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eyeshotpar

Can we save Portsmouth handicap racing?

134 posts in this topic

This was last Saturday, what could be better?

 

post-111477-0-47341900-1474599099_thumb.jpg

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Looks similar to the last mix and match race I was in.

Tasar

E scow

Lightning

Buccaneer

Etc

All having fun on the water

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Answer this question, How do we get people racing sailboats? 99.99 of us just keep screens in our faces for "fun?".

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Portsmouth handicap racing can be easily " saved " if we all agree that the attempt to level the racing field is never going to be fair to all. It is impossible to establish a numerical system to make hundreds of different boats " equal ". It would be a great help if fleets would faithfully submit race results so adjustments to the ratings could be gradually made. We need to accept the somewhat flawed system and race anyway. Happy Sailing!

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Portsmouth handicap racing can be easily " saved " if we all agree that the attempt to level the racing field is never going to be fair to all. It is impossible to establish a numerical system to make hundreds of different boats " equal ". It would be a great help if fleets would faithfully submit race results so adjustments to the ratings could be gradually made. We need to accept the somewhat flawed system and race anyway. Happy Sailing!

 

The "problem" at the local level is that you usually have a rotating RC in which the sailors take their turn. So there is very little consistency in using the wind range handicaps or reporting of results. And then you still have the issues of rating the boat independently of the ability of the persons sailing it. That is the same issue PHRF faces.

The places that I see using Portsmouth successfully only use the published numbers as a starting point and have one or two knowledgeable and fair minded people making adjustments as needed. There are guidelines for some of the adjustments on US Sailing's website.

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I think US sailing has put the Portsmouth Yardstick behind their log in. That sucks. I have also heard no updated to the tables, probably because they are getting so few race results. But new boats like the Aero aren"t in the US tables. I certainly agree, it isn't perfect, but beats racing heads up.

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I think US sailing has put the Portsmouth Yardstick behind their log in. That sucks. I have also heard no updated to the tables, probably because they are getting so few race results. But new boats like the Aero aren"t in the US tables. I certainly agree, it isn't perfect, but beats racing heads up.

 

For a new (or unrated) boat, one can always derive a rating from the formulas. I have done it several times in the last few years. There is a table to convert between Portsmouth and PHRF numbers, and tables to adjust the ratings of boats in non standard configuration. For example, a boat that is rated with a spinnaker sailing without one. Some of the multi-hull fleets adjust for crew weights. Your fleet just has to do a little leg work to make it happen.

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Our local fleet races under portsmouth, using the base handicaps with adjustments for wind range, and also some minor adjustments like no spin, fixed prop, etc... yes we use it for keelboats. Foxxy's description defines our use nearly perfectly.

 

Yes the handicap ratings are behind the US Sailing login.

 

Also we do not report back our results anymore (years ago we used to)... There was a falling out with the person reporting for our club, and the contact at US Sailing. Also they wanted the club to join US Sailing, and our whole club operates on a shoestring, membership is $60 a year to race, so no extra funds to join as a club.

 

This was a conscious decision, and not one I support. I think by and large Portsmouth ratings are slightly better (on our small boat lake) than PHRF by a narrow margin. The one thing that totally stinks though, is if the wind dies (as in ZERO wind) for any length of time during the race... the largest handicap nearly always wins. If you look at how results are calculated, you can see why that is.

 

Anyone know the procedure to start reporting results back to US Sailing? Our statistician remarked that it required paper forms, which seemed odd, since sailwave can generate the results, why not just submit them electronically?

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US Sailing needs to take a REAL proactive position re handicap racing or encourage some other group to take it over. With todays tech and programs the tables could be updated weekly via smart phone. I'd gladly pay 20 bucks a year for the service ( like golf handicaps). There could be an on line portsmouth newsletter. There are sooooo many unused dinghys stored next to lake homes and cottages that could take part in fun racing. The analality (new word)of the OD fleets would have to soften some but handicap dinghy racing could add numbers to the game if the game was properly promoted.

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The national bodies would rather you sailed in classes, particularly the Olympic classes. Then they can control you. Personally I think more clubs should use the yardsticks. It encourages "sail what you have". I see to many clubs in Sydney who, while stating they run an open yardstick class, really only want you to race their 'chosen' classes. Then there are complaints about smaller membership.

 

Clubs should be encouraging people to sail that second hand boat they picked up for $1000 in the club environment. Maybe in a couple of years they will decide to buy that new Taser or whatever. Sailing needs to broaden its base level.

 

Yardsticks should be easy these days, excel should do all the work at both ends.

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The only yardstick updated regularly enough to work is the UKs (RYA)

reason being there are many interclub handicap meets, and it has decent feedback and is regularly adjusted/finetuned. US & OZ are basically static.

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The only yardstick updated regularly enough to work is the UKs (RYA)

reason being there are many interclub handicap meets, and it has decent feedback and is regularly adjusted/finetuned. US & OZ are basically static.

 

Interclub/open events are not a very important feature of the yardstick system. They aren't recorded separately.

 

The reason the UK system works is that the RYA put a high priority on it as one of the key things they deliver back to the clubs. Fortunately they're reasonable free of the dumb "only single class racing is proper racing" mindset.

 

I imagine that if US sailing approached the RYA and said they wanted to use the UKs on line system - or have their own version - some deal could be struck. The main drawback is the need for critical mass. Without sufficient data it just doesn't work, which is why the RYA has had to drop cruiser yardsticks and has very few multihulls in the system. Wouldn't be great if a bunch of US clubs all punched the last 5 years races into a copy of the RYA system only for it to respond that there's only adequate data for 5 classes.

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Fortunately they're reasonable free of the dumb "only single class racing is proper racing" mindset.

 

 

 

 

 

 

they're also reasonably free of people in their 20's, 30's and even 40's ... whilst mos the kids and juniors are still racing classes as practice for circuit stuff, if their good enough/commited enough etc... which trickles down to class racing for most kids as most parents then don't go left field when there's something established.

 

I guess PY has its place- helps the oldies potter around with some sense of purpose.

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Portsmouth handicap racing can be easily " saved " if we all agree that the attempt to level the racing field is never going to be fair to all. It is impossible to establish a numerical system to make hundreds of different boats " equal ". It would be a great help if fleets would faithfully submit race results so adjustments to the ratings could be gradually made. We need to accept the somewhat flawed system and race anyway. Happy Sailing!

 

+1

 

Handicap racing is where many clubs bring in new members and fleets form. It is a great opportunity to hone your skills & have fun with everybody in town.

 

System isn't perfect, none will ever be.

 

Bottom line is if you want more people racing/sailing, you have to bring more people racing.

 

This is yet another example of being part of the problem, or part of the solution. All ventures in life are either growing, or shrinking; getting stronger or getting weaker; Take your pick.

 

The OP asked how to save portsmouth racing...the problem is a shrinking & aging base of sailors...period. Everything else is icing on the cake.

 

We own this problem. We are the only people who can fix it. If you can't name someone who's racing because you brought them into the sport (this year) then you need to go out and find someone and become part of the solution.

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... ... ...

I guess PY has its place- helps the oldies potter around with some sense of purpose.

 

 

I would tend to agree that any handicap system is not a serious form of competition; however this seems a bit condescending and not very nice. Would you rather people just not sail at all? Or do you just want them to drop out of your club?

 

 

... ... ...

The OP asked how to save portsmouth racing...the problem is a shrinking & aging base of sailors...period. Everything else is icing on the cake.

 

We own this problem. We are the only people who can fix it. If you can't name someone who's racing because you brought them into the sport (this year) then you need to go out and find someone and become part of the solution.

 

 

Take a newbie sailing! Make it an event for your club or fleet, or just invite some non-sailing friends to share the fun on a nice day. I know firsthand that Jimmy Y has done a lot of work and brought a lot of people into the sport, I have tried to do so myself, so it must be the rest of you all that are falling down on the job.

 

Oh, and Jimmy Kneewrecker, when new people decide to join your oh-so-serious competitive racing class, you can wait & thank us then. If it's still alive at all.

 

FB- Doug

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FWIW...

 

I feel I should mention that I actually like racing in a portsmouth fleet. I have plenty of one design opportunities, and enjoy them too, but portsmouth racing is simple fun.

 

Definitely worth bringing friends out for.

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Make sure your club's big open regatta has a provision for a Portsmouth start in the NOR. I have shopped around for travel regattas and found a lot that the NOR says "open to OD classes with fleets of X boats or more"

If you have a good regatta in a good time slot, we'll probably build up to an OD fleet within a few years.

BTW, I don't care much about the rating numbers.

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Maybe a local model for Portsmouth handicapping is a way to have a successful future.

I am certain the Texas Classless Fleet could create handicap numbers that would create better actual competition than the use of the US sailing national numbers.

The local sailors know which boats are 40 years old and have no chance of sailing to their rating.

