The Road to the ORC World Championship Goes Through Three Major Newport Regattas

30 May 2024 - Newport, R.I., USA - With two weeks left until the first gun, the New York Yacht Club's 170th Annual Regatta is nearing record numbers in terms of participation. The entry list currently stands at 139 boats, with 39 registered to compete under the ORC rating rule. There are a few reasons for the surge, with one of the biggest being the emphasis on ORC competition in advance of the 2024 ORC World Championship, scheduled for Newport in early fall.

“After a lot of years racing larger boats, I started racing a J/70 a few years ago and I enjoy the competition in the 70 fleet,” says Al Minella, who will skipper the J/112e The ROCC (on the cover photo far on the right) in the ORC World Championship. “But, when I saw that the ORC Worlds were coming to Newport, I wanted an ORC boat. I’ve owned several J Boats through the years. I specifically wanted a J/112e because of its performance under ORC.”

Minella hasn't given up the J/70. In fact, he'll race the J/70 World Championship in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, in mid-September and then zip across the Atlantic to compete in the ORC World Championships less than a week later.

This summer will be Minella’s second season with the J/112e, named after his longtime sailing mentor Rocco Campanelli, who recently passed away at 91. He had some solid results last season, including a convincing win in ORC E at the 2023 Annual Regatta, taking first in three of four races. But he knows that a world championship brings out the best, with all the local teams stepping up a notch and top teams traveling from outside the region, and the country, to compete.

“My entire crew is looking forward to sailing in Newport this year,” Minella says. “For larger boats, it’s really the best racing venue. Nothing on the East Coast compares to it.

“The goal this summer is to get enough experience with the [J/112e] to see where we need to improve before the ORC Worlds. We also wanted to spend as much time sailing in Newport as possible to get more familiar with the venue.”

Swan 45 named Gemini II USA 45454
Swan 45 named Gemini II USA 45454 led by James Coffman and Laura Varas © Stuart Streuli / NYYC

Another team eager for this summer's ORC competition is the Swan 45, named Gemini II (USA 45454, above and at left), led by James Coffman and Laura Varas.

"I have been impressed with ORC so far, especially when classes are divided up more closely," says Coffman. "We spent considerable time and effort in 2021 and 2022 studying how best to optimize our boat for ORC from a sail plan and configuration. This included lengthening our sprit by some 3 feet, which allowed us to sail deeper and faster, keeping up downwind with the Swan 42s. The boat remains, after 20 years, an incredibly well thought-out design as a true high-performance race-cruiser. Last year, a Swan 45 had a strong showing in the Med for ORC Worlds,. We think with the right prep and crew, we can be just as competitive."

Road to the 2024 ORC World Championship Series to Link Four Great Newport Regattas

With a 30-hour distance race, a 10-hour coastal race and three days of buoy racing, the ORC World Championship is indeed a long haul. But the regatta itself is just the final crescendo for many teams, which will spend the summer sailing in and around Newport learning the local idiosyncrasies, optimizing rig tune across a full breadth of conditions and perfecting crew maneuvers in preparation for the world championship.

To give proper due to the aquatic road warriors who spend the summer searching for tenths of a knot, the New York Yacht Club and Safe Harbor Marinas are pleased to announce the Road to the 2024 ORC World Championship series. This series will include four regattas: the New York Yacht Club’s 170th Annual Regatta (June 14 to 16), Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex (July 17 to 20), the Safe Harbor Race Weekend (August 9 to 11) and the ORC World Championship (Sept. 27 to Oct. 5). Qualifying for the series will require competing in at least three of the four events, with the ORC World Championship being mandatory. The Notice of Series for the Road to the 2024 ORC World Championship will be posted shortly.

Road to the ORC Worlds Regattas
Click here for the Annual Regatta scratch sheet
Click here for the Race Week at Newport scratch sheet
Click here for the Safe Harbor Race Weekend scratch sheet
Click here for the ORC World Championship entry list.

Measurement for the 2024 ORC Worlds will start on Friday, September 27. The first race, an overnight race of roughly 36 hours in duration will kick off the competition on Monday, September 30. The remainder of the regatta will include three days of buoy racing and one day of coastal point-to-point racing. The Maxis will not compete in the overnight race, sailing coastal or buoy races on the opening two days.

Since 1969, the Offshore Racing Congress has been a world leader in providing a scientific and transparent rating system used to create fair racing among a broad variety of boat types, from sportboats to superyachts. Since 1999, ORC has organized annual ORC World Championships and other inshore and offshore racing events sanctioned by World Sailing, with recent events attracting over 100 entries from dozens of countries around the world. The 2024 ORC World Championship will be held in Newport, R.I., and hosted by the New York Yacht Club.

Registration and measurement starts on September 27, with racing kicking off on Monday, September 30, and finishing on Saturday, October 5.

The ORC World Championship is sponsored by Helly Hansen, Safe Harbor Marinas, Peters & May and Hammetts Hotel. The ORC World Championship will serve as the culmination of the Road to the 2024 ORC World Championship series, which will encompass four regattas in Newport, R.I., from June through October.