Time on Time Scoring

Meat Wad

Super Anarchist
ToT can can provide unbalanced results.  For example, if the fleet starts in light air and one smart fast boat finishes in such conditions, then a front blows through or a huge pressure difference ensues, the rest of the fleet benefits from a horsepower increase. The guy (opps, I mean the X)  who won the start, caught every light air shift and crossed the line 1st get's penalized on ToT. Pure PHRF works best.  ORCi, IRC, IMS, IOR ....the Queen Rule of PHRF has and will watch them all fall by the wayside at the industries, owners and club committee''s  great expense.  Hey wait, what will the designers do with no new rules? 

How does that differ from time on distance? The same thing happens when the wind fills in from behind and brings the fleet down you.
The very thing happened to my boat and a Farr 30, in 2018, race was scored TOD
The race was just a 7 mile race, the start was light and patchy. I could barely see the Farr 30 when it finished. He sailed the whole race in lighter air. When we rounded the Weather mark it was building and we started hitting 7knts while the lead boats were still in light air finishing. I hit the timer as they disappeared behind the breakwater. I thought it would be close. but when the Corrected times were posted, we had them by 10 minutes. Even though we were in different classes, we started all at once and of course there is always bragging rights. We won our Class and Overall, 2 really nice Ogio bags with race logos.

 

Foredeck Shuffle

More of a Stoic Cynic, Anarchy Sounds Exhausting
PHRF should be an international rule, but seeing as how most countries use mathematically driven handicap systems, no one needs or wants PHRF.  So at a minimum PHRF should be national, not regional.  Even then I see room for corruption due to the lack of meaningful measurements and the heavy customization of production and former one-design boats.  It also has no reason to exist, USS is uninterested and without a national authority there is no foundation for this idea.

ToT seems to have more issues than ToD but ToD is not perfect either.  No one wants to score a race the way a high level IMS event might be scored.  I swear the old D-PN/NA-PN Portsmouth rule might be the best rule to ever rate boats.  It provides different ratings for different wind conditions which is better at capturing boats with a wide range of potential performance points.  You only need to take a few wind readings as the race progresses and then average them and use a single rating for the final scoring.  Imperfect but very good and better than everything other than IMS, but importantly without the pain of IMS per leg ratings.

 

jesposito

Super Anarchist
The word is losing, not loosing.

My club has been racing under PHRF/TOD sinc I started racing in the early 80s. Every year when we adopt the racing calendar and rules for the season the question is always asked whether we want to go to another rating system.  At one time we had an IOR section. As those guys changed boats or retired the remainder came to race under PHRF because that’s where the action was.  We had a J/24 one design start for a few years until, again, those skippers stopped racing or moved to bigger boats.  There was, briefly enough T-10s for a one design start but they too went extinct.  We have an active Star fleet that follows their own desires and about 4 or 5 S2 7.9s that race one design.  The few boats left race PHRF and there does not seem to be any measurable level of discontent.
There is not much difference between ToT and ToD as far as it effecting the results.

I ran a Wed night series for a couple of years and my hack friend with the scratch boat would complain to me that the numerator/denominator was wrong and if we used what he recommended he would have won. So each week I would have the scorer rerun the results for me with his formula and all that happened is the times got closer the results stayed the same.

I would even go 1 better and have the scorer run them time on time for me so I could tell him he still sucked.

In one race  out of 10 did the results change and move him from 4th to 3rd. 

When you suck you suck 

 

atnan

Member
170
100
Alameda, CA
One point not yet raised is how the handicapping system affects the costs (money, time and training) for race organizers.

Bigger clubs/races can invest in more complicated handicapping systems because they have often have more staff with better training to support the system. Even then, what you'll find is that in many cases ORR/ORC provide their own people to help these clubs run the bigger races.