There are also boats like the local sailmaker's foiling Moth that when combined with that Sailor's great skill are unbeatable.

A combination of standard Portsmouth numbers and golf type individual handicaps could make a local fleet's contests into nail biters for everyone involved.

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Oh, and Jimmy Kneewrecker, when new people decide to join your oh-so-serious competitive racing class, you can wait & thank us then. If it's still alive at all.

 

FB- Doug

 

 

 

 

oh dear, you're are mistaken. It's far from serious.... it's actually very simple, refreshing and lighthearted- in fact it's the perfect fleet for newbies as you can still get a boat on the water for under a 1000 bucks. I'll admit it steps up a notch if you get in to the top 3, and certainly does if you're daft enough to spend your time travelling to events; but that's very much 'been there, done that' territory - well the second point at least.

 

It's far less serious than all that timing bullshit, all those separate starts with those flags going up and down faster than Madonna's knickers in the 1990's. Not to mention all that computer manipulation that goes on apres race, just to work out whether a 49er was sailed better than a kid in a Tera- in reality the experience is just yesterday's chip paper and was hardly memorable in the first place- just a cruise in company - nothing more than a group exercise class. (Nothing wrong with that btw, they're very popular now)

 

A mate of mine went back to his home club where he grew up, sailed well and faced a barrage of tut-tutting about his handicap being too lenient.... it was the RYA published number for the class he sailed FFS. He hasn't been back.... this is not an isolated example.

 

Sail badly, blame your handicap. Sail well, question your handicap- or have other fuckers do it for you. Beat the guy next to you across the finish line fairly - feel great. Lose to the guy next to you on the finish line fairly - feel great too, knowing it's down to you to change it next time.

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however this seems a bit condescending and not very nice.

 

 

Mr Kneewrecker is a sad case. He's run out of enthusiasm for the sport. Fair enough, many of us do from time to time. But instead of admitting it to himself and saying fair enough, its not what I want to do now, I'll take a few years off, maybe come back to it, maybe not, he's got himself into this mind set of knocking, knocking knocking...

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Our club, the Carolina Sailing Club has several small one design fleets and an Open fleet. Over the years participation has fallen. Sailors of one fleet or the other would think they'd be the only one of that fleet to show up and end up staying home.

 

This year we decided to experiment by having everyone sail in the Open Fleet (Portsmouth) as well as in their one design fleet. Participation has markedly increased and everyone likes the fact they will always be competing.

 

Not a perfect solution but having 15-20 boats competing beats the hell out of what we had before.

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however this seems a bit condescending and not very nice.

 

 

Mr Kneewrecker is a sad case. He's run out of enthusiasm for the sport. Fair enough, many of us do from time to time. But instead of admitting it to himself and saying fair enough, its not what I want to do now, I'll take a few years off, maybe come back to it, maybe not, he's got himself into this mind set of knocking, knocking knocking...

 

 

 

 

Steam Flyer -actually it was tongue in cheek aimed primarily at your amateur psychologist buddy there.

 

To my knowledge he has never met me, nor knows anything of substance about me before attempting to pop-psyche me; yet he clearly feels my views are dumb.

 

I actually couldn't give a monkeys if people want to drift around a handicap fleet and convince themselves it's real racing.... each to their own. But the proliferation of handicap racing at UK clubs, has, in my opinion, weakened the sport as a whole and made other options all the more interesting.

 

I'll remain enthusiastic though - at least we've still got fleet racing options at our club... even if in my ideal world, those Lasers would be OKs, D-Zeros or Aeros. Can't have everything though....

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however this seems a bit condescending and not very nice.

 

 

Mr Kneewrecker is a sad case. He's run out of enthusiasm for the sport. Fair enough, many of us do from time to time. But instead of admitting it to himself and saying fair enough, its not what I want to do now, I'll take a few years off, maybe come back to it, maybe not, he's got himself into this mind set of knocking, knocking knocking...

 

 

 

 

Steam Flyer -actually it was tongue in cheek aimed primarily at your amateur psychologist buddy there.

 

To my knowledge he has never met me, nor knows anything of substance about me before attempting to pop-psyche me; yet he clearly feels my views are dumb.

 

I actually couldn't give a monkeys if people want to drift around a handicap fleet and convince themselves it's real racing.... each to their own. But the proliferation of handicap racing at UK clubs, has, in my opinion, weakened the sport as a whole and made other options all the more interesting.

 

I'll remain enthusiastic though - at least we've still got fleet racing options at our club... even if in my ideal world, those Lasers would be OKs, D-Zeros or Aeros. Can't have everything though....

 

 

Enthusiasm is the # 1 ingredient, yes!

But why would "drifting around a handicap fleet" necessarily not be "real racing"? Would the best sailor be less likely to win? Given almost-equal skill, perhaps the result might be tilted one way or the other by the characteristics of the boats they chose, but isn't making a choice an exercise in knowledge too?

 

The only problem I can see is that sailors in a handicap fleet may not be motivated to improve as much; but then I've seen plenty of one-design racers who were perfectly content to keep pottering around making the same mistakes and finishing comfortably out of the spotlight.

 

Meanwhile, chasing away people who Don't Sail Boats Like Yours (barbarians! the nerve!!) can't possibly help the club or the sport. I think we agree on that, so just indulge me for repeating the point, thanks

;)

 

FB- Doug

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I agree that choosing the right boat is a skill in its own right.... but then if you're compromising on what you want to sail for a boat that you should sail - maybe for reasons of crew weight, location, skills set, typical course types etc, aren't you fundamentally removing the one major advantage that handicap racing actually has..... sailing what the fuck you want and be damned with the rest?

Like all things, this is all about compromise. And to some extent, I can see that if class racing isn't available then that could also be rather liberating. I've seriously looked at a couple of clubs with a view to buying either a Finn or D-Zero- these clubs don't have class racing anymore. I'm always drawn back by the quality of racing on offer with the Laser, and to a greater extent, the size of the water which makes windsurfing viable (which is important, sailing a laser for fun freeriding is a rarity without waves!!).

 

And for what it's worth, no one is chased away at my current club- quite the reverse in fact.... we have plenty of members with all sorts of non-fleet boats; but for their esteemed fleet captain getting them to participate in the racing is another matter entirely. From what I can see our entire club racing programme mollycoddles the handicap fleet - taking times for all boats, even those engaged in class racing, and adjusting them on start time to create a rather meaningless overall club series.... it's an onerous task for the race officers, probably leading to a larger reluctance to man the box, certainly as Chief OD, but I don't think the club could be accused of chasing handicap racing away.

As I stated above, I think the menagerie fleet would better served dumping the handicaps and running it like a group sail programme - with shorter races, first across the line wins. That's certainly what happened in previous years - and participation numbers for the menagerie were up then; but I do acknowledge that's completely counterintuitive and probably looks like a major backwards step for the very few who do take their handicap racing seriously.

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I agree that choosing the right boat is a skill in its own right.... but then if you're compromising on what you want to sail for a boat that you should sail - maybe for reasons of crew weight, location, skills set, typical course types etc, aren't you fundamentally removing the one major advantage that handicap racing actually has..... sailing what the fuck you want and be damned with the rest? ... ... ...

 

Agree. But then, everything is a compromise.

 

 

... ... ...

 

And for what it's worth, no one is chased away at my current club- quite the reverse in fact.... we have plenty of members with all sorts of non-fleet boats; but for their esteemed fleet captain getting them to participate in the racing is another matter entirely. From what I can see our entire club racing programme mollycoddles the handicap fleet - taking times for all boats, even those engaged in class racing, and adjusting them on start time to create a rather meaningless overall club series.... it's an onerous task for the race officers, probably leading to a larger reluctance to man the box, certainly as Chief OD, but I don't think the club could be accused of chasing handicap racing away.

 

As I stated above, I think the menagerie fleet would better served dumping the handicaps and running it like a group sail programme - with shorter races, first across the line wins. That's certainly what happened in previous years - and participation numbers for the menagerie were up then; but I do acknowledge that's completely counterintuitive and probably looks like a major backwards step for the very few who do take their handicap racing seriously.

 

Glad to hear about your club. Most sailing clubs can't help a certain amount of clique-ish-ness and present a less than friendly face to newcomers, even if they don't intend to. One aspect of leadership IMHO is the effort to overcome this.

 

As for getting together the oddball fleet for just fun sailing, I think that's a great idea. One of the offshoots of our junior program is the interest in sailing drills. And it builds skill better than racing over & over.

 

FB- Doug

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Portsmouth yardstick can suck my c*ck. Arguably the most frustrating hcap system to race under

Probably the purpose of this thread is to do something about it. Agree with what someone above said, "some one else needs to take it over". I don't know the logistics of how to do it but there is a lot of knowledge here on S/A. Maybe S/A itself could do it. If the UK can do it, why not US.

