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US Portsmouth Yardstick Change?


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According to Scuttlebutt today US Sailing has made an agreement with the RYA to use the RYAs on line platform for Portsmouth Yardstick returns and calculation. Details are scanty at the moment, but it should be interesting. According to https://www.ussailing.org/news/weeklyupdate-june1-2020/ US Sailing are looking for volunteers to assist with this. 

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Interesting, I wonder If it retain will retain the USA PY of one digit less. (as the UK used to)

The Laser coming out at USA D-PN 91.1 and the RYA PN at  1087.

There would still be differences in the handicap, even on the same system, as many of the UK waters sailed by dinghies are much smaller than those in the USA, particularly affecting planing boats as they run out of water much quicker...

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3 hours ago, The Q said:

Interesting, I wonder If it retain will retain the USA PY of one digit less. (as the UK used to)

The Laser coming out at USA D-PN 91.1 and the RYA PN at  1087.

There would still be differences in the handicap, even on the same system, as many of the UK waters sailed by dinghies are much smaller than those in the USA, particularly affecting planing boats as they run out of water much quicker...

Good point. What is the smallest water used for dinghy racing in the USA and UK respectively?

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Well, I've used RAF Sealand sailing site which is Shotwick lake sailing  about 600 yards by 300 Yards.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Chester/@53.244182,-3.0373288,774m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x487ac1d9629cf569:0x49626cb38dd8f89f!8m2!3d53.193392!4d-2.893075

But I'm now a member of a River sailing club and in one of our annual races we race on part of the river Ant, which is about 40 to 50ft wide, and we have around 100 boats up to 40ft in the race!! (down to dinghies from 14ft).

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Ludham,+Great+Yarmouth/@52.6930702,1.5140314,98m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x47d75599c49fa6a9:0x38c8e13c9b2a76c8!8m2!3d52.709747!4d1.537344

note there are parallel drainage ditches either side.

We also race on Little hoveton broad with again up to 100 boats from oppies  to 40ft  https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Ludham,+Great+Yarmouth/@52.7051753,1.4423254,784m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x47d75599c49fa6a9:0x38c8e13c9b2a76c8!8m2!3d52.709747!4d1.537344

Our club house is under the writing saying Cottage..

 

 

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34 minutes ago, The Q said:

Well, I've used RAF Sealand sailing site which is Shotwick lake sailing  about 600 yards by 300 Yards.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Chester/@53.244182,-3.0373288,774m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x487ac1d9629cf569:0x49626cb38dd8f89f!8m2!3d53.193392!4d-2.893075

But I'm now a member of a River sailing club and in one of our annual races we race on part of the river Ant, which is about 40 to 50ft wide, and we have around 100 boats up to 40ft in the race!! (down to dinghies from 14ft).

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Ludham,+Great+Yarmouth/@52.6930702,1.5140314,98m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x47d75599c49fa6a9:0x38c8e13c9b2a76c8!8m2!3d52.709747!4d1.537344

note there are parallel drainage ditches either side.

We also race on Little hoveton broad with again up to 100 boats from oppies  to 40ft  https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Ludham,+Great+Yarmouth/@52.7051753,1.4423254,784m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x47d75599c49fa6a9:0x38c8e13c9b2a76c8!8m2!3d52.709747!4d1.537344

Our club house is under the writing saying Cottage..

 

 

Well, I thought I had sailed on some small waters in the US but I just looked up their actual sizes and they are like oceans compared to those places in the UK.

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13 minutes ago, tillerman said:

Well, I thought I had sailed on some small waters in the US but I just looked up their actual sizes and they are like oceans compared to those places in the UK.

You get extremely good at tacking, close quarter sailing (about 6 inches) and shouting "room to tack"   

 Excluding the Sea, the biggest water I've sailed on was Keilder water with just over 4 square miles, but thats unusually big..

a picture from our normal river racing.. not every one out..images90A8L9FU.jpg.a6d288aa3cee5c7b11a7dba4bbe888e4.jpg

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18 minutes ago, onepointfivethumbs said:

I've seen Opti's in hot tubs if that counts

Since the Opti can't get steerage way in a space that small, they turn the tub in order to tack. 

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On 7/1/2020 at 2:18 AM, JimC said:

According to Scuttlebutt today US Sailing has made an agreement with the RYA to use the RYAs on line platform for Portsmouth Yardstick returns and calculation. Details are scanty at the moment, but it should be interesting. According to https://www.ussailing.org/news/weeklyupdate-june1-2020/ US Sailing are looking for volunteers to assist with this. 

Well this is a start.

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2 hours ago, John D said:
On 7/1/2020 at 2:18 AM, JimC said:

According to Scuttlebutt today US Sailing has made an agreement with the RYA to use the RYAs on line platform for Portsmouth Yardstick returns and calculation. Details are scanty at the moment, but it should be interesting. According to https://www.ussailing.org/news/weeklyupdate-june1-2020/ US Sailing are looking for volunteers to assist with this. 

Well this is a start.

I hope people step up. The abandonment of mixed or small-batch fleet has really hurt sailing in the US.

FB- Doug

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1 hour ago, Steam Flyer said:

I hope people step up. The abandonment of mixed or small-batch fleet has really hurt sailing in the US.

FB- Doug

Same holds true up here imho. I think it has been a huge impediment to grass roots racing. Some people simply don’t like the prevalent fleet boats. You should be able to buy a boat you actually like and still be able to enjoy racing. 

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On 7/3/2020 at 8:55 AM, Steam Flyer said:

I hope people step up. The abandonment of mixed or small-batch fleet has really hurt sailing in the US.

FB- Doug

Very true.  For years I tried to convince our club to race Portsmouth as well as one design. 4 years ago they agreed for a year as an experiment and it's still going strong.  many more boats on the water.  The biggest problem is coming up with a rating for newer boats or odd ones that don't have a rating.  We've also sent all the results to US Sailing where they disappear forever.  Hopefully this will change.

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On 7/3/2020 at 3:20 PM, Bill5 said:

Same holds true up here imho. I think it has been a huge impediment to grass roots racing. Some people simply don’t like the prevalent fleet boats. You should be able to buy a boat you actually like and still be able to enjoy racing. 

I'm not sure, there are very few fleets at club level. If one gets going aRSe come along and develop and market something aggressively against it.

I'm partly in the camp of to join the club you need the right boat. Not many clubs like that any more, can't think of any actually.

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Some people move to an area and already have a boat that doesn't have a fleet.  Others like me, travel to many 505 Regatta's each year and really have no interest in any of the one design classes our club has except maybe a Flying Scots because I could put a keg on it.:D

I've also seen so many classes come and go in our club it would mean changing boats every few years.  You might think the largest fleets would be stable but that's not the case.  In the past our largest fleets of Lightnings, Tanzer 16's and Buccaneers are all gone.

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Well, are any of you folk going to step up? If not you then who?

If they organise it like the RYA do the job is not too arduous: there's a face to face all day meeting once a year and everything else is by email and not very much of that. 

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Yes, several of us have 'stepped up' as volunteers for this switch. There is a Breakout Group of smart folks to figure out a conversion method, with the disparate systems. (I am not one of them!)

I've complained vocally about the stagnant US Portsmouth System since Darlene Hobock died. She is missed. Maybe now progress will be made.

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22 minutes ago, sailwriter said:

Yes, several of us have 'stepped up' as volunteers for this switch. There is a Breakout Group of smart folks to figure out a conversion method, with the disparate systems. (I am not one of them!)

I've complained vocally about the stagnant US Portsmouth System since Darlene Hobock died. She is missed. Maybe now progress will be made.

Thanks for picking up the reins.

Do we necessarily need a conversion? If the RYA is okay with it I don't see why we would need to develop a separate system when RYA PN seems to be pretty effective.

@JimC any other insights as to how to run it well?

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You have got some strategic decisions to make. Most especially whether to continue to attempt wind indexed handicaps. The problem with which is lack of data for smaller classes. Neither calculating a conversion factor or a transition should be too arduous. I would be inclined to do that on a spreadsheet rather than get the system to do it because you'll only want two years of transition.

All the big challenges, I think, will be around getting the clubs signed up and putting data in the system, plus of course acceptance. Its a funny thing that people bitch endlessly about their current handicap system, but if you bring in a new one that gives different numbers they assume the new one is in error...

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UK has boats not in US and visa versa. US has a number, for example for a Windmill 89.5 dpn (average) but slower at 92.9 in light air. Numbers are compared to the Thistle, which is 83 for all winds. So a conversion would be good.

UK system does not have wind factors, as mentioned. But in the US there is a vast difference in wind between, say, San Francisco and St. Petersburg.

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Not having wind factors certainly favors some boats  over others. Won lots of trophies in a Contender where they didn't use wind factors. Didn't see Contenders or IC's on US sailings websight. Or Evo's or Musto's or Swift solo's, etc. Sailwriter ,have raced handicap for over 40 years. Let me know if I can help in any way. DG

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We race the equivalent of Portsmouth all the time in Australia at many clubs (through VYC Ratings).

We don't have wind factors and happily accept that many of the ratings are tentative because of inadequate statistics.

On a river, our fleet is divided into Gennaker/skiff type boats, Monohulls, Cats and trailerable yachts (with about 10 boats per division in a small country town). Gennaker boats and monohulls are separated only because they prefer different course layouts.

