Draycote Dash 23/24 Nov
Datchet Flyer 14/15 Dec
Brass Monkey - resail 18 Jan
Grafham Grand Prix 29 Dec
Oxford Blue 4 Jan
Bloody Mary 11 Jan
Steve Nicholson25 Jan
Tiger Trophy1/2 Feb

How Great Lakes handicapping system works


Andrew Craig is chairman of the Great Lakes Group and one of the organisers of the Bloody Mary, the big dinghy racing pursuit race that attracts sailors from across the UK every January. Here, Andrew explains the rationale behind the PY handicap numbers being used in the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series, and the drive to create a more level playing field....

Winter Series Handicapping 2013-14

The RYA handicaps are currently an average of race data from all venue types including rivers, small lakes and tidal waters as well as large flat water lakes and so may not fit one particular venue type. The RYA handicaps do not suit large flat water venues where faster boats can use the space available and slower more tactical boats lose their advantage of manoeuverability. Development classes see their handicaps move but there is a lag between the increase in performance and the necessary change in handicap. New class handicaps are recommended by the manufacturer or class association and it is in their interest to set a lenient handicap which gets the class noticed through results. With the continuing proliferation of new classes, the percentage of currently active classes without an RYA PYN is increasing. All these factors have been addressed in setting the series handicaps.

The approach:

Handicap racing is always a compromise. Our aim is to allow the top sailors in any class an equal chance of winning when conditions suit that class. We are therefore aiming to handicap to the potential of the boat. An extreme example is the foiling moth, we will handicap for foiling conditions only.

The RYA Portsmouth Yardstick Scheme provides a method and now an online tool to collect and analyse race data. Starting with RYA and class suggested handicaps, the analysis will recommend handicap changes. Poor performers are excluded before class handicaps are computed in order to prevent undue influence by those who were late to the start, having a bad day or simply new to the sport or the boat.

Data from the Winter Championship handicap events held at Draycote, Grafham, Northampton, Rutland and Yorkshire Dales has been collected and analysed, over 3500 race results in total. This has been the primary source of changes.  For some classes that have not attended the Winter Championships in quantity but take part in club racing at the series venues, club race data is the source of changes.

Development class historical rate of change is taken into account when adjusting their handicaps to bring them up to current performance.

New class design specs are compared to existing classes and handicaps are then set to allow them to enter but for it to be challenging for them to get into the prizes.

A continuing process

At the end of this Winter Series the handicapping committee will meet to review the results of the individual events and the race data will be added to the analysis. This data together with club racing data from the series venues and the latest RYA handicap changes will be taken into account when setting handicaps for the next winter season. The best way to influence the future handicaps is to turn up and sail and get your data included in this process.

Handicap List


Article Author Andrew Craig 10/11/2013 20:49



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