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I think US sailing has put the Portsmouth Yardstick behind their log in. That sucks. I have also heard no updated to the tables, probably because they are getting so few race results. But new boats like the Aero aren"t in the US tables. I certainly agree, it isn't perfect, but beats racing heads up.

 

For a new (or unrated) boat, one can always derive a rating from the formulas. I have done it several times in the last few years. There is a table to convert between Portsmouth and PHRF numbers, and tables to adjust the ratings of boats in non standard configuration. For example, a boat that is rated with a spinnaker sailing without one. Some of the multi-hull fleets adjust for crew weights. Your fleet just has to do a little leg work to make it happen.

 

I've had to assign Portsmouth numbers to a couple of boats in the club, an RS Aero and an RS 500. I went to the UK Portsmouth site to see what they rated there and compared it to something similar. In the case of the Aero we compared it to a Laser and just adjusted the US number by the appropriate percentage. With the 500 the UK had it rated the same as a Fireball so we gave it the same rating as the Fireball on the US site.

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Portsmouth yardstick can suck my c*ck. Arguably the most frustrating hcap system to race under

Probably the purpose of this thread is to do something about it. Agree with what someone above said, "some one else needs to take it over". I don't know the logistics of how to do it but there is a lot of knowledge here on S/A. Maybe S/A itself could do it. If the UK can do it, why not US.

 

What is so frustrating about the system?

 

the ratings?

Calculations?

 

it's just numbers & formulas.

 

you can always adjust for local conditions like any other system.

 

 

 

I can agree that not all of the numbers are perfect...and folks will complain..but beats sailing in a fleet of 1 or few.

 

Besides, in small clubs the OD fleets can quickly establish a standard hierarchy and be quite boring to race in, and having a bit of skill from the other fleets and some chance rolled in makes things interesting.

 

Personally I know that there are boats I need to beat by a larger margin than others due to their favorable handicap...I just consider that part of the challenge.

 

 

so what is it exactly that makes it the worst?

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It's the worst because...

The problem with Portsmouth in 2016 is that the foundation of the yardstick is based on fundamentals that are no longer valid.

The ratings (and any subsequent ratings updates) are based on classes that are actively raced in one design fleets in addition to their participation in this handicap race.

In 2016, the top one design sailors are simply not racing their boat in any handicap race... So the rating (or adjustment) derived is not an accurate measurement of the boats performance. An average sailor will not sail the class to its rating and can't be used to set or adjust a rating..

 

The active one design fleet standard assures the rest of the boat classes that the rating reflects standardized equipment. Portsmouth requires a large amount of numbers to average and standardized boats in the class. The one design standard tries to assure this result. Basically you have a class of all apples racing a class of all oranges. The winner is based on the sailing skill ... not the boat design. One offs are given local ratings as the OA determines to be fair.. When you collect the data for a handicap race you also have to keep the type of racetrack in mind... results for WL's will differ from results from triangles or olympic triangles...

 

Furthermore, one design sailors are pushing the design to get the most out of it by refining the skills for that design.. AND that you are likely to have a sizeable population of very good sailors who on any given handicap race will sail the design to its potential. This is an essential requirement because the Portsmouth system takes the finish time of the just the first finisher of the design and when you average the times relative to other boats in the race you can determine the boat's performance and not the skill of the sailor. You need a lot of numbers to make an accurate ratings table. You don't want a class rating based on single hot shot sailor beating up on second tier sailors racing other classes.

 

The other assumption is that the boats are in racing shape... meaning... fresh sails, polished bottoms and clean foils. Again, the idea is that the rating reflects the max performance of the class. Most of the boats on a portsmouth race course in 2016 will not pass this standard and should not be able to sail to their rating.... (So... there is no merit in sending in your rating reports.... the data are garage and when included have caused ratings creep as boats age)

 

Somebody made the point that they are successful when a couple of knowledgeable sailors who adjust the ratings to match the classes in their regatta. Basically this is called performance handicaping. You can develop a fair ratings table just as well this way (just don't call it Portsmouth). The requirements to run a yardstick calculation for a ratings table don't exist in the US.

 

Catamarans in the US are switching from Porsmouth to SCHRS. SCHRS is a measurement rule administered by an international group and sanctioned by world Sailing. The advantage is that new classes (N17 olympic cats) can be rated using the formula and go racing on the same ratings playing field as the existing cats.

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Our club, the Carolina Sailing Club has several small one design fleets and an Open fleet. Over the years participation has fallen. Sailors of one fleet or the other would think they'd be the only one of that fleet to show up and end up staying home.

 

This year we decided to experiment by having everyone sail in the Open Fleet (Portsmouth) as well as in their one design fleet. Participation has markedly increased and everyone likes the fact they will always be competing.

 

Not a perfect solution but having 15-20 boats competing beats the hell out of what we had before.

This is the most important point made in this thread.

 

"Everyone likes the fact that they are competing"

 

EXACTLY..... race two other boats in your class one design OR race a fleet of 16 boats under handicap. Competing is best served in the 15 boat fleet.

 

The fun factor goes up when you are trying to beat the boat just ahead of you and hold off the guy behind.... 15 boats racing is a good time...

 

It is essential to have a handicap process that is open, transparent and has complete integrity. If you think your PHRF board has complete integrity... you believe the rating table is fair! If you can't meet the basic requirements of portsmouth... it won't have integrity and the resulting ratings table will cause problems.

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It's the worst because...

The problem with Portsmouth in 2016 is that the foundation of the yardstick is based ...

 

I should perhaps add that while the above post may well be describe how the US Portsmouth Yardstick system is managed (I wouldn't know) it is utterly unlike the way the UK Portsmouth yardsticks are calculated.

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Our big regatta of the year is coming up in central Texas. When I went to register with a chartered RS Aero, I noticed a couple really good Aero owners used the RYC Portsmouth rating. I followed suit.

 

If US Sailing isn't going to support it, why not just use the more accurate and current RYC numbers?

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It's the worst because...

The problem with Portsmouth in 2016 is that the foundation of the yardstick is based ...

 

I should perhaps add that while the above post may well be describe how the US Portsmouth Yardstick system is managed (I wouldn't know) it is utterly unlike the way the UK Portsmouth yardsticks are calculated.

 

 

 

 

yep- in the UK there's a special smoking lounge at the Royal Yacht Squadron where historic ratings are filed in a walnut cabinet in triplicate.

 

The PY committee (made up of principally non-elected Merlin Rocket sailors) meet twice a year with respected members of the establishment and set about manipulating data. Rumours that money and/or other services exchange hands for lower ratings has never been proven, but really, are supposed to believe the statistics alone?!?

 

I wish The Telegraph could run a sting like they did on poor Sam.... expose the whole bloody charade for the gerrymandering circus that it is.

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It's the worst because...

The problem with Portsmouth in 2016 is that the foundation of the yardstick is based ...

 

I should perhaps add that while the above post may well be describe how the US Portsmouth Yardstick system is managed (I wouldn't know) it is utterly unlike the way the UK Portsmouth yardsticks are calculated.

 

Absolutely..... My comments are for the US Dixie Portsmouth formula. (Still running under Fortran code as far as I know)

 

The US could just use the RYA yardstick... Most of the issues concern making sure the class rule for a boat is the same as that raced in the USA. The classes unique to the US would never get the data to adjust their ratings... so PHRFing/interpolating those ratings would have to suffice.

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Our big regatta of the year is coming up in central Texas. When I went to register with a chartered RS Aero, I noticed a couple really good Aero owners used the RYC Portsmouth rating. I followed suit.

 

If US Sailing isn't going to support it, why not just use the more accurate and current RYC numbers?

Its not a matter of US Sailing supporting the portsmouth system. The volunteers can only work with the sailing scene as it is... The pre requisties for updating ratings and including the new designs simply don't exist. The two yardsticks are slightly offset..... you might take the RYA rating for two classes on the race course and interpolate the RS Areo rating. That would be fair to the fleet using the the US ratings.

 

It is a slippery slope.... If you attempt to be of service to the US sailors and interpolate ratings like the RS into the yardstick and pretend that the system is working... the statistics just never catch up ... pretty soon.... its just silly to pretend that you are running a yardstick statistical system. For the multihull world, they are insisting on race data for the new designs and they just don't exist.... ergo SCHRS is the way to go.

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Ok....some folks are frustrated with the ratings. Got it. Well having followed rating systems for a while now we can probably agree that is un-fixable.

 

People only want a system that they feel is fair for them, which typically translates to ------ allows them to win. Since everyone can't win....we are looking at impossible.

 

So let's get back to the things we CAN do something about.

 

Take friends out to the Portsmouth events,

Advertise the events you are running,

If you can, borrow a boat that isn't sailing ( most clubs are full of them) and get new sailors on it.

Make your events fun and interesting, not just W/L over and over again.

.....

Just some ideas we've used with success throughout the years.

