate the development of the rule, encourage potential owners to build boats to the new rule and create an international circuit of events. A Technical Group under the independent Chairmanship of Andy Claughton, of the Wolfson Unit, is currently assessing the various technical options of the proposed rule and will report its recommendations in early May. The draft rule will be presented to interested parties, including designers, sailmakers and potential owners for their comments before the rule is finalized for publication before the end of the year. For more information about U.S. offshore Grand Prix racing, please contact Dan Nowlan, US SAILING Offshore Director, at