Even something as simple as PHRF Time on Time requires additional steps, admittedly simple but steps none-the-less, where RC needs to pick a B factor per race for the wind conditions, then they also need to pick an A factor such that the mid-fleet boat has a TCF of 1.0 or so (which is also per race if the boats change).

For smaller clubs running beer can races, this is why you see PHRF Time on Distance used. Or you'll see Time on Time used with whatever default A and B correction factor was provided by the race management software, or values someone read on the internet somewhere.

Personally I think races being easy to run translates to more racing. There's a cost of entry (time and money) to consider for both clubs and boats. For clubs using PHRF is pretty easy, and for boats getting a PHRF certificate is also pretty easy. The costs of switching systems for clubs and boats is often underestimated, or not considered at all.

 

Hitchhiker

Hoopy Frood
4,674
1,316
Saquo-Pilia Hensha
If they allow me to be PRO for the Fall PHRF series, I am introducing a whole new twist.  I will take every boat's PHRF rating and put them into a hat. Then on Thursday lunchtime, I will read out the boat names in alphabetical order and pull out a rating from that hat......and that will be your rating for the evening. It will be a whole lot of fun and should discourage people spending money trying to exploit loopholes.
Seems unnecessary somehow.

But, it does remind me of one of the more fun Beer can races I did.  Richmond Yacht Club on a Wabbit.  Everyone starts at the same time. Chaos.  Beat out of the marina and fetch to the top mark. Chaos.  Round the mark, set the kite, fire hose reach back to the marina.  Chaos.  Douse the kite and downwind finish.  Mellow. The handicapper runs everyone's rating and finish time through his algorithm and announces the finishers.  No one complains or bitches.  You know why?  Because it's fucking phrf Wednesday night racing and they all know better!   

 

Tcatman

Super Anarchist
1,495
137
Chesapeake Bay
PHRF should be an international rule, but seeing as how most countries use mathematically driven handicap systems, no one needs or wants PHRF.  So at a minimum PHRF should be national, not regional.  Even then I see room for corruption due to the lack of meaningful measurements and the heavy customization of production and former one-design boats.  It also has no reason to exist, USS is uninterested and without a national authority there is no foundation for this idea.

ToT seems to have more issues than ToD but ToD is not perfect either.  No one wants to score a race the way a high level IMS event might be scored.  I swear the old D-PN/NA-PN Portsmouth rule might be the best rule to ever rate boats.  It provides different ratings for different wind conditions which is better at capturing boats with a wide range of potential performance points.  You only need to take a few wind readings as the race progresses and then average them and use a single rating for the final scoring.  Imperfect but very good and better than everything other than IMS, but importantly without the pain of IMS per leg ratings.
"USSS is not interested".   TRUE!  because they follow the users... they only want the role of facilitator... not leader....    So...  the fuckery will continue because the users want it that way.  sailors have a dna based aversion to big sailing telling them what to do!

a national phrf system made sense 30 years ago to me...  and yet  fuckery will continue to the end of time..

Portsmouth is the worst rule to use for big boats... Portsmouth requires a fleet of one one design class defined as the yardstick and in the US system only the first boat of the fleet data is used... the class being handicapped also requires a fleet of one design boats and again only the first place boat data is used..    You need fleets of boats to make the statistics work.   So it would rarely apply to any handicap race in the states. and then of course you have  too many one offs and modifications to manage.   So garbage in and garbage out for ratings. 

Wind speed ratings allows you to define a performance curve with three points rather then a straight line... Makes sense to me but it seems to fluster a lot of clubs.

 

Meat Wad

Super Anarchist
PHRF should be an international rule, but seeing as how most countries use mathematically driven handicap systems, no one needs or wants PHRF.  So at a minimum PHRF should be national, not regional. 

"USSS is not interested".  

