Our club does a couple of 'marathon' races each season, which are really just longer than usual races in harbour (3 to 5 hours as opposed to the usual 2 to 3 hours). But the problem is that we have a vary diverse fleet, it has ranged from a Santana 22 to a TP 52, so even split into divisions we are looking at some big performance differences. If we do a scratch start, the big boats finish early and get bored waiting for the little guys to get around. If we do a pursuit race, the wind is often light in the morning so the little guys drift for an hour and then we have a scratch restart anyway when the sea breeze arrives!
So one idea that has come up is that instead of a race over a fixed length race course, we should have a race fixed time (say 4hrs) and all boats have to keep racing for the full duration and the fast boats may have to do laps of the course. Handicaps will be applied to the distance sailed and the boat that travels the furthest adjusted distance will win!
I'm sure there must already be some races like this somewhere? Anybody have any experience sailing in anything like this? Can anybody point me to any sailing instructions of events like this?
If this type of racing is of interest, it shouldn't be too difficult to come up with an android app that looks at the position of each boat, calculates the distance made good on the current leg and displays the boats position live, so boats will know their place and what they have to do improve etc.