ORCA’s foundations began in the early 1960s out of the need to formalize ocean multihull racing. As catamarans gained in popularity, so did racing handicapping systems. There were a number of early handicap systems and the governing body for Southern California was Pacific Catamaran Association (PAC). By the mid-1960s, problems began to arise as boat designs diverged as much as the racing. So too did the handicap systems.
A great illustration can be seen in this 1966 Palos Verdes News clipping regarding the second annual Pacific Coast One-of-a-Kind Multi-Hull Championship Regatta. It used two rating systems, “both the PAC and Yachting Magazine’s One-of-a-Kind handicapping systems”, because the previous year’s regatta had 27 boats in 18 different classes.
With increasing handicapping complexity, and break-away boat designs, owners of cruising-type ocean racing catamarans were being squeezed out of racing. To the continent of founding members of PAC who owned cruising-type multihulls, the solution was clear cut. They needed the freedom to carry out the objectives of fostering safe and comfortable ocean racing for cruising/racing multihulls.
On June 19, 1965, in Los Angeles, California, The Ocean Racing Catamaran Association (ORCA) was formed.