Wind speed ratings allows you to define a performance curve with three points rather then a straight line... Makes sense to me but it seems to fluster a lot of clubs.
Tcatman, you are so right. US Sailing is a complete and total failure. After having been part of several previous Paralympic Cycles and dealing with USS, I figured out, It is a pile of shit. Then representing my local area and sitting on the So Cal PHRF Regional board. I realized no one really wants to fix anything. People get on the board and reside in various seats for a dozen years just so the can say "Bla Bla Bla, I was there." and pad their resumes. I could name one in particular, but I would be called out by the LGTBQUAXYZ org.  :eek: ;) :D

I do not understand why the US Regions do not file with World Sailing to separate from US sAiling. I think it would be for the best.

 

Pollination

Member
111
22
EC
A National PHRF Rating Committee should be in charge of assigning ratings to all identical boats. This pulls the regional politics out of it. I have been in the smoke filled rooms in the distant past and watched the political decisions made to eviscerate a boats value with one tip of the ash off a cigar. For example a stock production boat should rate the same in all regions.  A Tartan 10 is a Tartan 10, if you modify it, you take a hit. If it is stock, you are expected to have a perfect bottom, new sails and rigging. If you don't, then you should expect to get your Arse kicked. 

With no ability to check the facts at the time, the rating appeal system was based on flawed and politically charged misinformation.  These days, we have the technology to prove and expose the BS at our fingertips. 

When I was a local PHRF Rep, I could never buy a drink. I also remember, if you bought sails from another Rep, you were protected, protected.....please ignore that new mainsail, and can we give him a 3 second reduction, it was part of the deal.....

The owners sailing around under ORCi are not so happy these days BTW. 

 

Foredeck Shuffle

More of a Stoic Cynic, Anarchy Sounds Exhausting
"USSS is not interested".   TRUE!  because they follow the users... they only want the role of facilitator... not leader....    So...  the fuckery will continue because the users want it that way.  sailors have a dna based aversion to big sailing telling them what to do!

a national phrf system made sense 30 years ago to me...  and yet  fuckery will continue to the end of time..

Portsmouth is the worst rule to use for big boats... Portsmouth requires a fleet of one one design class defined as the yardstick and in the US system only the first boat of the fleet data is used... the class being handicapped also requires a fleet of one design boats and again only the first place boat data is used..    You need fleets of boats to make the statistics work.   So it would rarely apply to any handicap race in the states. and then of course you have  too many one offs and modifications to manage.   So garbage in and garbage out for ratings. 

Wind speed ratings allows you to define a performance curve with three points rather then a straight line... Makes sense to me but it seems to fluster a lot of clubs.
Portsmouth has calculations as well and an expectation of rating them against similar boats.  What you just described is how PHRF works.

 

robalex117

Super Anarchist
A National PHRF Rating Committee should be in charge of assigning ratings to all identical boats. This pulls the regional politics out of it. I have been in the smoke filled rooms in the distant past and watched the political decisions made to eviscerate a boats value with one tip of the ash off a cigar. For example a stock production boat should rate the same in all regions.  A Tartan 10 is a Tartan 10, if you modify it, you take a hit. If it is stock, you are expected to have a perfect bottom, new sails and rigging. If you don't, then you should expect to get your Arse kicked. 

With no ability to check the facts at the time, the rating appeal system was based on flawed and politically charged misinformation.  These days, we have the technology to prove and expose the BS at our fingertips. 

When I was a local PHRF Rep, I could never buy a drink. I also remember, if you bought sails from another Rep, you were protected, protected.....please ignore that new mainsail, and can we give him a 3 second reduction, it was part of the deal.....

The owners sailing around under ORCi are not so happy these days BTW. 
I agree with what you say regarding PHRF.  But not sure about ORCi.  What is the issue?    FYI I do sail under ORCi and would rather do that than sail under PHRF.

 

jerseyguy

Super Anarchist
There is not much difference between ToT and ToD as far as it effecting the results.

I ran a Wed night series for a couple of years and my hack friend with the scratch boat would complain to me that the numerator/denominator was wrong and if we used what he recommended he would have won. So each week I would have the scorer rerun the results for me with his formula and all that happened is the times got closer the results stayed the same.