It all works with minimal complaints and fleets that are almost too big for the river we have.

Yes, if you want to win, you make sure you have a class that has a favourable rating; but really, as we say in Australia, we're not sailing for sheep stations. Most people sail what they like sailing. And some classes have even asked for their ratings to be made less favourable because it might have been seen as reflecting badly on the speed of the class.

The only serious problems I've seen are where you get foiling boats and try and put them in with non foilers. They are just too different and the outcome way too predicated on conditions for the racing to be as fun. They too need a separate class. 

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Its good to consider all input. But at the end of the day we have to have something to stop the bleeding. Keep in mind that local areas can have or modify the ratings if required.

My $.02 is to make the results input as simple as possible ( ie:smart phone) and rating updates thoughtful and quick. (not being mutually exclusive)

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Arnold, " and rating updates thoughtful and quick. "   ummm   do you really want to download this weeks ratings table for the race?  (multihulls have been there and done that with NAMSA)  a yearly table update is just fine.   A new table ready to use Jan 2021 would make sense.

A conversion table is quick and dirty but I suspect it will cause problems down the road.  You could be faced with adjusting an obviously flawed rating that is simply an outlier.   I think the smarter move is to send the existing data set of years and years of records and have the RYA run the ratings for classes that need to be added to the rya table..   The principle of the Dixie Portsmouth table is to set a yardstick (Thistle)  and then muiltiple secondary yardsticks (EG. Hobie 16 and others).   The data for the JUST the First place Thistle is recorded against the first place 505 in the race.  (assumed to be more or less an Olympic course ie w reachiing leg).   This method is designed to collect data from the best prepared boat, best crew, best sailed race etc and the number represents the Peak performance of the class against all other classes in the yardstick.   The RYA approach uses the data to handicap the FLEET of sailors racing the class.   they toss the data from the first and last boats int the race and their method calculates the Fleet of thistle sailors performance rating against the fleet of 505 racers.   In both instances, the ratings table is used to measure how well a specific crew did racing their boat against its rating to another specific crew racing their different class boat to its rating.  The winner is the crew that sailed their boat closest to its rating in today's conditions..    Somebody is going to have to look at the math underlying both calculations and make a strong recommendation as to conversions.

US sailors are going to have to play close attention to the definition of the word FLEET.    a single instance of a Chesapeake 20 i(Unique to waters of the Chesapeake Bay NA  in a point to point distance race might not generate a standard rating. using the RYA engine.   (Note that in this example a Chesapeake Dinghy that does exist in the US ratings table is not the same as a Chesapeake 20 which does not exist but actually races to this day)  My Point is that the RYA drops class from the current updating ratings table when the Fleet standard is not met.   It seems that USA sailors want the authority of a ratings number published in the PN table for their one off boat design and stamped by US Sailing.

If your only goal is to add additional classes to the US ratings table ... simple interpolations of the rya ratings will give you a number.  However, this won't mean the US Portsmouth table is operating properly or using the RYA engine.   I would think the first move would be to decide which US Classes meet the rya standard and the data used to generate a rating.  ( I suspect this is a small number of unique US classes)  The next move would be to figure out what to do with the dead boats and one offs that don't make fleet status.  They also need a rating and a quick and dirty conversion will be the only option. The last decision will be... what do you do about the demand for an appeal on the rating for one of these dead boats with a vocal fan base who feels screwed... Or the active fleets having to manage an outlier class with a favorable interpolated rating.... (noting that it may never have been accurate in the first place)

Obviously any club or RSA in the USA could have conducted their handicap racing using the RYA table now.   Hopefully the impramatuer of US Sailing Authority will ease the acceptance of sailors/RSAs and clubs.     If history is any guide... the US Sailing authority has been essential in getting an entire community of RSAs, clubs and sailors moving from one system to the next  (See catamaran sailors leaving NAMSA run by Herb Malm  for US Sailing PN run by  Darline Hobock).  The Authority of US Sailoing was the critical factor in driving change.

So great move to use the RYA system..... just don't bend the rules to accommodate US Sailors with dead boats and One off designs who want the validation of a ratings number in the PN table.

Edited by Tcatman
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Most clubs who run RYA PY,  still have a club handicapper / handicap committee. 

And although my summer club races to Norfolk handicap,  for the most part they are convertible from RYA PY, we have for instance slightly different handicaps for river or Broad sailing for some classes,  though wind is not taken into account. It's assumed your average handicap will average out with average winds over a season.  Annual one off races..  Well you take your chance and over the years you should still all get a chance.. 

In my case I have already spoken to the current class handicapper about my one off boat I'm rebuilding.

He wants to see me sail against  some well known boats, in the class I'll be sailing in ( handicap boats above 12ft to up to 17.5ft),  and assess the speed. He has enough experience to see I'm sailing properly.  He also knows from my previous class sailing, I was normally in the top 4 boats.

The handicap is of course not permanent, If I start winning too much,  the handicap will soon change. 

This is the link to our local inter-club handbook,  http://www.thegreenbook.org.uk/, click on that,  then " the Green book" on the left hand side, then scan down to alcomers handicaps, click on that,  to see what we use. 

It only covers the main classes and also not shown on that are one or two classes that have negative handicaps time added to their finishing time not taken off.. 

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Here's what we use in Australia, including a description of methodology.

https://www.sailingresources.org.au/class-assoc/yardsticks-chb-handicap/

Note the yardsticks are listed as reliable, probable and tentative.

Frankly, it all works pretty well at any club I've sailed at. Not prefect, but good enough. And if you must win silver trophies, you can always pick a class that's maybe a bit favourably rated. But in my experience, people mainly sail the boats they like to sail.

 

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3 hours ago, Tcatman said:

  The RYA... they toss the data from the first and last boats int the race... 

They don't actually. It uses what gets called the exclusions algorithm. It's a rather empirical calculation, but surprisingly effective. The average corrected time of the top two thirds of the fleet is calculated, and then any boat that exceeds that average corrected time by more than 5% is discarded from the calculations. That tends to work out at about the top two thirds of the fleet, but if the whole fleet finishes in a tight bunch then all may be included, and if there are a lot of stragglers more may be discarded. It also tends to have the effect of discarding results for binary performance boats outside their preferred conditions too - foils in sub foiling conditions being an obvious example. I always used to think it a bit arbitrary, and discarding a lump of data isn't ideal, but the more I look at it in practice the more I think pragmatically its a good choice. 

I doubt you are going to get a new table Jan 2021. There's a lot to do. What it will take to use the RYA system is to get a very large number of clubs on board and get them to upload their last few years of electronic race results. Popular race scoring systems in the UK work with the RYA to submit results in the correct format. The same will need to happen in the US, and the clubs get on board. The good news though is that if enough clubs sign up and submit three years of back data (and this year is going to complicate things woefully) then you'll get as good numbers as you are going to get. 

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That's where the integration with scoring apps comes in. If sending in results consists of  hitting "menu/send results to PYonline" in your existing scoring application rather than transferring everything to paper or producing a custom spreadsheet then hopefully its more likely to happen.

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On 7/11/2020 at 10:52 PM, Tcatman said:

The RYA... they toss the data from the first and last boats int the race... 

JimC wrote

"They don't actually. It uses what gets called the exclusions algorithm"

Yes and to be accurate, USPN also uses an exclusion algorithm in that if the computed dpn differs from the actual dpn by more then some %, the data is excluded from the 100 current data points used for calculating the rating.  

My two points are that the machinery used to measure a class performance differ in important ways and yield tables that  demonstrate the two philosophies.   Chocolate or Vanilla.... choose

RE " integration with scoring apps comes in. "    This is a tougher issue then it sounds.   The scorekeeper slave union is an idiosyncratic lot and find No reason to change the way they have been scoring the club series  for the past 20 years....   The club invitational may use one of the on line registration services which may or may not calculate the results. Some may use sailwave  but just because you have an elegant informatics solution does not mean that we can link the  hit the button to send the results off.     

So, i am making an absurd cynical rant.   However, I am not sure the US sailors want a functional pn system.... rather they want an authoritative table with numbers.    As half assed as it may be.... I suspect that the winning move is simply to take the raw RYA data from the active fleets of modern boats needed by the US table and run it through the US fortran program and generate a USPN rating for all of the brit boats.  The advantage would be that the RYA doesn't have to do much and the US committee can maintain the integrity of their system by punching the brit data in.    The US committee won't  have to resort to a PHRF solution or trying to pretend a linear conversion factor will work.     In the real word, If a club doesn't like the new table they will just adjust for the density of water. (grin)   Certainly, the USPN should have a data portal however, if the committee is rigorous  in implementing the PN machinery the quality of the data they receive won't move the numbers or require yearly updating of the table.

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On 7/12/2020 at 10:50 AM, sailwriter said:

Ah, but that's been the holdup for decades: few US clubs send in results. Data just doesn't become available.

Our local club has sent in data and heard nothing back.  We signed our our club with the USS Portsmouth announcement and received a form reply.  Hoping we hear something eventually.

