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  Topic Review (Newest First)
04-14-2011 11:52 PM
Classic30 A good way to find out how well your present handicapping system is working is to run one of the races (usually at the end of the series) as a Pursuit (stern-chaser) race. If your handicapping is close to correct, everyone "should" - barring major incidents - finish within minutes of each other..
04-14-2011 10:46 PM
Originally Posted by Sanduskysailor View Post
......I think awarding a first place flag for consistently inadequate boat preparation, tactics, and crew work won't make anyone a better sailor.

A better idea might have a racing class and a casual cruising class for those who don't want to put the effort in to win.
Good points.. our short lived experience with 'equalized' ratings just didn't feel 'real' - even to those who may have suddenly 'won'.
04-14-2011 10:21 PM
Sanduskysailor I've had a lot of experience in handicap and OD racing. Early in my racing life I was racing at a club where racers weren't that good including me. For whatever reason I climbed to the top of the fleet in short order, winning a lot racing with my wife and 2 girls as crew. The next year the fleet captain institutes results based handicapping similar to what others propose here. To start the year my PHRF number was to be adjusted 65 sec/mi from my closest competitor. I immediately joined another club where the racing was more competitive. I got the message. 4 years later the 20 boat racing program at my old club was gone. 15 years later none of the original 20 are still racing with exception of me. There might be a lesson there. I've seen a study where over a 3 year period 35% of a 20 boat OD class never win a race or place in the top3, 40% rarely win or finish in the top 3 and 25% win 90% of the races.

I have had my head handed to me many times on the race course since. I win some and I am consistently in the money. I work hard to make it happen. My skills are light years ahead of 20 years ago and still need work. Winning is always a moving target which keeps you on your toes.

I think awarding a first place flag for consistently inadequate boat preparation, tactics, and crew work won't make anyone a better sailor.

A better idea might have a racing class and a casual cruising class for those who don't want to put the effort in to win.
04-14-2011 08:25 PM
Classic30 You're doing the right thing - it sounds like you need more data.

Personally, I don't think a Skipper's handicap will ever work, simply beacuse you can't track people swapping boats. Besides, depending upon the course set, how well a boat does often has very little to do with the skipper and more to do with the crew - fast kite hoists, quick tacks, no foul-ups, etc.

The system we use for Classic Yachts over here - where you can have everything from +50' Gaffers to 26' Folkboats racing together - is a straight time-based Performance Handicap, and there is well-proven software available that will do all the hard work for you:

Top Yacht Software

The web site isn't flash (personally, I think the people there are too busy doing real work), but the software geniunely IS used for both club local and major race events all over the world.

I hope this helps.
04-14-2011 07:50 PM
Thanks everyone

Thanks to all of you for your input. Tomorrow is our first race day of the season and the initial thought is we will stick with PHRF for the Spring season and adjust for the Fall season and see how it works out.

One thing: I worked out some Skipper's handicaps based on some old data I had and two things jumped out at me. The Skippers in the very long race (25 miles) were grouped together quite well but in the very short race (2.1 miles) were way apart in seconds per mile. In retrospect, the short race was unusual for us and was most likely a very light air day so the small, light boats did real well and the rest of us were way behind.

If I remember this Fall, I'll update the thread.

03-26-2011 09:59 PM
paulk We prefer not tinkering with the ratings too, but we think having lots of lazy people come out to race is better than having one boat sail the course by itself. The handicapper needs to apply some judgement, so as to get more people racing, but still be fair to the people who sail well. If you've got a foul bottom, a rating assigned after the first month's results isn't going to help you in the second month unless you clean it off.
03-26-2011 02:47 PM
tommays I don't like the handicap beyond the PHRF rating because a lot of people are just lazy and it rewards them

I have another friend with a J24 who always finishes last and when i have had time i try and help him out BUT when its two much trouble to even clean the bottom what you gonna do ?
03-25-2011 10:10 PM
paulk 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.
03-25-2011 09:16 PM
Faster We had a similar situation at our club years ago, and for a season (or a series... I forget) what we did was back calculate a bunch of results to the same corrected time and assigned the resultant average rating to everyone.

It worked alright, but for some reason everything reverted soon after.....
03-25-2011 06:27 PM

We looked into the time-on-time method and it certainly has some benefits to allow boats of significant ratings race together but it just doesn't go far enough.

Dividing into pros vs newbies wouldn't work either since a big field is 6 or 8 boats at a time.

As far as golf handicaps, the system we would adopt would still require the good sailors to sail good to beat the not so good ones and the not so good ones would have at least some chance to win now and then. We feel it will bring some fun back into the day for all those that just have no chance now of winning and of course, we will adjust the handicaps for the not so good now and then as then get better to not allow them to win just due to their handicap rating.

Again, have any of you tried this and if so what are the pitfalls?
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