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Ok....some folks are frustrated with the ratings. Got it. Well having followed rating systems for a while now we can probably agree that is un-fixable.

Respectfully disagree. We just need a group or person (s) who will administer the system using common sense and the tools available. The US portsmouth system was working here fairly well 25 years ago and was basically run by one person. There are many more tools available today to improve accuracy and provide instant updating. Handicapping in golf is almost instant with many dollars changing hands based on the results with no reported shootings to date. So, it must be somewhat fair.

 

 

People only want a system that they feel is fair for them, which typically translates to ------ allows them to win. Since everyone can't win....we are looking at impossible.

A system that will allow anyone to win an event is fair and would be a great system. Of course everyone can't win the same event but thats not the target here.

 

 

Take friends out to the Portsmouth events,

Advertise the events you are running,

If you can, borrow a boat that isn't sailing ( most clubs are full of them) and get new sailors on it.

Make your events fun and interesting, not just W/L over and over again.

.....

Just some ideas we've used with success throughout the years.

A BIG YES to the above

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Respectfully disagree. We just need a group or person (s) who will administer the system using common sense and the tools available. The US portsmouth system was working here fairly well 25 years ago and was basically run by one person. There are many more tools available today to improve accuracy and provide instant updating. Handicapping in golf is almost instant with many dollars changing hands based on the results with no reported shootings to date. So, it must be somewhat fair.

Fair is not the actual issue. The existing table is more or less FAIR.... It just doesn't have the latest boats. a mythical king of sailing could take the portsmouth table and FIX IT ... just Add the new designs, fix the problems fairly and declare ALL IS Right with the world... but it would not be Portsmouth

 

The issue is one of process.. Are there enough handicap races between the new classes (not just a handful of boats) and yardstick classes with boats that are in racing shape, with racing sails etc and sailed by crews actively racing and winning in one design events. If you don't have this pre requsite.... you have a garbage in... and garbage out. The Brits have a vibrant dinghy scene and can make a Portsmouth yardstick work.

 

Quick reality check. What buoys regattas in your sailing region had a handicap class this year and what classes raced? (The only one I can think of is the HPDO at American Yacht Club (point to point distance races don't help you)

 

IMO, we would be better served by a national ratings board that PHRF the ratings table and mediated disputes over ratings. The goal is to remove pissing contests over ratings so that the game of handicap racing can add to the fun on the water. More competition is better then less and handicap fleets give you more competition then small one design fleets. And yes, the game is different then one design racing... but if you want new converts to your class.... you best be part of the solution that adds new racers on what ever class is available.

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Generally, I don't think mucking around with the existing dpn numbers will make much difference. Definitely need to get the new boats in the US tables with at least a provisional number faster.

 

I wonder if the US system is skewed at all by being benchmarked on Thistle which is a fantastic performer in lighter winds.

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All of this following presumes that we have more then one or two buoys handicap races with classes and boats that pass the standards. The bottom line is that You won't care HOW the handicap table was derived.... so long as the sailor conesnsus and Sailing authority say "it's FAIR and the one we use . Go racing.

 

The benchmark matters to the degree that it remains a competitive national class (race ready boats with good sails) and the racers also compete in handicap races. The system also designates secondary yardsticks to anchor the ratings tables to the thistle and together allow updates and new designs to be integrated into the table quickly. (The idea is to rate the design performance... not the skipper performance)

 

The problem with issuing a provisional number (Which could be spot on relative to the other boats) is the appearance that the PN system WILL WORK and after 25 data points... the rating will be legit and the brackets removed. Again, its a garbage in... garbage out scenario. those 25 data points have to be from races which meet all of the standards. Once the rating brackets are removed... Then you start with the arguments over ratings and blaming the system in the PN system... ratings are not to change but 25% of the difference each year) ... Then the committee has to toss their integrity and fix the rating without using the proper statistical basis just to keep the rating table fair.. ... So... its not portsmouth... its PHRF...

 

A compromise would be to introduce a new class of ratings within the portsmouth table (PHRF ratings) that can be modified by committee yearly and when the data warrant, the traditional rules are then applied to the class and its rating... A system that does not give you an accurate and fair table immediately is almost useless.. Who cares if the regatta you did 4 years ago would get you silverware now that the true rating is known and used.... So... even if we take the accurate rating from the Brits... The system could skew the rating in either direction based on the sailors in the class and competing in the handcap race.

 

of course as with all handicap racing... your best results happen when similar boats are rated and raced against one another. In the catamaran world. sloop versus spin versus foiling designs are almost impossible to rate fairly in a single number table. I suspect the WASP will be as much of a bugger to rate as the Moth. Not to mention the difficulties in rating development classes that constantly improve performance.

 

Another change would be to freeze ratings for any class that does not hold a One Design NA championship in a two year period. This would help ensure that any data would be turned in by race ready boats, with top of the class sailors.

The actual effect would be to stop ratings creep caused by data from tired old boats, old sails and recreational sailors and the substandard performance of these designs also buggering the rating for the hot new offer by RS..

 

So... a fair rating table based on the existing table with new ratings determined by PHRF is the most straight forward solution.

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I have found this formula works quite well for estimating (UK) PYs for hiking singlehanded. Similar formulae can be derived for other types of boat, and other options are available. Still, it's a useful starter for stereotypical designs.

 

PY = 1800 - 144*Length - 37*Sail Area + 1.2*Total Weight

 

Fwiw, I would then rebaseline by dividing all numbers by 18.25 (so Laser is 60) and rounding to the nearest 0.25. The 4 digit number system currently used implies a level of accuracy that simply isn't there.

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At our little lake club, Chipping Norton Lake SC, in western Sydney, we have three sets of results each race day, 1/ Scratch, 2/ Yardstick (Victorian Yachting Council), 3/ TCF handicap. It gives everyone a chance to grab some glory.

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I have found this formula works quite well for estimating (UK) PYs for hiking singlehanded. Similar formulae can be derived for other types of boat, and other options are available. Still, it's a useful starter for stereotypical designs.

 

PY = 1800 - 144*Length - 37*Sail Area + 1.2*Total Weight

 

Fwiw, I would then rebaseline by dividing all numbers by 18.25 (so Laser is 60) and rounding to the nearest 0.25. The 4 digit number system currently used implies a level of accuracy that simply isn't there.

 

 

What units are you using for length, area and weight in that formula?

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Fwiw, I would then rebaseline by dividing all numbers by 18.25 (so Laser is 60) and rounding to the nearest 0.25. The 4 digit number system currently used implies a level of accuracy that simply isn't there.

 

I can't imagine anyone would thank you for rounding to the nearest .25. Whole numbers only is far easier.

 

UK PY effectively baselines against a basket of the most popular classes, and that has been pretty stable since the 60s really.

 

I agree that superficially the 4 digits seems too much, but they were facing their second renumbering within not that many years due to running out of granularity at the fast end, and I can imagine that making damn sure it could never happen again had a certain appeal. I think if I'd been involved I'd have voted for just doubling the numbers though.

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I have found this formula works quite well for estimating (UK) PYs for hiking singlehanded. Similar formulae can be derived for other types of boat, and other options are available. Still, it's a useful starter for stereotypical designs.

 

PY = 1800 - 144*Length - 37*Sail Area + 1.2*Total Weight

 

Fwiw, I would then rebaseline by dividing all numbers by 18.25 (so Laser is 60) and rounding to the nearest 0.25. The 4 digit number system currently used implies a level of accuracy that simply isn't there.

Excellent point about the accuracy implied by the ratings table.

 

One comment on a formula versus a phrf committee as a way to move forward. You note that your formula works well for hiking single handed. That is the point... for similar kinds of designs.... these simple formula are great! however the mandate of the ratings table is to construct a complete ratings table. A master formula would be challenging to come up with. Your solution could be applied for the US ratings table for similar designs and gumball fixes created....but the resulting table will probably be a little disjointed. I think a PHRF committee would take the pragmatic formulas like yours and harmonize them into a workable US table..... Drop the name Portsmouth and rebrand the table and go racing. Once a year, the PHRF committee would look at available data and the RYA solution and make adjustments.

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I have found this formula works quite well for estimating (UK) PYs for hiking singlehanded. Similar formulae can be derived for other types of boat, and other options are available. Still, it's a useful starter for stereotypical designs.

PY = 1800 - 144*Length - 37*Sail Area + 1.2*Total Weight

Fwiw, I would then rebaseline by dividing all numbers by 18.25 (so Laser is 60) and rounding to the nearest 0.25. The 4 digit number system currently used implies a level of accuracy that simply isn't there.

 

 

What units are you using for length, area and weight in that formula?

Metric - metres, metres squared and kg (assume sailors are 95, 80, 65 or 50kg depending on boat size)

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Wow, a great deal of discussion! I can see Portsmouth Yardstick or some variation of handicapping is not in danger of fading away.