I strongly disagree with a single rating number, the wind ratings of D-PN help level boats in different conditions.  If USS uses a single number it will become PHRF, a thought that will drive me out of dingy racing so long as I live in a non OD sailing area.  I gave up PHRF keelboat racing shortly after moving to my current location, grew tired of listening to the complaints at the bar and knowing that boats were not always properly prepared and very few boats ever practiced.  If you are going to go out without boat/people preparation, pop open a beer and enjoy the ride and ignore your finishes and remember to stay at the dock when it blows so you don't kill anyone.

Hmmm, if they use a single number the concept of a soft rating "cheater" boat will become reality.  Maybe just run some very complex spreadsheets until a pickle dish boat becomes apparent and drink beer while doing it.

Hey Tcatman, Love every bit of your post, it's only cynical if it's wrong.

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Single number ratings systems......    Now this is an issue that I have been on all sides of over the years..  OK...  I will take the opposite point of view from you.

So... just to start the debate off...... Why pray tell do we have 3 wind ratings for dinghies and 4 wind ratings for multihulls and the REST OF THE ENTIRE WORLD only use a single rating.... INCLUDING SCHRS and TEXEL for cats?  (Texel tried two numbers but nobody adopted the "improvement")

Here's another one,   As the wind speed builds,  the boat handling issues/sailing skill increases.  What makes you think that the data accurately pulls this element out of the rating?   For example,   A fast performance boat might have to to three laps around the course rather then the standard two and so all of the boat handling in breeze issues get magnified and don't reflect the actual performance of the design.

Why in the age of computers do almost all handicap rating systems use a single rating.  Why are the super designers of the world not supporting a sophisticated handicap wind dependent system?   What factor are they missing that requires a more complex ratings table that us small boat sailors feel so strongly about?

 

PS... back in the day Darline never replied to data set dumps.... she was simply too busy.   

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5 minutes ago, Tcatman said:

Single number ratings systems......    Now this is an issue that I have been on all sides of over the years..  OK...  I will take the opposite point of view from you.

So... just to start the debate off...... Why pray tell do we have 3 wind ratings for dinghies and 4 wind ratings for multihulls and the REST OF THE ENTIRE WORLD only use a single rating.... INCLUDING SCHRS and TEXEL for cats?  (Texel tried two numbers but nobody adopted the "improvement")

Here's another one,   As the wind speed builds,  the boat handling issues/sailing skill increases.  What makes you think that the data accurately pulls this element out of the rating?   For example,   A fast performance boat might have to to three laps around the course rather then the standard two and so all of the boat handling in breeze issues get magnified and don't reflect the actual performance of the design.

Why in the age of computers do almost all handicap rating systems use a single rating.  Why are the super designers of the world not supporting a sophisticated handicap wind dependent system?   What factor are they missing that requires a more complex ratings table that us small boat sailors feel so strongly about?

 

PS... back in the day Darline never replied to data set dumps.... she was simply too busy.   

Why different wind ratings?  Someone that did the math for 3 ratings became tired of the math before the person that made the 4 ratings system.  That's my best guess.

I do not think that ratings take into account skill.  If a class becomes popular and more sailors develop better technique for that boat and share information, the rating will slowly reflect that.  A one off that is only purchased by 3 people that have no idea what they are doing will get a rating based upon how different it is from similar designs and the rating will stagnate.

The last one I think will come along eventually but sailing is always run by retired sailors and what worked for them is what they will use.  Change often only comes as the old guard dies off so all progress in sailboat racing scoring systems will probably lag behind technology by 30-50 years.  There are only a few mobile device scoring apps and they seem to be either poorly made PHRF or moderately well programed PY programs while mobile devices are well into their second decade of widespread use.

This is all wild speculation.

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Oh come on....  you can do better..     try expanding on this point of view

you wrote

Quote

If USS uses a single number it will become PHRF, a thought that will drive me out of dingy racing so long as I live in a non OD sailing area.  I gave up PHRF keelboat racing shortly after moving to my current location, grew tired of listening to the complaints at the bar and knowing that boats were not always properly prepared and very few boats ever practiced. 

Why is a single number system equivalent to PHRF?

PS. The idea was to manage the non linearity of the performance with more then one rating number... the break in dinghies was to approximate planing versus non planing conditions.  Since all dinghy's did not plane... this was a big deal.    The cats added a rating for B4  because the classic cats would fly a hull in those conditions and go non linear.   It is an unworkable solution.  for instance, in 2020 an A cat can fly a hull in a lot less  then B4 and there is a huge skill factor involved in popping the hull and keeping the apparent wind up.in low B3  .....   So... the rating approach becomes unfair when the goal is to handicap the boat.. not the helm.    The single number guys have data that show the small percentage differences in two boat design performance with windspeed is completely lost in the noise of running a standard sailboat race in actual conditions (wave, current chop etc etc).   Hell... sailing a perfect beat  to your number of your class but coming into weather mark lay line on port with 10 boats of other classes  stacked on starboard and in your way is  going to crush your rating.   Bottom line... the precision needed for a handicap race does not warrant all of the issues in building and running a wind speed dependent statistical rating table.  The single number system seems to be good enough for the vast majority of handicap racers in the world

 

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1 hour ago, Tcatman said:

Oh come on....  you can do better..     try expanding on this point of view

you wrote

Why is a single number system equivalent to PHRF?

I'm going to ignore the A-Cat illustration because it falls into the extremes also known as the straw man fallacy which I know you do not typically use but this does fall into that category and the extremes of any input value range often fail to work under the system and require intervention or exceptions.  Other boats that fall into this category: Flying Moth, 49er, 49erFX, RS600, RS700, Musto Skiff, and if I were to put a trap on something like a VX/Evo or Seascape14, or take any boat that can foil such as an RS Aero or Melges14 with a foiling kit, off the numbers go into the corner and they break the system.  Multiple wind ranges can handle that.

If the single number system worked well why is it well documented as "the worst rating system there is, except for all of the others"?  I sincerely believe people prefer PHRF for one single reason.  It is easy.  Creating a spreadsheet or program for PHRF requires the most rudimentary of spreadsheet or programming skills to handle both ToD and ToT.  Basing a rating upon its VPP or analytical observation over time (inputted results) is mathematically complex and beyond the reach of many sailors and/or it is onerous over time and few sailors are able/willing to stay on task long enough to see it to fruition.

Why will this system be little better than PHRF?

  1. Clubs will fail to send in results, because:
    1. They do not understand the system.
    2. They do not care about the system.
    3. They are too busy to assist the system.
    4. They view the system with contempt or mistrust or refuse to change.
  2. USS will not find and assign the necessary resources to keep the system up to date.
  3. Individual clubs will eventually abandon the D-PN for the new single rating but not trust it and assign their own "local" number.
  4. Individual clubs will not trust ratings of boats that are not local and the tradition of denying entry to newer designed boats will continue.
  5. Individual clubs will decide this new Portsmouth is worse than the old Portsmouth and less accurate and thus not worth the time and will just switch to PHRF because...   ...it is easy.

 

If USSailing were to put together an input portal that was not too complicated and had a standard format for mass importation of races, and provided a web interface system for scoring and ported that to mobile devices, we'd have something.  But that is what will be necessary for this new system to gain traction and not just die, but take D-PN out with it.

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In the UK its deliberate policy to work with the writers of scoring systems so that their systems interface with PY online. The view is that to compete with them would be highly counter productive. The various scoring system authors build an extra menu option into their software which permits upload of a series. 

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What needs to be done is a proposal to make a lot of money via a new cloud based rating and scoring system needs to be proposed using some bits of open source scoring code as the alpha demo that pulls down the necessary VC money to make it work.  Then when it implodes and the VC cannot sell it because everyone is too stuck to their p.o.s. spreadsheets, pull the source back since it is based upon an open source license.  Take from the rich, give to the, ahem, upper middle class to lower upper class.

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It’s not rocket science. The RYA system has its faults, but it’s big advantage is its simplicity.  

Now that it’s online it’s as easy to roll out to the US and Australia as it is to any club in Britain, and the increased sample sizes from a global system would be beneficial.  All you need to do is press Submit after scoring the race - about half a seconds extra effort.  

It will never give perfectly fair results but you can tie yourself in knots trying to chase “better” accuracy.  

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3 hours ago, Foredeck Shuffle said:

I'm going to ignore the A-Cat illustration because it falls into the extremes also known as the straw man fallacy which I know you do not typically use but this does fall into that category and the extremes of any input value range often fail to work under the system and require intervention or exceptions.  Other boats that fall into this category: Flying Moth, 49er, 49erFX, RS600, RS700, Musto Skiff, and if I were to put a trap on something like a VX/Evo or Seascape14, or take any boat that can foil such as an RS Aero or Melges14 with a foiling kit, off the numbers go into the corner and they break the system.  Multiple wind ranges can handle that.

If the single number system worked well why is it well documented as "the worst rating system there is, except for all of the others"?  I sincerely believe people prefer PHRF for one single reason.  It is easy.  Creating a spreadsheet or program for PHRF requires the most rudimentary of spreadsheet or programming skills to handle both ToD and ToT.  Basing a rating upon its VPP or analytical observation over time (inputted results) is mathematically complex and beyond the reach of many sailors and/or it is onerous over time and few sailors are able/willing to stay on task long enough to see it to fruition.

Why will this system be little better than PHRF?

A lot of these issues go more to getting the separate divisions in the club right, rather than the wind range.