I would even go 1 better and have the scorer run them time on time for me so I could tell him he still sucked.

In one race  out of 10 did the results change and move him from 4th to 3rd. 

When you suck you suck 
Back in the ‘90s our club had a discussion of changing from TOD to TOT.  Lots of opinions, few facts. So a couple of guys and I arbitrarily took 5 years of TOD results and converted them to TOT.  Some shuffling in the results at mid-pack and below, but the top boats remained the top boats. As you said, when you suck you suck

 
A National PHRF Rating Committee should be in charge of assigning ratings to all identical boats. This pulls the regional politics out of it.
There is a National PHRF Committee.  They publish a national ratings book.  It would be considered sacrilege if the PHRF National Committee tried to impose national  ratings on the regional RSAs . There would be an uproar likely led by PHRF anarchists screaming that their liberty has been infringed by the bureaucrats from Bristol.  The whole purpose of PHRF is that it is devolved and local.   "PHRF handicaps are assigned by committees associated with specific fleets. Handicaps are assigned to a given class considering predominant local conditions and experience based on observed performance "  PHRF is "historically used for USA casual fleet racing"

The national book includes all the handicaps from 60 regions, with median, mean and weighted averages.  Any PHRF sailor is perfectly capable of referring to the handbook to compare his or her rating relative to a particular boat in their region with the relative average difference on a national basis.

The  PHRF Committee is charged with the development and maintenance of the national rule, including the national appeals process. While handicaps are assigned locally, the national committee provides certain standards and guidelines to maintain a degree of consistency between fleets.

It is surprising to me that the people who moan the most about PHRF often seem to know the least about it.  The most important thing they need to know is that it is is intended to be "used for USA casual fleet racing"      Trying to use PHRF for something else is like trying to use a spinnaker for going upwind, it was not designed for that.

 
The other complaint I hear is that , "shock and horror" , it penalizes the better sailors and better prepared boats. Huh?     Have they not read the large print ?  "based on observed performance"

The role of PHRF, not unlike a golf handicap, is to level the playing field. If you spend a ton of money to improve your boat's performance within the local PHRF fleet, you should expect your rating to start falling, until the playing field is level with Joe's 4 k shitbox again.

Its fun guys. The results are meant to be a bit of a lottery, depending on who caught a shift or who was sailing a bit better than they normally do. Its not a measure of how good you are in absolute terms.

My observation of how PHRF ratings are amended is that its a bit like a Rugby scrum. The ball is tossed in. There is a lot of heaving and moaning. Then the ball pops out somewhere  in the general vicinity of where it started. There is a winner from the process, but the really hard work is ahead of you to determine what you do with that ball.

 

Tcatman

Super Anarchist
1,495
137
Chesapeake Bay
The role of PHRF, not unlike a golf handicap, is to level the playing field. If you spend a ton of money to improve your boat's performance within the local PHRF fleet, you should expect your rating to start falling, until the playing field is level with Joe's 4 k shitbox again.
Care to guess how many PHRF racers know this principle?..... even better... how many agree with it?

It's a bit like US Portsmouth and RYA Portsmouth.   The US believed that they could statistically determine the top performance independent of sailor by taking the first place finisher of each OD class and average 100 such results.   The RYA portmouth tosses the top finishers of the OD class and uses the next tier down for their statistics to make a table.   Their goal is to handicap the core fleet on the OD classs as well as the OD classes design performance to develop a handicap table..   Completely different understanding of what "sail to your rating"  means.  IP lore's description of PHRF aligns with RYA's version of portsmouth. 

IME,   All handicap racing is characterized by that  question... Did you sail to your boats rating today?..... (and so dicking around with a tacking duel with your one design competition will screw you with the fleet...because its a different game).     IMO,  there is a lot of magical thinking involved in eliminating the crew or YOUR CREW from "based on observed performance"  to your regions published handicap.   You want to believe it is JUST THE BOAT in that rating table.   