I would think new boat designers would keep US Sailing actively involved in a fair handicap.

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Fwiw, I would then rebaseline by dividing all numbers by 18.25 (so Laser is 60) and rounding to the nearest 0.25. The 4 digit number system currently used implies a level of accuracy that simply isn't there.

 

I can't imagine anyone would thank you for rounding to the nearest .25. Whole numbers only is far easier.

 

UK PY effectively baselines against a basket of the most popular classes, and that has been pretty stable since the 60s really.

 

I agree that superficially the 4 digits seems too much, but they were facing their second renumbering within not that many years due to running out of granularity at the fast end, and I can imagine that making damn sure it could never happen again had a certain appeal. I think if I'd been involved I'd have voted for just doubling the numbers though.

I like the idea of a typical number being around 60 because I think that is intuitively easy to understand and calculate in a typical hour long race, and 0.25 bin sizes equates to 15 seconds an hour accuracy (about 20 secs for the very fastest classes). It seems neater to use quarters than to use values around 240, to me at least.

 

PY is effectively the inverse of average speed, and bin sizes of 1 in 1000 suggest that the system is capable of distinguishing between one class with an average speed of 4kts and another with an average speed of 4.004kts, which is clearly not possible.

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UK PY

Is an entirely different system, the common factor being the word "Portsmouth". This thread is about the US system and comparisons with the RYA system are pretty pointless.

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Handicap racing is like going in a lottery, if you sail well enough you get a ticket in the winners draw. There will most likely be other equally well sail boats of completely different performance who you have not seen on the course all day but who also win a ticket, and who wins out of the ticket holders is pretty well up to the luck of how the weather suits the boats on the day, or where they were placed on the course when a change came in.

 

If everyone accepts the random nature all is fine.

 

Yardstick racing adds the data from past performance of the boats but not the crews. Good if there is reliable data and not good if you are not the top crew. A lowly rated crew will never win on yardstick unless the data is deficient.

 

Keeping yardstick ratings up to date requires lots of data from lots of regattas. In AUS only a few classes around Melbourne have reliable data. The Laser data is very poor because the best Laser sailors never sail yardstick regattas. Moth data never keeps up with the rate of improved performance of the class leaders. Hence these classes dominate results ihen top sailors turn up. Lots of other examples but I do not follow it enough to give examples.

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UK PY

Is an entirely different system, the common factor being the word "Portsmouth". This thread is about the US system and comparisons with the RYA system are pretty pointless.

 

 

Think you'll find they have both branched off the same parent. Back in the late 50s there were a lot of US classes in the list. I imagine the split came when the original founder passed it on to the National authorities. So that potentially means lessons from one may be applicable to the other.

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They may have branched off the same parent but both their orientation and the processes by which they are managed are now entirely different. UK = centralised with club adjustments, US = regional boards without (AFAIK) club adjustments. UK = mostly dinghies and class-orientated, does not deal with individual boats, USA = mostly keelboats, boat- instead of class-orientated.

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PY is effectively the inverse of average speed, and bin sizes of 1 in 1000 suggest that the system is capable of distinguishing between one class with an average speed of 4kts and another with an average speed of 4.004kts, which is clearly not possible.

 

With the sheer volume of data there is for the most popular classes in the UK its definitely statistically possible to make very fine distinctions on what the data is telling you. So in that sense its quite a valid representation of what's happening out there in the clubs. The same much less true, of course true for the less widely sailed boats, especially those near to dropping out of the system for lack of data.

 

Yes, I do think the granularity in the system is greater than necessary, and as I said above I probably would have suggested less had I been involved back then. But it should also be remembered that the last digit makes very little difference 99% of the time, especially with the modern trend to shorter races. It would certainly be possible to make a case for rounding the numbers to the nearest 5 or whatever. But then there are other issues too. It disturbs me that a boat correcting out at 600.4 seconds doesn't tie with a boat correcting out at 600.5 seconds, but does tie with one correcting at 599.5 seconds, especially as the elapsed times are lucky to be recorded to the correct second, but the alternatives are mind blowingly complex. As we have the 4 digits they may as well be used: after all they aren't "wrong".

 

But UK Portsmouth yardstick is not IMO a representation of the potential performance of each class. That's something which I believe is quite unattainable at the present state of the art. What it is, to my mind, is a statistical representation of what performance has *actually been delivered* by the active fleets of some thousands of boats at some hundreds of clubs. That is something that is achievable, and that's why Portsmouth yardstick, for all its flaws, has survived 60 odd years in which umpteen measurement based systems have come, failed and gone again.

 

Of course it has its drawbacks, and of course its a blunt instrument. Perhaps the most obvious one that hasn't been mentioned is a tendency to follow the weather, so if you have a light airs year after several windy years then the light airs specialists will be happy. But in many ways I think the every dog has its day nature of the best is a strength rather than a weakness. How often do you see a club fleet collapse because no-one ever beats Fred and Jane?

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They may have branched off the same parent but both their orientation and the processes by which they are managed are now entirely different. UK = centralised with club adjustments, US = regional boards without (AFAIK) club adjustments. UK = mostly dinghies and class-orientated, does not deal with individual boats, USA = mostly keelboats, boat- instead of class-orientated.

 

You're not getting confused between US Portsmouth Yardstick and US PHRF (Performance Handicap Racing Fleet) are you?

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Apparently I am. Thanks for pointing that out.

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Problems with US Portsmouth:

  1. Relatively few SCs participate so there's very little data coming in. My old SC has a Portsmouth fleet, mostly pretty standard boats: Scots, Buccs, F5s, Lightnings etc. About 24 races a year. They also have a spring and fall regatta with a wider range of boats. So 1 club can provide some decent stats. When I was there they didn't provide wind data but there was a move to do so.
  2. US Sailing support is poor I don't know the details but it's pretty antiquated
  3. No support for common sail scoring software which could improve the above as well as providing for the "golf handicaps" everyone wants.

Results:

  1. Takes forever for new boats to get statistically significant ratings
  2. people who run multi-class regattas don't submit results. e.g. Multihull regattas are often multi-class.
  3. Sport boat sailors are still dicking around trying to get PHRF numbers when Portsmouth would be perfect for them

 

To be honest the situation with Portsmouth is indicative of US Failing's state in general. People pay dues, nothing comes back in terms of service, fewer people pay dues, fewer clubs affiliate, vicious circle... The RYA is head and shoulders above US Sailing and their provision of handicaps is an example.

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I wonder why US Sailing seems to favor PHRF over Portsmouth Yardstick? At the very least they could report what data they do get from clubs, and user's could see the trend.

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US Sailing... Nope... It is the US Sailors who choose. .... PHRF is usually time on distance... people can do that math in their head... 4 mile course... OK... I owe joe... 6 sec per mile.. QED.... Oh... I lost by 15 secs.... ie... the BCE stat is 15 secs... ... well... those two blown tacks did cost me.... Is this accurate or good enough? YMMV.

 

Portsmouth is Time on Time.. Race was 40 minutes... DPN rating is 88.2 versus 90.5 Delta is 20 secs... Hmm... WTF...... I will wait till the scorekeeper tells me who won and THEN I can bitch about it... when I am lit up at the bar. (And that is before you calculate the actual real time that you lost by.... aka the BCE stat). Is this accurate or good enough? again... YMMV.

 

No offense intended.. but..

 

There is also a fundamental misunderstanding here. At a club with Scotts, Bucs and Lightnings.... Why do you think this 2016 data even matters?.... Do you think the ratings between these boats SHOULD CHANGE in 2016.... After what... 40 years of racing... is there any doubt about the fair ratings for these three boats? They don't change the rating because the sails are now 10 years old and blown out!

 

Even if a club reported the data.... chances are they screw it up... For instance... the answer to what wind speed was race 3 held in is. NOT ..." Hey... Harry How much wind do you think there was..... OK.... 5 to 10 I will write that down." .... that is a garbage in... garbage out situation.

 

What is needed is the data for the RS X.. relative to the three old war horses... (And even then.... you are comparing a planing design versus three displacement designs) and the wind speed data is critical. (ie... When does the new design plane and thus its rating will change?

 

They use Beaufort numbers to group the ratings for good reason..... Dinghies group the data for B0- 1 then B2 to 4.... then B5 plus (3 wind rating groups) because... back in the day... planing dinghies were rare.and it took lots of breeze.. All sailing was displacement and this was thought to be fair. The single number DPN is a weighted average of measured PN's in each band.

 

Multihulls were able to evolve a bit under Darline.... We group the data as B0-1, then B2 and 3... and then B4, and then B5 Plus. This acknowledged the reality that cats would fly a hull in B4..... eg Hobie 16s and Prindle 18, Hobie 18 era ... etc etc .... and the displacement based rating was not accurate. so it was split out. B2-3 versus B 4 ratings.