"All in" races are very difficult to fairly handicap in almost any wind range [mind you, we have an annual marathon 'all in' race and last year the first three standard yardstick places in a large combined fleet were a cat, skiff and trailer yacht with mere seconds between their adjusted times: pretty good really]

I don't think a foiler can ever be yardsticked against a non foiler over a season in a way that keeps everyone happy. Probably not cat and monos either. And as a skiff sailor I hate sharing a start line with a slow, wind blanketing trailerable yacht.

I'd rather have a small division of three roughly comparable boats than be forced to race in a large all in fleet every week. Not because I regard winning as all that important, but because I feel its more of a real race. And to the extent that some boats do better in lighter or fresher winds, we find that equals out over a season. Mind you, once my experience shows that three quickly grows to 10 if people see good racing within the division.

So, in my experience (with two clubs over 30 years) a single yardstick table, set by the national body, with multiple club divisions covering cat's, monos and trailable yachts (and skiffs if you want) makes for fun, relatively argument free, racing.

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Excellent big picture perspective on using a single number system.

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A lot of these issues go more to getting the separate divisions in the club right, rather than the wind range.

This point merits emphasis.   Don't race cats versus dogs....   In multihull snob world this means... don't put boarded cats (F18s) in the same fleet as non boards (Hobie 16s) because they go non linear and handle big wind very very differently .   So  don't run 30 boats in one start....

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So, in my experience (with two clubs over 30 years) a single yardstick table, set by the national body, with multiple club divisions covering cat's, monos and trailable yachts (and skiffs if you want) makes for fun, relatively argument free, racing.

Single number table:      Simple.... does not require wind speed MEASUREMENT  at the top mark and the committee boat.

Set by the National body:  ..... Authority matters....     In multihull world... Herb Malm's proprietary NAMSA system was useful but jettisoned for US Sailings good house keeping seal of approval.

Multiple club divisions:      ..... cats race cats,   like races like    This rule of thumb ALSO  takes the course configuration out of the equation.    A ratings table based on equal mounts of beating reaching and running (USPN) will be misused in handicapping a WL course x2 laps between spin boats and non spin boats

Club vs Regional racing.  I think this is important to distinguish.   The expectations of a sailor who travels to a regional weekend event will be quite a bit different then the sailor's expectation at his local weekly club race.  IMO, a precondition for everyone having a " fun, relatively argument free, racing" day is to make sure everyone is on the same page.    (I have seen some really PO'd handicap racers who never returned because they got into a shouting match on the water about getting out of somebody's way so that xxx could race one design.) 

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16 minutes ago, Tcatman said:

Club vs Regional racing.  I think this is important to distinguish.   The expectations of a sailor who travels to a regional weekend event will be quite a bit different then the sailor's expectation at his local weekly club race.  IMO, a precondition for everyone having a " fun, relatively argument free, racing" day is to make sure everyone is on the same page.    (I have seen some really PO'd handicap racers who never returned because they got into a shouting match on the water about getting out of somebody's way so that xxx could race one design.) 

This is a good point. You know what to expect at your club.

The regional events can be run in a way that is unsettling, even if winning is not really the point.

You are right that a group of OD racers who treat you an an interloper is one.

Poorly grouped divisions is another (racing against a foiler is a real spoiler for me; its just not a race in any real sense)

Another problem is where the organising club tries to be everything to everyone and has too many start sequences; which is a problem if you have multiple races on a day and have to stooge around for 40 minutes between each start. [Let me say, this third problem is solvable with super efficient, maybe to the point of ruthless, organisation. If you have a bad capsize go back to the start area, or you'll like miss the next start. No, we're not changing the course for anything less than a 15/20 degree wind change]

All these things make you inclined not to come back. Sometimes that can't be helped; after all, the first two problems are solved by breaking up the fleet into more divisions, but that just leads to the third.

The problem can be solved by better defining the regatta. A "skiff regatta" or a "Cat regatta", which narrows the overall attendance and even gives room for some OD starts (maybe - I've still seen them go astray with too many starts). There's no perfect answer, but that doesn't really affect the benefit of a single yardstick set by a non local body (I chose the National one, but it doesn't really matter as long as it 's not the local club with all the politics that involves. Having said that, our club has managed to negotiate some changes for club use to clearly incorrect Yardsticks by consulting with and getting the buy in of members rather than acting unilateral.

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Why will this system be little better than PHRF?

  1. Clubs will fail to send in results, because:
    1. They do not understand the system.
    2. They do not care about the system.
    3. They are too busy to assist the system.
    4. They view the system with contempt or mistrust or refuse to change.
  2. USS will not find and assign the necessary resources to keep the system up to date.
  3. Individual clubs will eventually abandon the D-PN for the new single rating but not trust it and assign their own "local" number.
  4. Individual clubs will not trust ratings of boats that are not local and the tradition of denying entry to newer designed boats will continue.
  5. Individual clubs will decide this new Portsmouth is worse than the old Portsmouth and less accurate and thus not worth the time and will just switch to PHRF because...   ...it is easy.

Pt 1....   summed to... Clubs simply don't care about running a fair handicap system..      Oh Well....If they don't value your participation... make happy feet.   there is no solution to point one.

Pt 2.  USS will not pay to keep the system up to date...   Umm....this was an all volunteer team for 30 years and it was FAILING because the conditions at the clubs don't favor ANY kind of handicap racing.   No amount of money from USS will create 5 well attended handicap regattas with multiple boats in a class on the starting line over a range of conditions.   

Pt3.  Individual clubs will not trust a single DPN number system.   Per distant memory of conversation with Darline,  Most dinghy clubs did not use wind speeds... Only the multi's used wind speeds and the endless correction factors of modifications to one design classes.   As to adopting a local number.... well that is just local politics and the national ratings table is irrelevant no matter how it is generated.

Pt4.  Tradition of excluding newer boats and denying entry.   hmm... Every new design that Darline got asked to handicap came with a packet of information from the builder/designer along with their recommended provisional DPN number.   I doubt that a club would exclude a boat in this circumstance... they might tack on a provisional penalty to be "fair" to their local fleet or unwilling to make a decision on the spot at the registration table Saturday morning out of the blue.    So..... try it the old fashinon way with a packet of material from the builder  justifying a specific rating.

Pt 5.    Yada yada yada..... Clubs want a table... produced by the national authority.... that keeps most of the members happy. and CHANGE is never popular with most of the members... so going backwards won't happen.

PHRF is all about the implementation and everyone has a story...   BUT a fact of life is that PHRF did have buy in from some well financed owners racing Key West  aka PHRF nationals using skilled handicapers from around the country to generate a key west rating table so they could race their boats fairly.   The US PN machinery is fatally broken because the underyling assumptions  that are the foundation of the statistical treatment don't exist and have not existed for almost 15 to 20 years.    IE.   boats that are being rated are members of active racing fleets and have suitable racing sails and boat prep.    You can't collect data on my 25 year old Dart 18 and adjust a rating based on my performance.  Nor can you base your new Aero XXX rating based on comparison to 25 year old sunfish on the starting line.   The RYA machinery manages this assumption unlike USPN.   If they don't grab the Brit data and run the uspn fortran program.... the only other option is to PHRF the new boats into the existing USPN table and be done with it.

 

Yes... the A cat example was an extreme red herring example.....  but foiling is the real table buster....  the point stands... wind adjustments are one of those... it must be right to use them.... but.... all things considered and on serious reflection... nope.

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If you don’t want a single number for all occasions then you need to (be able to) measure what occasion you have on the day - and hope it remains constant. Even then, your improved accuracy is build on a bed of sand because sample sizes are invariably small and the algorithms for calculating numbers (like the aforementioned exclusion algorithm) are subjective.

I have previously proposed a probabilistic PY, which sounds complex but actually isn’t.  It works by admitting to ourselves that we don’t live in a perfect world and will never be able to generate a perfect set of Portsmouth numbers.  Take the Laser for example.  In the UK there is orders of magnitude more data for the Laser, over a 50 year period, on which to set a PY than any other class.  Yet still the Laser PY has drifted from 1078 (from memory) to 1100 over recent years. If anything, intuition would suggest the spec changes (XD rigging, Mk2 sail, low profile carbon tillers, better foils) would result in a PY drop.  

So, on any given day the PY assigned to your boat is likely to be in error due to:

a. the small sample size for your class;

b. systematic errors (or bias) in the collection, filtering and processing of data;

c. Environmental factors on the day (wind strength and stability, tide, sea state, course lay out).

Points a and c tend to be in conflict with each other - improve c by having wind strength specific data and you worsen a by having smaller sample sizes.  Go global to increase the sample size and you encounter a wider range of environmental conditions.  There are things that can be done to improve b, but it gets complicated and time consuming and there is no “right” answer to whether to baseline off best in class or the middle of the fleet. 

If we accept that this is the unavoidable truth we can move on.  If we can never know what the PY on the day ought to be, let’s admit our uncertainty.  Let’s assign a PY number AND a probabilistic distribution around that number.  In the case of our Laser we might say we are 95% confident that the PY is 1100 +/-8, and put a normal distribution across that.  That is a PY of 1100 with a Standard Deviation of 4.
In contrast, another boat will have much less data to base a PY on as there are fewer of them.  So will be less confident in our estimate of the PY.  So maybe we are 95% confident that the OK could be described as 1104 +/- 16.  That is a PY of 1104 with a SD of 8.  

