Sunday, December 17, 2017
   
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Handicap Times

HCT

WMRYC Handicapping System

Our club sailing comprises of two forums of sailing. The first is scratch racing which of course has all boats starting at the same time on the same start line.

The second is handicap sailing which is designed to allow those still improving their sailing skills to effectively race against those who may have been sailing for a bit longer and may be able to get around the course a little quicker.

To do this skippers/boats are set off at staggered intervals of 10 seconds. These handicap times are based on known past performances and at WMRYMC are reviewed every two months. The approximate range at the start of the day is from zero or scratch through to approximately 60 seconds.

During a handicap sailing day start times are further adjusted based on results from the previous race. If a skipper obtains a good result it is evident he/she is sailing well or the weather might be suited to that end of the spectrum and as a result the start time is pushed back. Likewise if a skipper is struggling and finishes at the back they are given an earlier start time.

In a perfect situation the start times would be adjusted exponentially right through the fleet with the middle boats staying the same, the winning boats pushed back in increasing increments and the opposite with the later finishing boats. This would be too complex to put in to effect in quick time. i.e. 10 second handicap for the 1st and last boat, 8 seconds for the 2nd and 2nd last boat, 6 seconds for the 3rd and 3rd last boat, 4 seconds for the 4th and 4th last boat and so on,

Therefore, to simplify this, times are only adjusted for a quarter of the fleet and for the same amount of time for these boats for both the front and back finishing boats. The amount of time we use for this at WMRMYC is 10 seconds.

E.g . If there are 12 boats racing then the first three will go out 10 seconds and the last three start 10 seconds earlier.

This system quickly equalises the fleet in relation to the weather which typically favours the front boats in more consistent and heavier breeze and the back boats when it is lighter and takes longer to complete the course. Additionally, it does not isolate a competitor who is featuring at the back end of the fleet for the first few races until the fleet are progressively handicapped to meet them.

At WMRYMC the start times are displayed on a board. The boat runs from zero through to about 90 seconds. A typical board will look like this.

  0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
 

16

30

48

76

40

35

12

29

90

99

61

20

   

In this case there are 12 boats.

The first three boats to finish are 90, 76 and 20

The last three are 48, 61 and 16

Therefore these boats are adjusted and the board will look like this.

-10 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80

16

48

30

   

40

35

12

76

29

61

99

90

20

 

As 16 has finished in the last three and was the scratch boat then 16 is now at -10.

Rather than set 16 of 10 seconds before actual start signal the whole fleet goes back 10. This should not be looked at as ‘penalizing’ these boats. It is applied to the whole fleet and everyone is still relative to each other including the now scratch boat.

Therefore the start times for the next race will look like this:-

  0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
 

16

48

30

   

40

35

12

76

29

61

99

90

20

As you can see no individual boat has been handicapped any more than they have been after the 10 seconds have been applied to the first and last three boats. Likewise if there is no scratch boat then the entire fleet come forward until there is a boat on scratch. For example, if 16, 30 and 48 had featured in the top three then there would be no scratch boats and so after the 10 second adjustments had been made all boats would come back 10 seconds.