So.... How do you square up the .... did you sail to your boats rating today?... with "Its not a measure of how good you are in absolute terms"      Of course the two  snarky answers are... when you suck you suck.... or must be fuckery.    Perhaps using PHRF at KWRW and local PHRF in casual fleet racing without distinction creates smoke.

I think the best way to manage the smoke is to  explain handicap race results with any rating system is to express the delta's between the first place boat and your finish as the back calculated elapsed time...(Sailwave)   take the rating used that day and compute the actual seconds  you lost by....and then ask... OK... you lost by 30 seconds and you were 10 sec's off  on the start... or the fubar'd tack  cost you 10 additional seconds.      Similarly, when you look at a one design race score sheet...  Finish positions are misleading.    publish the  delta behind  in seconds to really get a sense of performance, mistakes and serendipity that give you that result.. 

 
Care to guess how many PHRF racers know this principle?..... even better... how many agree with it?

It's a bit like US Portsmouth and RYA Portsmouth.  
The Boston Yacht Club PHRF racing lived by that principle.  It was great when I lived there. If you finished in the top 3 you got time withdrawn from your handicap, automatically, no questions asked.  

If you were good enough to finish in the top 3 again the following Wednesday, the bar was raised again on your handicap until you stopped placing. Then the penalty rating would gradually erode over 3 weeks , until you got a podium again and you were hit with the rating penalty again. The penalty for third was much less than first so you could lurk on the fringes and then have a good day and get a bullet.  It was  fun, most people got a pickle dish at some stage of the Summer and winning the season was hard. 

US Portsmouth is useless.  RYA Portsmouth is useful.

Asking "Did you sail to your rating?" is the wrong question

 

JimC

Not actually an anarchist.
8,184
1,080
South East England
  The RYA portmouth tosses the top finishers of the OD class
It doesn't. 

It takes an average of about the top 2/3 of the fleet (the actual figure depends on the spread of finish times). Its effectively discarding the "long tail". This may include boats in conditions outside their preferred, eg results for foiling moths in sub foiling conditions are liable to be discarded. 
I reckon the end result is a pretty fair representation of the actual performance of the majority of the active fleet out in the clubs. 

-----------------

I once used published polar data for a handful of classes in a paper exercise to evaluate TOD and TOT against a theoretical race. The conclusion I came to was that they were both pretty poor and neither was notably better than the other.

Over the years I've come to believe that the "every dog has its day" nature of handicap racing is a strength rather than a weakness.  

 

Meat Wad

Super Anarchist
I think the best way to manage the smoke is to  explain handicap race results with any rating system is to express the delta's between the first place boat and your finish as the back calculated elapsed time...(Sailwave)   take the rating used that day and compute the actual seconds  you lost by....and then ask... OK... you lost by 30 seconds and you were 10 sec's off  on the start... or the fubar'd tack  cost you 10 additional seconds.      Similarly, when you look at a one design race score sheet...  Finish positions are misleading.    publish the  delta behind  in seconds to really get a sense of performance, mistakes and serendipity that give you that result.. 
I score our YC race races with Sailwave and the BCE is a great tool. When boats are seconds apart on corrected times, people feel great.  But in a fleet where they are minutes apart, I scratch my head and wonder why. It is usually, not enough crew, bad spin sets, gybes, tacks, starts or over standing the laylines,  bad driving and going to the wrong side matter too. That was all the things that matter in sailboat racing in a nutshell except for boat prep.

When we have our J24 OD races, the RC cals their times out and we show it on the score sheet. It is amazing to see a fleet of say 10 boats spread out over 5 minutes.

The BCR, back calculated rating can be ugly. I used to show it but now leave it off. The BCE lets people think about what they did wrong, for those that really care.

 

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