Here we are admitting that whilst we think the Laser is fractionally faster than the OK, it might not be.  

Imagine a two boat race between a Laser and an OK and they both cross the finish line at exactly the same time.  Under traditional PY the OK would win and score 1 point whilst the Laser would be second and score 2 points.  However, given the uncertainty described above, the OK might actually be the quicker boat and that result might be unfair.

Running a Monte Carlo simulation with our PY + SD you might discover that the OK wins 65% of the time and the Laser wins 35%.  On this basis the OK would score 1.35 points (0.65 * 1 + 0.35 * 2) and the Laser 1.65 points.  The more certain it is you won, the better you score...

The advantage to the racer is that there is no judgement by the race officer about wind strength or conditions on the day, that it acknowledges that there is no single PY to suit all conditions and even if there was we don’t know precisely what it should be, and it can be applied consistently and globally.  The advantage to the race officer and club handicap committee is that they don’t need to make difficult, political, decisions and entering times/calculating results is exactly the same as now.  The hard yards are done by the results programme behind the scenes.

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An interesting idea. An alternative might be to not score places at all, but give boats a score of percentage of race winner's (or avg of top half of fleet or whatever) corrected time.

I used to wonder about a much wider definition of tie, but that idea fell apart on multiple boats close together - A ties with B, B ties with C, C ties with D, but does A tie with D. You do need to explore with your concept what happens with multiple boats finishing close, but it's clearly not insuperable. 

I kinda lost enthusiasm for messing with scoring systems when I noted that with nearly every system I dreamed up the series results were so similar that it was not obvious that one was better than the other. The only exception was an odd UK system intended to keep series alive as long as possible, and I discarded (sorry) that when I discovered that the net effect was that the scores in the first race or two had absolutely zero effect on the final result! 

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Scoring systems are interesting but a bit of a diversion. They are all arbitrary to some extent and I’m yet to be convinced there is much wrong with the current method.  But I do think there is merit in a probabilistic approach and not much downside. 

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Tcatman,

No one has been updating the Portsmouth Yardstick list in about two decades except when the boat is one that USS wants to be a part of the Olympics or USS Junior sailing, or has become boat in the Olympics.  The result of this is that most racing dinghy's built in the last 20 years will find that when they attempt to enter a handicap fleet at a travel club, they will almost always be rejected.  I had it happen to me so out of curiosity and from former experience of having this experience when entering a Shaw6.50 into events outside of my home town, I entered more events.  The result was that nearly every event rejected something not on the existing USS Portsmouth list.  This is anecdotal but it's good anecdotal evidence that clubs will not go out of their way to make a dinghy handicap system work, it must be a centralized effort.  There are no handicapping groups for Portsmouth anymore and if USS doesn't do it, this system will be worse at scoring boats and not solve existing problems.

 

Not sure which poster said that no one uses the wind ranges, that's not true.  I have traveled to clubs that use it and my own club uses it.  In the short 3 years that I've had to deal with Portsmouth I have only seen 1 club not use the wind ranges.

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Sosoomii    a very interesting idea.  IME,   sailors really want immediate feedback when they cross the line.   How did I do?.   In one design they can look at fleet ahead and behind and I have an answer.    With handicap,   they have a strong feeling abut their finish.    So... the  reward loop is pretty weak.  PHRF would be better with time on time racing yet most clubs use time on distance because the owners know exactly how much time they give or save to the guy above them in the pecking order versus having to do a bit of calculation in their head.    Have you thought this through from the point of view of a sailor crossing the finish line and timing the difference to his competitor?

At first glance,  your experience at the finish line is about the same.... You have a strong feeling that you did well and saved your time... or not.   Likewise, you have a strong feeling about your overall results for that day when you walk up to the results board.  As I understand your idea.... when you download the results page on your phone.... your scoring will differ based on the probabilistic  handicap engine and won't be ordinal but you will have a rank position within the fleet   ( eg... 3rd overall).  Again,   I think you might have a positive feeling about the day's results... yes you are in third... but you are really close to the guy in second based on total scoring.    So you walk into day 2 racing pretty much like you would with our existing handicap system without blaming the hopeless handicap rating that essentially means....  you tell me the conditions and I tell you the finishh positions.       In my view,   the most important objective is to remove the rating decision from the conversation....     well worth more discussion!

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1 hour ago, sosoomii said:

Was the Shaw 650 entry rejected because it doesn’t have a PY or because it’s not a dinghy?

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entering a Shaw6.50 into events outside of my home town, I entered more events.  The result was that nearly every event rejected something not on the existing USS Portsmouth list.

So,   You and the clubs running events want a rating that has been stamped by some good house keeping authority.    The club interest is that whatever rating is listed for your boat is not UNFAIR to their rank and file members and you of course want a fair rating that lets you race your boat.    The current USPN committee can't help you.

Here is the problem.    Portsmouth yardsticks are based on fleets that can generate data sets.   So... step one   Is there a fleet of Shaw's racing OD or PN anywhere in the country?    The minimum definition of a fleet used to be 3 boats.    Next question would be....  are they racing against other similar fleets of boats .... one of which is a secondary yardstick?   If these two  conditions were met.... you would  get a bracketed  entry in the published table for provisional seeded by the info and rating from the builder.   So your class met the criterion of actively class racing, and race ready condition, helmed by competent crews.      And you have a bracketed rating.  Clubs could deny you trophies based on bracketed ratings.  The US Alter cup qualifiers were portsmouth handicap and bracketed or modified boats were excluded from the regatta.  Back to your Shaw Situation... Fail any one of these criterion and you should not get a rating in the table of any rigor.     

Now, the reality,  back in the day,  Darline took the position that the table should be user friendly for the clubs and at least for cats she relaxed the standard for being published.   In large measure for the reason you list... Clubs want to look up the table and get the rating.  No review by club handicapper is needed.   For example,  a Bill Roberts designed and raced RC 27 is a beach cat on steroids.   I think three have been built..... and they do distance races..... They have a rating.   Obviously, the database of results reflects Bill's sailing as much as the boats.   So... since Darline's passing, the PN leadership has been unwilling to modify the published standards.   The idea being... you can't make things better by undermining the statistical engine of portsmouth.    I can respect the decision AND recognize that this doesn't work for small boat sailors.      Obviously,  every club could take your  one off Shaw rating as provisional and allow you to race but they don't see any benefit to their club members and so they don't accept your entry.    The alternative is use the principles of PHRF and create a rating that fits within the existing PN table and publish it under the US Sailing authority.   However, neither the PN committee or yourself (apparently) would be happy with that outcome either.     The Brit solution won't work because their PN engine only works on a fleet of data which apparently  doesn't exist for the Shaw.  

So... back to the basic problem of a statistical system that lacks data and a raft of one offs and very small classes that can't generate the data set.   The catamaran world has moved on to using SCHRS which is a measurement based rating system that can manage class legal boats with a stock rating and one off or small classes that get measured.     

 

Your recent experience is probably the case.... Darline waged a PR  campaign about wind speeds to mitigate some of the criticism of the handicap racing    it takes some time to effect change (grin) .....   (Better fleet divisions would have been a better option but clubs do what they do)

 

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58 minutes ago, Tcatman said:

The Brit solution won't work because their PN engine only works on a fleet of data which apparently  doesn't exist for the Shaw.  

But one of the principles of PY racing is that it is inclusive.  I don’t think any dinghy would be turned away from any race on the basis that there is no published yardstick for it.  The race committee will allocate one, even if it is on the putative side, to facilitate entry.  But the Shaw 650 stretches my understanding of what a dinghy is so I can believe it might be denied entry to a dinghy race on that basis. 

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I had a Google of the Shaw 650. We'd definitely treat is as a trailer yacht, not a dinghy or skiff and wouldn't want it in a dinghy race (we have very similar boats in our club's trailerable fleet).

But the trailerables are having the same problem that dinghies had 20 years ago with the sports boat style having different characteristics to traditional cruiser/racer style ones and maybe more importantly, different course preferences. We split the monohull fleet into dinghies and gennaker boats 10 years ago, not really because anyone was that worried about the results but because the monos wanted to keep their old 'all over the river' courses which meant the gennakers rarely got to use their spinnakers; whereas they really wanted windward return courses. So the then small gennaker fleet were given a separate course and quickly became the biggest of the club's fleets.

Now the same issues are arising with the trailerables and there is talk of splitting them too. You don't even need to extend the start sequence to do this. They can start together and go their separate ways.

But I just get the impression you guys are building mountains out of mole hills on this whole issue. As we say in Australia, you're not racing for sheep stations. Yes you want a good race but if a yardstick produces the occasional anomaly, no one's losing their shirt and you can fix it for next week/ year. [Of course, there's often one person inclined to lose his sh##, but that's a problems with humans, not yardsticks]

6 hours ago, Tcatman said:

...   sailors really want immediate feedback when they cross the line.   How did I do?.   In one design they can look at fleet ahead and behind and I have an answer.    With handicap,   they have a strong feeling abut their finish.   

 At club level, we have two main classes in the skiff division; the Formula Fifteen's and RS100's. One of the leading Fifteen's skippers times his finish and as the first RS finishes, will know 4 times out of 5 whether the lead Fifteen or the lead RS won the race. It's not a hard calculation to do in your head. And much easier if you have a single yardstick, not multiple wind affected ones.

