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post #6 of Old 03-25-2011
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Our club did a similar maneuver in a similar effort to boost interest and attendance. We scored everyone based on their standard PHRF handicap the first month of the season. Then, based on those results, we assigned a "Club" handicap to apply for races the following month(s). The head of the Race Committee worked out the numbers. As I recall, our rating was adjusted by about 45 seconds per mile, because we'd been beating everybody. Others might have had their rating moved in the other direction to compensate for a variety of issues. (Old sails, old crew, foul bottom, sagging forestay...) The adjustments meant that if we made any mistakes, like getting a mediocre start, not tacking on a header, or taking too long in a tack, we got beaten. If the others got a good start and sailed the favored side of the course, they prevailed. Making it possible for more people to win made the racing more appealing for more of our members, who came out to race instead of going home to cut the grass Wednesdays. It meant we had to stay on our toes if we wanted to win. After several seasons of this, an interesting thing happened. More and more people came out to race. They improved, because they raced more. The club handicaps became smaller, and, essentially unnecessary. Now we have enough boats to run both spinnaker and non-spinnaker fleets. We haven't used the Club ratings over the past few years, but they certainly seemed to work to get our act in gear.
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