 

Now. a days... A cats and F18s fly a hull in B3 and so the ratings table is skewed by evolving technology on the water. (Hell, Now we have foiling cats... reportedly doing 16 to 18 k upwind and 26 k downwind... and a rating system that simply can't keep up)

 

So.... for the PN system to work in 2016... clubs would need to have WL race courses with actively raced designs (new equipment in race ready condition sailed by competitive teams) and the wind speed measured with a calibrated anemometer and reported in average mph for the duration of the race.... (at least 30 minutes) If this describes your club... the PN committee would LOVE to hear from you and collect your race reports.

 

The PN system would then have the fundamental integrity to update the table. The current committee is committed to maintaining the integrity of the table by NOT making up ratings. to satisfy the customer. So, your club should make up the rating that works for your club members, score the regatta and then send in the data.... One day... some day...the nation will have enough valid data to update the table..

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Good Points. but a couple of comments. In your example, I have no problem figuring it out. 90.5 minus 88.2 is 2.3 minutes. If the race was 90 minutes the faster boat has to win by 2.3 minutes to tie. At 40 minutes, approx half, faster boat has to win by half that, approx 1.2 minutes. Since the delta was only 20 seconds, higher handicap boat wins. No problem. Corrected time is approx 1 minute faster than the other boat. Where I race, I have no idea what the distance is. WTF back at you!

I think the handicap index should represent the current fleet, not the fastest boats of the design ever built. It should reward the folks sailing the boat the faster than the current active fleet. That is why it is important to keep the index current. Plus the new boats.

I don't have a good answer for the bad data or lack of data. It seems to me if US Sailing provided some insight on what data they have been getting it would provide some transparency, and possible motivation to keep it active.

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I don't have a good answer for the bad data or lack of data. It seems to me if US Sailing provided some insight on what data they have been getting it would provide some transparency, and possible motivation to keep it active.

 

 

I don't think they're getting any data....I think that's part of the point of this thread..

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I think the handicap index should represent the current fleet, not the fastest boats of the design ever built. It should reward the folks sailing the boat the faster than the current active fleet. That is why it is important to keep the index current.

An observed performance system like Portsmouth Yardstick can only do that.

UK Portsmouth yardstick represents very roughly the top two thirds of the fleets in conditions the boats are reasonably suited to.

 

I'm sure if US sailing wanted to experiment with the web/IT based systems for returns the RYA now use they'd only need to call up their opposite numbers in RYA technical and discuss.

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I don't have a good answer for the bad data or lack of data. It seems to me if US Sailing provided some insight on what data they have been getting it would provide some transparency, and possible motivation to keep it active.

 

 

I don't think they're getting any data....I think that's part of the point of this thread..

 

US Sailing is probably not getting any data because they do nothing with it. They are certainly not promoting or taking the lead in any small boat handicap racing activity. A little pro active promotion would go a long way..... Its time for a change. There are far more and better tools to promote, manage and report on a handicap system in the US than ever before. It would certainly help out in stemming the decline of small boat handicap racing.

But, we need a group to step up and do it. And yes, the RYA would share info. I'd pay a yearly fee to support it.

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Good Points. but a couple of comments. In your example, I have no problem figuring it out. 90.5 minus 88.2 is 2.3 minutes. If the race was 90 minutes the faster boat has to win by 2.3 minutes to tie. At 40 minutes, approx half, faster boat has to win by half that, approx 1.2 minutes. Since the delta was only 20 seconds, higher handicap boat wins. No problem. Corrected time is approx 1 minute faster than the other boat. Where I race, I have no idea what the distance is. WTF back at you!

I think the handicap index should represent the current fleet, not the fastest boats of the design ever built. It should reward the folks sailing the boat the faster than the current active fleet. That is why it is important to keep the index current. Plus the new boats.

I don't have a good answer for the bad data or lack of data. It seems to me if US Sailing provided some insight on what data they have been getting it would provide some transparency, and possible motivation to keep it active.

Yeah those comments were a load of BS. TOT is pretty easy to figure out. Because if I know I give Bob 30sec/hr ... Plus RC doesn't need to know the length of the course. How the fuck do you know that when Bubba's dropping marks? As far as the wind speed, anemometer hooked to laptop with scoring software. If you can't then you're just reporting DPN results. And then all the stuff at the end he's acting as though the Portsmouth committee is dying to hear from anybody... I wonder how long it'll take for Aeros to get a rating? Now their Portsmouth racing page is behind a password wall on their Offshore racing page which shows you their $@*^ing clueless.

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I think the handicap index should represent the current fleet, not the fastest boats of the design ever built. It should reward the folks sailing the boat the faster than the current active fleet. That is why it is important to keep the index current. Plus the new boats.

That may be what you want... but that is not the design of the US Dixie portsmouth system. in any race... only one boat of the class's elapsed time is collected. Ie best in class is compared to the other designs best in class then they are compared to yardsticks and if the rating is within a few percent of the published rating.... recorded in the 100 data points used for a rating calculation bumping out older data. So, Including race results of the current fleet makes sense ONLY if the demographics and participation in the class match the past. Otherwise... All you do is cause the rating to creep upwards....

 

But the interesting question is why would you want such a handicap ratings system to decide a competition?.. The point of the handicap game is to sail your boat to its rating.... I win if I do a better job of this then you do sailing an entirely different design sailing to its rating.. The boat ratings cancel out... and we are racing each other on handicap. What would be the point of showing up with well maintained race boat with new sails in a class who's rating has risen because everyone else on the planet are using 10 year old sails and foils with nicks and scratches. All you would do... is inject the boat back into the actual competition of who won the race between you and i..

 

It sounds like you want to go racing much like you might play golf... Your personal golf handicap is 6 strokes on the course....and my handicap is 8... this is just a different game.

 

FYI, I have run and sailed many a handicap race. I stand for the idea that sailors should choose to participate in larger fleets of handicaped boats rather then small one design fleets.. More boats in the handicap race are likely to result in more competition on the water.then racing a small one design race...I argue competition makes the racing fun. BUT... the hard facts of life are that my view is well in the minority. Consequently, handicap dinghy races around buoys are very rare. US Sailing has nothing to do with this reality. Sailors vote with their feet and entry fees. Clubs accommodate the sailors who show up.

 

If you want to talk your class into racing a similar class on handicap to increase competition... shake up the pecking order..... add some variety to the same old same old schedule... I am in 100% agreement. Personally... I have failed at; getting ANY traction on this idea. Tell us how you do it\!

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but that is not the design of the US Dixie portsmouth system. in any race... only one boat of the class's elapsed time is collected. Ie best in class is compared to the other designs best in class then they are compared to yardsticks and if the rating is within a few percent of the published rating.... recorded in the 100 data points used for a rating calculation bumping out older data.

 

Is that really how they do it? How very odd. Basically its basing the handicaps on a collection of anomalous results, all winners being anomalous.

 

I could bore everyone to tears on this subject and won't, but I have difficulty seeing how such a system would be particularly efficient at delivering useful handicaps for club racing.

 

Basically the race results of any fleet can be shown to be a skewed distribution curve. At the top end you get the odd results where the boat got all the lucky gusts, or made the tidal gate or whatever, and consequently performed way past normal expectation. At the bottom end you get all the folks who spent all day upside down, but eventually struggled across the line. Neither extreme tells you much useful about relative performance of the craft.

 

What the UK system does, basically, is to discard the bottom of the distribution curve, which is a long tail of beginners, people who are just having bad days, and binary performance boats sailing out of their conditions - foiling International Moths that aren't foiling for example. Then it takes an average of the rest, which is a crude way of taking a skew out of the curve, and so delivers a number which is representative of the actual fleets out there in club racing, and, because it is based on a large body of data, is statistically pretty reliable in doing that. The data used is that from the last 3 years.

 

Of course this has faults, like anything else. A dying of class of increasingly decrepit boats tends to have get a slower number in the last couple of years before it drops off the list through lack of data. However it is a reasonable process, and it delivers good numbers for the majority of people out there in the clubs. Best of all, being basically numerically based (albeit with some sanity checking, mostly about when boats get on and drop off the list) it isn't dependant on people in smoke filled rooms deciding what they think handicaps ought to be, and there can surely be little doubt it delivers the healthiest dinghy handicap racing scene in the world.

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Thanks, I have often wondered how the UK implemented Portsmouth. Never took the time to get any details.

 

In large measure, the US PN system is a bit stuck in the past.. the code is written in fortran.. Years ago, an attempt was made to rewrite the software in something modern... but as far as i know Jamie never reached completion with the project (while Darline Hobock was alive). The reality on the water of course is a low level of handicap racing activity and the current committee have promised to stick to fundamentals and NOT accommodate new designs being listed without the requisite race data. From their point of view... they are maintaining the integrity of the USPN system.