If you have a look at the VYC Yardsticks I've linked to above, you'll first of all seen they stolen a lot of the RYA handicaps to fill out numbers on what in Australia are small imported classes. If the 49er has an RYA of X and the RS700 of Y, then take the VYC of the 49er and multiply it by X over Y to get one for the RS700. As a well known advertisement in Australia proclaims "simples". I don't think anyone got themselves into a later about the formula the RYA used.

You'll also see the numbers are a lot easier to use than the RYA ones; a simple divide by the Yardstick, multiply by 100 calculation.

Finally you'll see the great majority of the VYC's are marked as 'tentative'; an acknowledgment they are not backed by deep statistical history and can be adjusted by clubs.

In practice, I've seen very few real arguments about the whole thing, even at away events

Occasionally someone needs to be reminded he can't expect to win on VYC unless he's got new sails, a well prepared boat and a top crew. He might be the best POS Class boat in the fleet, but unless he meets those criteria, it doesn't mean the VYC is wrong because he never wins.

And occasionally the club seeks members buy in on adjusting an anomalous VYC.

It all works and its all fun, notwithstanding the occasional prima dona. And we get to race the class we like, not the one we're forced to chose. 

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you're not racing for sheep stations

Someday you are going to have to explain this   (I am guessing a race for available water but who knows about you guys)... but the point is taken.

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Finally you'll see the great majority of the VYC's are marked as 'tentative'; an acknowledgment they are not backed by deep statistical history and can be adjusted by clubs.

I think this is an excellent policy.  It makes the table useful for clubs to look up a rating  as opposed to finding the guy who will define a club rating for the night or weekend..    Second point..  the brackets indicate the status of the process and sailors can make use of the information as you suggest.   Third point....  the entire debate is about the integrity of the rating process and you would like sailors to also see this process as transparent.  Bracketing classes for which a weak statistical basis exists accurately reflects the VYC process.

The USPN should update the rules and bracket all of the entries that do not meet the  "active flee"t standard.    Metrics could include hosting a championship one design event with XX boats on the line as evidence and lots of other proof of a current racing fleet.   Moreover, they could flag classes that have never met fleet standards and the rating is not solely determined by race results.   The existing USPN rule will remove the brackets after 5 race data points..... IMO that is a low bar.    Final point; just because a rating is bracketed or flagged does not mean that it is inaccurate.... just don't wrap yourself around the axle over the result.

The issue of one off or not fleet qualifying boats will remain and a clear policy  no matter what they do with the RYA will be needed.    Silence just serves to piss off guys like shuffle.

 

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5 hours ago, Tcatman said:

Someday you are going to have to explain this   (I am guessing a race for available water but who knows about you guys)... but the point is taken.

 

50 years ago, wool was Australia's major export (and had been for the prior 80 years), wool prices were high and sheep stations were half the size of Texas (Australians have always been amused by Texans' concept of big:D)

So sheep stations were very valuable.

Its a way of saying its something you should have a proper perspective of how important (or unimportant) it is.

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Yep, the Shaw would not be in the dinghies here in UK, 

My own clubs classes  are 

Dinghies up to 12 ft,

Dinghies 12ft to 17.5 ft,

Keelboats A, (no cabin over 17.5ft), Bermudan rigged, the Shaw would be in this.. and every  other club I know of would not class the Shaw as a dinghy.

Keelboats B,  (no Cabin over 17.5 ft) Gaff rigged,

Broads cruisers (that's a particular class) (with cabin)

Production Cruisers (all yachts with cabin that are not Broads cruisers).

 

The RYA system also has what used to be called provisional PY now it appears to be called "limited data PN" for those boat that there aren't able to provide enough results in include in the main PN list

I see Austrailia is inflicted with those darn Meerkats as well... simples..

 

sergei-coffee-shop-visit-min[1].jpg

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On 7/14/2020 at 12:02 PM, Tcatman said:

So... back to the basic problem of a statistical system that lacks data and a raft of one offs and very small classes that can't generate the data set.   The catamaran world has moved on to using SCHRS which is a measurement based rating system that can manage class legal boats with a stock rating and one off or small classes that get measured.    

I'm the US rep for SCHRS and we've seen a significant grass roots movement to the system.  One of the biggest problems is the lack of measurers; there isn't a cost to get a rating for your Frankenstein boat, but you need someone with "credentials" to measure and sign the form.  As such, I'm seeing (and doing my best to support) self-generated UNOFFICIAL ratings.  "You've got X boat that you added a square head to?  Ok, take all the published data points that didn't change and enter them into the ratings calculator, then measure the stuff that did change and enter that.  Bamm, rating!"  Granted, this is ONLY if the race organizer allows it.  I recommend that organizers require a copy of the rating calculation form and that racers keep a printed copy on hand in case anyone has questions/challenges their number.

I presented SCHRS to the USSA Offshore Committee about 2 1/2 years ago and to be honest, they didn't care that the catamaran tables hadn't been updated in ~13 years.  We offered the system as a drop in replacement, "just nix the tables for catamarans, adopt SCHRS and you're done, the system is in place, working, maintained and has been for >30 years".  (I have a slide presentation that I'm happy to share)  The lack of support for cats is the reason I won't join USSA unless I absolutely have to, they don't like us and don't care.

Specific to SCHRS, I think "we" do it the right way; it's model based, and performance validated from race results every year and the annual reviews are published online.  The 2018 annual review even included a comparison of ratings between SCHRS, RYA and US PN and the correlation (or lack there of) between them.  Class developments are tracked (deck sweepers for example) with small corrections made to the formula so as to avoid major knee-jerk movements. This allows us to have a sound rating for a new boat that comes to market (US PN doesn't have a rating for my boat), or crazy one-off stuff as well.

The two biggest fights I deal with are wind ranges and discrepancy in sailor weights vs. the assumed values in the formula.  Even with those two "problems", the system produces ratings that deviate <1% from expected results, even within fleets that have finish time deltas of 20% or more.  SCHRS also works WITH other rating systems (RYA PN and Texel) to validate results for all three systems and make all of them better; as such, there is a conversion factor between RYA PN and SCHRS that actually works.  Essentially, the goal is to be the 95% solution; getting the next 5% likely requires wind range ratings, however look at how much more complicated the system becomes for everyone.... so is the juice really worth the squeeze?

I'm also a fan of getting rid of the modifying factors that we used under US PN.  Not going to name anyone, but it's tough when a Hobie 14 with a square head and huge screacher shows up and only take 0.98 hits for each one.  Or in a case that I had happen to me, you start with a boat with a fast rating b/c of who used to race it (remember US PN is based solely on performance data) and then get hit with some significant modifiers only to owe time to a boat there is no way you could ever beat around a course.  I've had people push to apply modifiers to SCHRS ratings and I've firmly said, "No", as we have to maintain the integrity of the system.

In the end, the organizers play a huge part in the success or failure of any system.  If you run a massive fleet of everything from and Isotope to a Mod70 (yes, extreme example), it's going to be hard to have fair ratings/results.  If the fleets are broken out logically where you race like boats together; i.e., spin vs. jam, the performance curves are at least more similar than they are different and a single number system works quite well.

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I suppose the key thing for folk to remember is that in the UK we regard PY as a service to the clubs. So if the clubs don't want to get behind it then it won't work. So all of you who want to see a functioning dinghy handicap system in the US need to get your clubs behind it. Make sure that whoever does the scoring at your club knows that this is coming. See if there's anything you can do to assist them. Keep a watching brief for communications from US sailing and see what you can do to build a bit of anticipation. Perhaps gather race timings foe the last three seasons and if they are not already in a scoring program get them transferred to csv or whatever ready to get into a usable format.

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13 hours ago, JimC said:

So if the clubs don't want to get behind it then it won't work. So all of you who want to see a functioning dinghy handicap system in the US need to get your clubs behind it.

So there's no chance here in Texas of this working. The clubs here will keep times for keel boats, dingys not so much. Just my experience having sailed odd ball boats for the last 40 years. 

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Just another opinion. If the data entry and times calculated is made simple enough and the users can see the results of their input, I think the clubs RC would have no problem with the extra effort. Looking up ratings, filling out entry sheets, and after picking up marks, puting the rc boat away, using as many as three different wind speed ratings figuring the times and then and trying to get results posted while the skippers were at the bar whining about their ratings was not rewarding for the RC. KISS.

 

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As an aside to the RYA PN verses PHRF debate.  

Some time ago I down loaded a PHRF formula spreadsheet from the net ( from here, http://www.capedory.org/phrf.html ) this was in order to get an idea of the handicap of my own design of boat ( Blue Moon). The formula was modified by using the wind factor column to bring the resulting number into the RYA 1000 range. ( plus I removed columns for propellers fixed or folding etc as inboards don't feature in the classes I'm interested in) 

Though more important to me was a chart using Norfolk handicap so that was concentrated on. .. 

In order to do this  as many boats  that both the USA and UK use, for which I could get the I, J, P, E etc figures ( not many) were loaded in  and that plotted a chart of those, plus local classes for which figures could also be found. 

They corresponded well, producing a reasonable line of slow boats to fast boats at 45 degrees up the chart. 

Oddities were extreme  things like The Thames A Rater which was according to the chart was well under handicapped. 

