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The Publisher

Jun 13, 2011, 10:40 AM

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By Steve Pyatt

Whilst most one-design sailors participate for the level playing field that class competition provides, some classes also use personal handicaps to encourage those further down in the rankings. The Zephyr class in New Zealand is an old Des Townson design, and amid its resurgence with several Olympians and AC guys getting them, we have developed a simple handicapping system that is keeping everyone engaged.

Rather than a system using time-on-time personal handicaps and a race committee to take finish times, our system is based on seeding all sailors from recent performance. This is easier to do than establishing time differentials (requires observations over a variety of conditions) as everyone knows their place in the ‘pecking order’.

When scoring the regatta, each team’s overall place is then compared to the seeding to provide a difference (delta). The sailor with the largest negative delta is the handicap winner (i.e. has achieved a result further above their ‘usual’ place in the fleet than anyone else). Any ties are broken in favour of the highest ranked of those with equal deltas overall.

The seeding approach has many advantages over the time based systems:
- It is far simpler and easier to set up than establishing time differentials.
- It is very quick and easy to calculate results.
- It means that the top guys can’t win on handicap however far ahead they are (the top seed would have to do better than win the regatta…impossible), which is what it is all about ( i.e. encouraging mid fleet competitors).
- It means that sailors who obtain a huge time differential when the fleet spreads out don’t dominate the handicap results.
- It rewards those who genuinely have a good regatta but aren’t up in the main prizes.

When we hosted the Auckland Championship, the winner was eight places above their seeding whist the majority of the fleet were on or within a place of ‘Par’. By finishing seventh overall, they won on handicap.

The scorecard is attached.
Attachments: Akld Champs 2011 Handicaps.doc (38.0 KB)