 

I actually don't think there is much of a causal relationship between mechanics of the handicap system and participation in dinghy racing in the US. The overwhelming bias is that racing is best in one design classes... and why bother using your precious time for handicap racing..... So, the mindset... is handicap is for fun only... nothing important... and the accuracy of the table is really not the point... its good enough. . So.... you can get a very cynical attitude towards handicap racing. Catamaran sailors, are of course different. as red headed step children of the yachting world... we have depended a lot more on the handicap system because we proliferated lots of designs once the Hobie 16 took off... .... consequently some of us are involved in the nuts and bolts of it. However, Just like in dinghy racing.... In 2016.... the multihull world has retrenched to one design racing of small classes.. Fussing about the handicap system... is not much of an issue. Catamaran racing is moving over to the SCHRS measurement rule so that New designs can be incorporated into the table using a transparent method that has complete integrity. SCHRS solves the problem that you don't want to know that you actually won a race 5 years ago. if and When they used the proper rating for your boat... The measurements are constant... and the formula may change... and thus your rating... BUT... it is state of the art on the day it was published by the committee..

 

You noted that by UK standards... all winners are anomalous.. That is why the US system depends on the integrity of the three preconditions.... one of which is that the class is actively being raced by large numbers. If that "winner" in a class has out sailed their rating. by some percentage... (I think 10 percent)... It is excluded from the data set. likewise... tops in class that sails below 10 percent of the current rating. ANY changes in the calculated ratings based on last years returns are implemented by moving the rating 25% toward the calculated rating from the published ratings. So... It will take years to correct an initially flawed rating.

 

The ultimate goal is to get a statistically determined rating for the max performance potential of a boat design as determined by averaging the top racing sailors performance relative to the yardstick performance of a Thistle. This determines an accurate rating for the boat design. and allows the boat to be removed from the question... who won the handicap race? How would you characterize the UK system?

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The UK number is a good statistical representation of the relative performance of the active fleets out in the clubs.

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To play devil's advocate here; How many people racing in Portsmouth classes actually belong to and support US Sailing? My guess is that it is not very many. While many clubs will have a Portsmouth class at their annual regatta, it is usually just to give the orphan boats some fleet to sail in and they only use the DPN rating.

 

I know of only one club in central Florida that routinely runs races under Portsmouth. However, they keep records of results and administer rating adjustments themselves. They have done this now for at least 10 years and the club always has a good turn out for club racing.

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My club here in Maryland has an active Portsmouth fleet. It races all summer, but falls apart in the fall. When we host regattas people either recruit to bring fleets in for OD racing or sit out.

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Any yardstick system fails to keep up with rapidly developing classes. It happens with new classes whose performance improve rapidly as fleets develop and people learn the best techniques to make the boats go faster. Its also happens in development classes where every new breakthrough jumps performance enough to yield yardsticks generated from formula obsolete very quickly.

 

For 6 years we have had a single handed dinghy yardstick regatta near Sydney and every year the moths have won, despite the organisers every year reducing the moth rating well below the official number. People in other classes were discouraged and stopped coming, so this year in an effort to attract them back, the club dropped the yardstick completely and simply awarded prizes to the class winners.

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The club I was a member of did and I believe still does. Western Carolina Sailing Club

 

To play devil's advocate here; How many people racing in Portsmouth classes actually belong to and support US Sailing? My guess is that it is not very many. While many clubs will have a Portsmouth class at their annual regatta, it is usually just to give the orphan boats some fleet to sail in and they only use the DPN rating.

 

I know of only one club in central Florida that routinely runs races under Portsmouth. However, they keep records of results and administer rating adjustments themselves. They have done this now for at least 10 years and the club always has a good turn out for club racing.

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The club I was a member of did and I believe still does. Western Carolina Sailing Club

 

To play devil's advocate here; How many people racing in Portsmouth classes actually belong to and support US Sailing? My guess is that it is not very many. While many clubs will have a Portsmouth class at their annual regatta, it is usually just to give the orphan boats some fleet to sail in and they only use the DPN rating.

 

I know of only one club in central Florida that routinely runs races under Portsmouth. However, they keep records of results and administer rating adjustments themselves. They have done this now for at least 10 years and the club always has a good turn out for club racing.

 

In our club, The Carolina Sailing Club, the vast majority of our members are US Sailing members and travel to many regattas.

 

Our Winter series, which is Portsmouth, Starts Sunday. We often get upwards of 20 boats competing. As mentioned earlier we started having all boats compete Portsmouth as one design during our Championship Series and it has definitely increased participation.

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Clearly when it comes to club level racing most of us can only speak to our local clubs...but I've traveled to both of these clubs mentioned recently quite a few times for their larger regattas....

 

Western Carolina Sailing Club may still have (I'm relatively confident they do) Portsmouth racing for their club series, but there hasn't been a Portsmouth fleet racing at their Hospice regatta in quite a few years.

 

 

...and Carolina Sailing Club's open fleet participation may be big week to week, but the participation at the Governor's cup regattas has decreased significantly since I started attending....

 

maybe it's my fault... sorry guys.

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Can we save Portsmouth handicap racing?

Hell Yes, and there are several ways to do it, all covered in this thread. Any way its done will improve the sailing scene. Just move it from where its (not) being done now, add present tech, communicate with UK.

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Since the UK ratings appear to be more up-to-date, should US clubs use that system instead of the US Sailing Portsmouth numbers?

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Since the UK ratings appear to be more up-to-date, should US clubs use that system instead of the US Sailing Portsmouth numbers?

 

So many of the US classes aren't sailed in the UK.

As I've said, I'm sure if the US wanted a deal to use the modern on line system the RYA has had developed something could be managed, but there'd be quite a bit of work to adapt it to the differences in the US system.

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So, scrap the difficult part of using the US system. The real difficult part is forming a group to administer a new US leader that would actually lead and promote and getting a divorce from USS. Again, the new group could charge a nominal fee for the service. But, this IS S/A :unsure:

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Nope, the really difficult part is getting the clubs to put in the returns that are essential to making it work.

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Since the UK ratings appear to be more up-to-date, should US clubs use that system instead of the US Sailing Portsmouth numbers?

 

So many of the US classes aren't sailed in the UK.

As I've said, I'm sure if the US wanted a deal to use the modern on line system the RYA has had developed something could be managed, but there'd be quite a bit of work to adapt it to the differences in the US system.

 

Good points; we better harass US Sailing to get with it.

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In our club we use anemometers to measure and record the wind for all races. We use wind dependent numbers and things work out ok. We recently adjusted the numbers we made up for the RS Aero based on results and the particular sailor's past performance in an established class. I have yet to see any handicap system where everyone is happy but it beats the hell out of sailing alone.

 

Jimmy mentioned that the handicap fleet had diminished in the Governor's Cup Regatta which is true but alot of that is because we lowered the number of boats needed to make a one design fleet from 5 to 3.

 

We have lots of data to send to US Sailing but where's the Portsmouth Committee? As far as I've been able to tell there's no one to send it to and no one cares. I'd love to see an active Portsmouth Committee and would participate if we can get some interest.

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Oh, I have tried to be of service to the Portsmouth Committee on a number of occasions in the past. Volunteered to be on the "Committee."

Could never get any answer.

Back in the day when Darlene Hobock ran the show, things got done.

By sending in specific times for a Suicide from the Davis Island YC, Florida Thursday eve racing she changed the Portsmouth in a timely manner from the rating of a Snipe to equal to the Flying Dutchman.

Made the owner of a certain yellow Suicide unhappy. But it was the right thing to do for the sake of everyone else.

Nowadays the WETA took forever to get a rating, the Raider II still has to use the tables to extract a rating after ten years.

USSAILING does a number of things well. I've enjoyed Race Committee credentials benefits for, well, a very long time.

But the Portsmouth Handicap system seems to be stuck in a backwater.

Dave Ellis

Tampa Bay, Florida

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We do plenty of Yardstick racing in AU. They do update specific classes like the Lasers where they have enough decent regattas and numbers to do a bit of math.

 

The major problem I typically see is the results are often based upon weather conditions. Looking at the Lasers vs most other classes the results are all over the place. Not many other classes have the frequency of capsizes as the Lasers above 20kts. They are also an endurance class at that wind speed. In the other boats you hang further out on the wire or you don't have to hike ever. On the other end of the spectrum the Lasers point higher and have very good light air speed. The yardsticks represent all condition with a single number.

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I have a suspicion, though, that the every dog has its day nature of handicap racing is part of the appeal.

 

In a club one design fleet you do see an established pecking order, and to a lsrge extent you can predict the resilts to within a few places before the start. OK Fred gets some new rags and moves up a slot or two, and we see talented youngster Jane move up the ranks as she learns more and more (and see old Jim slip down as the body is no longer up to it), but basically its all predictable within a few places.