Blue Moon sat somewhere in the middle,  I must dig out the spreadsheets and review the chart in light of recent changes to Blue Moon.  Then I'll be submitting the results to the club handicapper when she is launched next year. 

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On 7/18/2020 at 2:09 AM, The Q said:

As an aside to the RYA PN verses PHRF debate.  

Some time ago I down loaded a PHRF formula spreadsheet from the net ( from here, http://www.capedory.org/phrf.html ) this was in order to get an idea of the handicap of my own design of boat ( Blue Moon). The formula was modified by using the wind factor column to bring the resulting number into the RYA 1000 range. ( plus I removed columns for propellers fixed or folding etc as inboards don't feature in the classes I'm interested in) 

Though more important to me was a chart using Norfolk handicap so that was concentrated on. .. 

In order to do this  as many boats  that both the USA and UK use, for which I could get the I, J, P, E etc figures ( not many) were loaded in  and that plotted a chart of those, plus local classes for which figures could also be found. 

They corresponded well, producing a reasonable line of slow boats to fast boats at 45 degrees up the chart. 

Oddities were extreme  things like The Thames A Rater which was according to the chart was well under handicapped. 

Blue Moon sat somewhere in the middle,  I must dig out the spreadsheets and review the chart in light of recent changes to Blue Moon.  Then I'll be submitting the results to the club handicapper when she is launched next year. 

Supposedly the conversion between Dixie Portsmouth and PHRF is minus 55 times six, not sure how you do that with a variable wind rating or if it's only for the base rating.

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On 7/18/2020 at 7:09 AM, The Q said:

As an aside to the RYA PN verses PHRF debate.  

Some time ago I down loaded a PHRF formula spreadsheet from the net ( from here, http://www.capedory.org/phrf.html ) this was in order to get an idea of the handicap of my own design of boat ( Blue Moon). The formula was modified by using the wind factor column to bring the resulting number into the RYA 1000 range. ( plus I removed columns for propellers fixed or folding etc as inboards don't feature in the classes I'm interested in) 

Though more important to me was a chart using Norfolk handicap so that was concentrated on. .. 

In order to do this  as many boats  that both the USA and UK use, for which I could get the I, J, P, E etc figures ( not many) were loaded in  and that plotted a chart of those, plus local classes for which figures could also be found. 

They corresponded well, producing a reasonable line of slow boats to fast boats at 45 degrees up the chart. 

Oddities were extreme  things like The Thames A Rater which was according to the chart was well under handicapped. 

Blue Moon sat somewhere in the middle,  I must dig out the spreadsheets and review the chart in light of recent changes to Blue Moon.  Then I'll be submitting the results to the club handicapper when she is launched next year. 

The A Rater handicap suffers from sample size. I sailed at a club that had raters for a couple of years and wouldn't trust most of the owners in the club Toppers.

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7 hours ago, European Bloke said:

The A Rater handicap suffers from sample size. I sailed at a club that had raters for a couple of years and wouldn't trust most of the owners in the club Toppers.

I'd agree very small fleet,  but it is a class I've raced against here in Norfolk,  and I could get the figures so that's why it's included. 

Smallness of fleets is an increasing problem.  With an ever increasing number of almost identical boats being launched the clubs are going to get more handicap fleets with many different class boats wanting to race. 

I do wonder it it's time for a computerised, scientific  method of assessing a boats speed,  over a variety of courses.  PRHF,  goes some way towards this.  The problem being you might have a class that is great at straight line speed and tacking by computer.  But has such a crap deck layout it's unacheivable to most humans. 

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Do you think the computer can actually generate such in accurate speed prediction?

We always knew that some boats like corners and others don't. Short tacking up the shore against the tide in light wind the top Fireflys can get past the Larks and 12s. In more space with some breeze they'll get lapped.

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39 minutes ago, European Bloke said:

Do you think the computer can actually generate such in accurate speed prediction?

We always knew that some boats like corners and others don't. Short tacking up the shore against the tide in light wind the top Fireflys can get past the Larks and 12s. In more space with some breeze they'll get lapped.

For a fixed wind speed they probably could, they could also generate an optimum tacking time for any boat hull as well. Fluid Dynamics is fairly well known. What a computer programme can't do is predict the odd things like being able to get under the boom,  Wind speed on the day, tide speed on the day, external influences like hills and trees, how much beer was drunk the night before, etc.

So all you can do is generate a starting point with such a programme, it could only ever be a guide line, each club would have to add a fiddle factor to do with local conditions as you are permitted to do with the RYA PN. For instance the my club has different handicaps for river and Broad for some classes, because on the river you tack more often and are influenced by trees more. 

My thoughts are that the  Idea of the computer programme is not to generate a figure for well known classes, but for small classes and one offs which don't generate enough results for a RYA PN.

Therefore you would  use the available figures for all boats classified under RYA PN, comparing their computer generated estimates against RYA PN, Then comparing with the  computer generated speed predictions for the odd boats, to Estimate a RYA PN so anyone can turn up anywhere and be assured of a race. 

it will never be perfect due to the conditions of the course verses the abilities of a particular boat on that course, but at least every boat could get a sail..

 

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My thoughts are that the  Idea of the computer programme is not to generate a figure for well known classes, but for small classes and one offs which don't generate enough results for a RYA PN. 

So, when you toss in the optional club fiddle factor.... Why would you not call this PHRF for dinghies?   I like the term for dinghies.   Stop pretending that you can get a reasonable rating with crap data.  The RYA manages this by holding the line on fleet status.   The USA should do the same thing...   Hold the line on fleet status....  if you are not currently racing one design (or 3 of the same class in a handicap race)   your rating is PHRF'd or frozen at the last fleet generated rating.    The only alternative is do make a measurement based dinghy rating system the basis of the entire rating scheme.    (I forget why over the last 50 years (microcomputer era)  that nobody has made a serious effort at a dinghy measurement rating system...  of course the obvious answer is... many have tried and all have failed)  

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So,  US Sailing has retired the Dixie Fortran based PN engine (Thank God)  and is taking on the complete RYA program and engine.  They anticipate publishing the first year long table in Jan 2021.   Your club must be a US Sailing member club to submit returns and get access to the rya calculator.  Basically a single number system.  No windspeed adjustments and No  boat modification adjustment calculations, no missing crew modifications. 

The largest portsmouth race I have seen in 25 years is coming next week end and is unrelated to the aforementioned..  a short distance race in Annapolis for 2 handed Phrf  Phrf non spin and Portsmouth.

https://yachtscoring.com/event_scratch_sheet.cfm?eID=13047

How you handicap a Laser radial, an A cat, a Wasp,   assorted other dinghys,   80+ year old cat boats and a Bennetau First 18  (Benneteau is making 18 footers these days???) a long with a Catalina 27, and a Hood 32....   Sure... this will work.

Ok now.

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On 7/20/2020 at 12:48 AM, The Q said:

Isnip

I do wonder it it's time for a computerised, scientific  method of assessing a boats speed,  over a variety of courses.  [not]PRHF [MHS],  goes some way towards this.  The problem being you might have a class that is great at straight line speed and tacking by computer.  But has such a crap deck layout it's unacheivable to most humans. 

 

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umm  fix the boat??   no matter...  THIS is now moot.   The US system tried to use   (first place boat) race results to create a handicap table of peak performance.  The upcoming RYA based system measures the top 1/3 of the fleets performance (no matter the deck layout).   Both can be valid systems.... but they differ....    Note to US sailors.... If you don't have a fleet of the same class.... you are not going to get current ratings.    NEITHER system is designed for modified class boats or One off designs.      How do you measure fleet statistics with  an n of 1 or 2 on the race course.?

What you want is a measurement based system which beach catamarans now use... the ISAF supported SCHRS.    Works well for us.   but I don't know of a dinghy measurement rating system.

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On 8/6/2020 at 9:37 AM, Tcatman said:

What you want is a measurement based system which beach catamarans now use... the ISAF supported SCHRS.    Works well for us.   but I don't know of a dinghy measurement rating system.

It really sounds like that's a proposal to build a very expensive mountain out of what should be a mole hill.

I won't pretend to know the cat system, but quite apart from the cost of having boats measured, are you going to take all the speed factors into account, and if so what penalties do you allocate to them. How do you even identify them all.

Carbon masts? Fully battened mains? Square headed mains? Battened jibs? Old fashioned plate v aerodynamically profiled foils? Stiff cored construction v flexible solid glass? trapezes? Gennakers v spinnakers v none? Round hull v flat one?

How do you 'measure" whether you have an easily planning boat v a displacement one.

Whatever factors you allocate will be sure to be wrong, even if only because they will impact different boats differently. The only certainty is that more of the ratings will be more wrong than a long term class performance set one. Science in this area simply isn't that accurate or known, however much computer power you throw at it.

Won't you be back to the old IOR rule manipulators in no time? It just seems like an impending nightmare.

Or do you just take it back to the most simplified formula [which I've simplified further to avoid writing a thesis] of sail area, overall theoretical design weight and sail carrying power (crew design weight x hiking leverage). Bad designs can never win however popular they are, so get a better designed class.

I speak as someone who has enjoyed sailing under old fashioned, nationally set, single wind, fleet performance ratings for 25 years and have never seen a serious argument, even though most ratings have been marked "tentative". The only complaint I've seen raised was by someone who didn't understand the difference from a personal handicap system.

