The evaluation of yacht hydrodynamics, aerodynamics, and equilibrium through a few empirical formulae called rating rules is quite obviously an over­simplification of nature, and is vulnerable to flaws. Because the flaws exist, the task of rulemakers has been to minimize the harmful effects of the flaws by encouraging or rewarding wholesome and desirable types of yachts and penalizing undesirable ones. The game of owners and designers has been to exploit the flaws for the pure minimization of rating versus performance. Where the limits of the game are drawn is quite subjective and requires constant adjustment to maintain fair racing. This paper traces some of the matches that have been engaged in what Nathanael G. Herreshoff referred to as "a subject never to be fully settled", with emphasis on the current status of the International Offshore Rule.

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