 

In spite of the oft stated myth, no boat gets propelled to the front based on handicap. The discrepancies in ability netween front and back of fleet are just too great. But to win you not only have to sail well, but also get the right weather. This means that, although the series prizes go to the same folks, each week different folk go home with the top places. If its not your weather you have a built in excuse and arent too unhappy, and if it is and you take advantage you're happier than mid fleet in an Od fleet. Very Benthamite - greatest good for the greatest number.

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Cannot comment on Portsmouth for racing, as I have not had the pleasure, but I will say this, if it has not been said above...I admit to not reading entire thread...that

 

these ratings are probably the most used reference ever to roughly compare boat speeds, and would be missed. Using as racing differential is another game entirely, IMHO.

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I'm sure this will provoke howls from those used to winning, but why not a handicap system based on individual performance? Similar to golf, or bowling, or indoor archery. If you win, your handicap decreases, if you lose, it increases. At some point, it is possible for everyone to win, and the good guys are continually challenged to get better.

 

I know when I started racing it was very discouraging, but I'm stubborn to a fault. Many others just quit and try something else.

 

Anyone know of a place where they sail this way?

 

US307

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Personal handicaps calculated in all sorts of ways are not uncommon in the UK, sometimes dual scored with the conventional ones. At my club we use a system based on previous season's performance, so its effectively an improvers prize.

There are various systems used in AUS too.

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Personal handicaps calculated in all sorts of ways are not uncommon in the UK, sometimes dual scored with the conventional ones. At my club we use a system based on previous season's performance, so its effectively an improvers prize.

There are various systems used in AUS too.

 

Yes, lots of 'em...which does bring to mind, re ODs dinghies and cats...seems the only gen rating one can be used for comparison, keeping in mind all is relative, just a general thumb sort of thing. I, for one, have grown comfortable with it since it was published...lots of work went into it also...seems to me!

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Yes, the US Portsmouth handicap tables involved a tremendous amount of work using input from many clubs.

However, it seems that the work done years ago mostly by one person, now deceased, has not often been updated.

Many new designs have appeared, others modified significantly.

Yet the numbers remain the same.

At the High Performance Dinghy Open at American YC a few years ago a modern International 14, using the published Portsmouth numbers, won by an embarrassing margin. Heck, my uncle sailed an I-14 in the 1930s. Not the same boat.

What this rather old thread is asking is that the numbers be updated and new boats included.

Does not seem to work to contact US SAILING.

Dave Ellis

Tampa Bay

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Our clubs use the yardstick and a personal handicap. Very common in AU.

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Yes, the US Portsmouth handicap tables involved a tremendous amount of work using input from many clubs.

However, it seems that the work done years ago mostly by one person, now deceased, has not often been updated.

Many new designs have appeared, others modified significantly.

Yet the numbers remain the same.

At the High Performance Dinghy Open at American YC a few years ago a modern International 14, using the published Portsmouth numbers, won by an embarrassing margin. Heck, my uncle sailed an I-14 in the 1930s. Not the same boat.

What this rather old thread is asking is that the numbers be updated and new boats included.

Does not seem to work to contact US SAILING.

Dave Ellis

Tampa Bay

No doubt. The 110 or 14s of old, for example, do not measure up to the rigs of today, even if OD, ergo the ratings need to be up-dated, which takes a passion likely not yet taken on.

 

But, with all due respect, the ratings do offer a measure.

 

Moreover, as we learned with streetcars and rail rights of way in most large cities and areas in the US, abandonment just might be a mistake we cannot rectify. We need to find someone with the passion.

 

Be a very fine doctoral thesis, seems to me!

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Agreed, BobBill.

I seem often to sail boats that have no local fleet.

Suicide, Classic Moth, Contender, Raider, Hobie 20, Taipan 4.9, A-Cat before they became popular, International 10-square Meter Canoe.

Without Portsmouth I'd have to day sail.

Dave Ellis

Florida

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Handicap racing tables are about a PROCESS... the table is just the latest result. The table has credibility and buy in by the sailors when they support the process.

 

So, the first thing is to decide what is the underlying philosophy behind your process.

Jim C writes for the UK.

 

The UK number is a good statistical representation of the relative performance of the active fleets out in the clubs.

 

So then.... you need club racing... and you need active fleets to make this system work.... ASSUMING you can get race data.

 

Jim makes a strong case for why the UK system makes lots of statistical sense and of course... it is supported by the sailors.. So... they have a valid process and strong buy in from the sailors.

 

The problem in the US... for all of the classes not being included or updated.... are not active fleets racing in clubs .... They are one off racers.... Any data they produce is more of a personal handicap for the helm then a class rating for the design. Using the UK system in the US would have a flawed process underyling it and No buy in from the sailors.

 

The US portsmouth system is very different in philosophy. I wrote.

 

The ultimate goal is to get a statistically determined rating for the max performance potential of a boat design as determined by averaging the top racing sailors performance relative to the yardstick performance of a Thistle. This determines an accurate rating for the boat design. and allows the boat to be removed from the question... who won the handicap race?

In the US system... the top finishing boat in class is recorded... and the statistics are based on those results compared to yardsticks.

Its an interesting issue comparing the UK and USA philosophies... but for the future of US handicap racing...

 

The underlying assumptions for this system to work properly are not in place in 2017. They are similar to .. the UK criteria.. of active fleets racing in clubs and again.... for the boats not in the tables.... the US does not have valid data coming from viable fleets racing against yardstick FLEETS and the system as designed can't work properly.

 

What's worse, because of the philosophy/design of the US system.... a single pro sailor could race the boat against yardstick boats and generate the underlying data for the class Or they could sandbag and generate data. The US system could codify an individual handicap rating as a class rating.. So.... what to do.... the under lying process is fatally flawed and If you continue to use it... you will loose the buy in from the larger population of sailors who have used it for years.

 

So.... I understand a club saying... we have all of this data... I understand a racer with an atypical ride wanting a solution. Unfortunately the USA PROCESS is not in place and valid.

 

The USA solution is for the sailing clubs with participation from the one off or new designs is to form a committe, guestimate, WAG, PHRF... go to the sage on high.... whatever, in a transparent system that works for your club members and publish a modified table with this rating used in the table. Demark the new rating somehow and brand it with the club name... (Carolina sailing club WETA rating) When two or three clubs do this... You will have 3 ratings and then a conference call at the beginning of the season and perhaps you find a consensus rating for the new design.. Sailor participation will tell you when you get it about right..

 

So... colored printers/spreadsheets that highlight the PHRF class rating. A handicap committee in clubs with members sailing the one off designs and a conference call/ forum discussion at the beginning of the North American season... and you have a NEW Process that will probably get buy in from sailors. You won't corrupt the 20th century Portsmouth ratings, you will have integrity of the process, transparency and more then likely support from the sailors on the water for the actual racing.

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The problem at the local level is that you often have a rotating RC. When shorthanded and not used to doing it, its not so easy to record finish times as well as finishes, apply the wind adjusted ratings and so on. I can easily see why the data sheets don't get filled out and forwarded.

 

That said, there are some clubs that do a good job of administering both Portsmouth and PHRF at the local level so it can be done. But many more just don't have the interest or people with the talent to administer it.

 

While there are some paid employees at US Sailing, the organization is largely made up of volunteers who run races and perform various functions when they can. WE are all US Sailing.

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Imagine sailboat with no measure...accurate or not...Portsmouth is likely the most needed and applied comparison...IMHO.

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14 boats out Sunday. 505's, Flying Scotts, RS Aero,Jet14, Lasers and Wayfarers.

 

We have rotating RC and everyone records times and wind readings then sends them to our scorer. Nothing's perfect but we get boats on the water, everyone competes intensely and it works.

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They may have branched off the same parent but both their orientation and the processes by which they are managed are now entirely different. UK = centralised with club adjustments, US = regional boards without (AFAIK) club adjustments. UK = mostly dinghies and class-orientated, does not deal with individual boats, USA = mostly keelboats, boat- instead of class-orientated.

U.S. PY handicap is centrally administered by US Sailing, is mostly used for dinghy racing and issues a handicap for classes not boats.

 

PY. is time on time handicap.

Not to be confused with PHRF which is a time on distance handicap. PHRF in the US is everything you describe

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I agree with all those who suggest that USS should sit down with RYA and offer to adopt thevRYA model. Pool resources and have one PY yardstick database. Putting aside the egos of the governing bodies, from a sailors perspective the data gathered from a laser sailing in Bosham is as valid as data from a Laser sailing on Barnegat Bay. More sailors = more data = better model.

The small but growing pool of Aero sailors in the US benefit from the larger data pool in the UK. The early adopters of Vipers in the UK benefit from the large data pool in the US. The lonely cognoscenti sailing his Merlin Rocket on Lake Woebegone has a meaningful handicap number so does the fruitcake with an E Scow on Loch Lomond.

PY yardsticks allow eccentricity to blossom and how can that be anything other than good?

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