As long as you don't make cats, monos, foilers and trailerable or fixed keel yachts all race together, (so have separate divisions for most races) it works. It's fun. Set class ratings and adjust them gradually over time (measured in years) if they prove to be wrong. Make it clear those who modify standard boats will have a very conservative rating until the right one can be proved over time (if you enjoy your change, that's fine, but its not going to help you win and indeed, for a while, will do the opposite). Allow tentative ratings for small classes. Make it clear (especially with small or old classes) unless you have new sails, top crews and exceptionally well maintained boats, the fact you don't win doesn't mean your rating is wrong. These are the basic premise of the system.

It is not a Personal Handicap System, so don't let anyone make arguments which confuse it with one.

If you really don't like the handicap of your class, then lobby the national body or better still, if its really that important to you, buy another class you think will let you win.

KISS please.

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On 7/30/2020 at 7:26 AM, Tcatman said:

How you handicap a Laser radial, an A cat, a Wasp,   assorted other dinghys,   80+ year old cat boats and a Bennetau First 18  (Benneteau is making 18 footers these days???) a long with a Catalina 27, and a Hood 32....   Sure... this will work.

 

Unless it is accepted as a novelty (or special occasion) race, you don't. You have separate classes. That mixed a fleet can never be rated accurately and the racing will rarely be fun in any real sense.

If it is a special race, you simply accept the result will entirely depend on the conditions. Tough, you enter knowing that and go with the flow.

Mind you, sometimes it works.

We have a memorial "all in" marathon race once a year. Usually a single division takes all the places, but last year we had a cat come first, gennaker skiff come second and trailer yacht come third on rating adjusted time, with less than two minutes adjusted time between first and third. But that was a fluke, it showed the intra division handicapping adjustments worked well, but depended on middle of the road conditions on the day.

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9 hours ago, Rambler said:

I speak as someone who has enjoyed sailing under old fashioned, nationally set, single wind, fleet performance ratings for 25 years and have never seen a serious argument, even though most ratings have been marked "tentative". The only complaint I've seen raised was by someone who didn't understand the difference from a personal handicap system. 

As long as you don't make cats, monos, foilers and trailerable or fixed keel yachts all race together, (so have separate divisions for most races) it works. It's fun. Set class ratings and adjust them gradually over time (measured in years) if they prove to be wrong. Make it clear those who modify standard boats will have a very conservative rating until the right one can be proved over time (if you enjoy your change, that's fine, but its not going to help you win and indeed, for a while, will do the opposite). Allow tentative ratings for small classes. Make it clear (especially with small or old classes) unless you have new sails, top crews and exceptionally well maintained boats, the fact you don't win doesn't mean your rating is wrong. These are the basic premise of the system.

 

Well done    I agree with all of your advice!!!

However, some people want the fairy tale.   They want the precision of scoring one design racing in the handicap world.  Its not possible... nevertheless.. ..... they don't want to hear about tentative ratings... and to get what they want  ... accuracy and precision.... they want wind adjustments, and crew adjustments, etc to be available for their calculator and sanctioned by USPN   and they WANT the stamp of approval of USPN or the RYA on the rating of their flavor of a "one design class as modified by xxx". published as well.... NOT the rating generated by the handicap committee of backwater yacht club for the tuesday night series.  So these are people problems not math or sampling problems!      The RYA has a workable solution as does your Aussi Federation.... the USA had a failed system for 10 years and they are finally evolving.      The reality in the states is that  actual fleets racing handicap in the states is quite low  and some may want a measurement alternative for dinghies..   

Quote

It really sounds like that's a proposal to build a very expensive mountain out of what should be a mole hill.

Well, that is a judgement about what you value.....  I don't know if its worth it to dinghy sailors    History tho, shows that cat sailors have a much greater interest in building a better mouse trap from their class boats.  A measurement system has always been part of the multihull handicap racing scene to manage what we do.  (We have A Class, B Class (Tornado like) and C class IYRU/ISAF measurement rule classes)   So, the Dutch, French and Brit cat sailors have climbed that mountain over many years because you can't do statistics on ONE OF A KIND boats.   SCHRS and TEXEL continue to evaluate and validate their measurement based model with annual review and periodic updates of the system  (SCHRS/Texel joint working groups).    So, like the RYA PN, system the math and process is public and transparent.  It is sanctioned by ISAF so it has the authority of world sailing and just like yourself with the Vic system,.... sailors happily use it. The single number system is deemed "Good Enough"   IMO,  a huge advantage of the SCHRS system is that it puts responsibility on the owner ...  race a class legal hobie 16 in handicap and you look the rating up on the SCHRS table and use it  (QED and YOUR responsibility to report YOUR rating....   NOT  the OAs to look it up on the table).   Change something and you make a measurement, run the calculation  or get a certified measurement ... run the numbers    Whatever the standard... you get a rating. ...(not a provisional rating) .  Nobody in the national office or the yacht clubs OA has to make a ratings judgment.   check the certificate exists, passes what ever standards required for the event  and its the owners responsibility to race fairly.    The transparency and predictability of a measurement rule is very important when people are won't to fiddle with their boat)

  (Nobody gives a fig about a race you competed in last week  that was re-scored using the "updated"  aka better ratings  by the club or the national authority and suddenly you gain or lose a podium spot.)   I was a scorekeeper/sailor back in the day when the USA used the NAMSA tables which was a hybrid of measurement rule and portsmouth like statistics calculated and produced by Herb Malm.     You don't want to be the scorekeeper (or Herb) when the ratings changed during a season for a new one design....  

So.... if dinghy sailors don't fiddle with their one designs and don't need a degree of finality on ratings.... you are probably right that it is not worth the effort.  

My Hope is the USA simply takes the RYA class ratings for all of the classes listed in the RYA tables maintaining all of the RYA table.   For US specific multihull one design class's with fleets  (Sharks and Isotopes two Wave classes) they use the SCHRS to RYA converter that these two organizations have already worked out.  For USA dead boat classes (no active fleets) and one offs.... they use the SCHRS to RYA converter.  (Heck they could use the Vic ratings convertor for the Taipan 4.9 ratings if they want)    The unique USA dinghy problem is going to require real judgement and contribution from US Sailors who actually know what some of the listed classes actually are in the region and how they currently race   (my example that has bitten me is a Chesapeake Dinghy is NOT a Chesapeake 20 dinghy that some scorekeeper confused once upon a time for a unique  annual river race)    The most important goal is get a table in January 2021 that maintains the complete integrity of the RYA process and the SCHRS process without compromise!.   Then you evaluate what conversion factors you want to use for RYA to USPN dinghies.   Spell out the process and make it transparent.     You really really want a fair table January 2021 in order to seed the process appropriately.   Once that is done,  the RYA system assigns a lot of responsibility to the local scorekeeper/handicapper and that is a great way to manage the precision/ accuracy  of a statistical system for the quirks and sailing conditions.     Multi's will choose to race handicap on SCHRS for all of the advantages I listed (universality, transparency, authority, responsibility, simplicity, practicality,  and most importantly accuracy!!!)

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7 hours ago, Tcatman said:

 

My Hope is the USA simply takes the RYA class ratings for all of the classes listed in the RYA tables maintaining all of the RYA table.   For US specific multihull one design class's with fleets  (Sharks and Isotopes two Wave classes) they use the SCHRS to RYA converter that these two organizations have already worked out.  For USA dead boat classes (no active fleets) and one offs.... they use the SCHRS to RYA converter.  (Heck they could use the Vic ratings convertor for the Taipan 4.9 ratings if they want)    The unique USA dinghy problem is going to require real judgement and contribution from US Sailors who actually know what some of the listed classes actually are in the region and how they currently race   (my example that has bitten me is a Chesapeake Dinghy is NOT a Chesapeake 20 dinghy that some scorekeeper confused once upon a time for a unique  annual river race)    The most important goal is get a table in January 2021 that maintains the complete integrity of the RYA process and the SCHRS process without compromise!.   Then you evaluate what conversion factors you want to use for RYA to USPN dinghies.   Spell out the process and make it transparent.     You really really want a fair table January 2021 in order to seed the process appropriately.   Once that is done,  the RYA system assigns a lot of responsibility to the local scorekeeper/handicapper and that is a great way to manage the precision/ accuracy  of a statistical system for the quirks and sailing conditions.     Multi's will choose to race handicap on SCHRS for all of the advantages I listed (universality, transparency, authority, responsibility, simplicity, practicality,  and most importantly accuracy!!!)

That's my hope for you too.

Good luck (said with meaning, not with sarcasm)

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 7/3/2020 at 8:55 AM, Steam Flyer said:

I hope people step up. The abandonment of mixed or small-batch fleet has really hurt sailing in the US.

FB- Doug

I know right. The "let's sail nothing but Lasers, 420s and Sunfish" stigma is getting kind of old.

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On 7/29/2020 at 5:26 PM, Tcatman said:

How you handicap a Laser radial, an A cat, a Wasp,   assorted other dinghys,   80+ year old cat boats and a Bennetau First 18  (Benneteau is making 18 footers these days???) a long with a Catalina 27, and a Hood 32....   Sure... this will work.

 

People are getting bored...

 

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