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JimC View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Feb 05 at 10:22pm
Originally posted by Hector


Has anyone thought of actually doing the exercise - that is going to say the Grafham GP site and working out the various PYs acheived?. Do several events - last weeks Steve Nicholson and this weekends Tiger Trophy for instance and the accuracy increases.




I did something like this some years ago and I came to the conclusion the output was hopelessly skewed by weather conditions and other factors and had a tiny fraction of the statistical validity of the current system. You'll also find that in fact different fleets turn up with quide widely differing levels of sailors as far as Championdship results go. The variation in speed between different boats of the same class is so big compared to between boats of vaguely similar classes that you just need as much data as possible.



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Post Options Post Options   Quote Bruce Starbuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Feb 05 at 12:27am

Surely the results from all the big winter handicap events should be fed into the consideration process somehow. They provide a far better platform for comparison than the results of the evening series at "Puddleduck SC"!

I think it's been established that the relative skill of the sailors is by far the most important factor, but it's also the one thing that can't be measured, which leads me to believe that the best way to update the PYs is for a small RYA committee to meet once a year, say at the end of February after all the winter events, and review and adjust all the handicaps as they see fit.

These could be published to coincide with the Dinghy show. It would be cool if they changed about more than they do at present; it'd spice it up a bit and be a good talking point at Ally Pally.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Blobby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Feb 05 at 12:49am

I used to sail at Port Dickson SC in Malaysia.  They used to have a helm handicap system there for series races, with boat handicaps only applying for trophy races.  This had two very good benefits - one it encouraged sailors to do the club series as anyone who sailed better than their normal level could win the series, but the best helms still got their names on the trophies.

However, this system also lets you see numerically the difference in the suitability of a boat for the conditions and the relative skill of the crews.

For example, two sailors were generally acepted to be of equal ability, fitness and skill.  BUT their personal handicaps differed by about 3%.  This was seen to be a reflection of how suited the two classes they sailed were to the particular conditions.

A helm handicap system is very simple to manage for a club or a class, it also highlights skill differences between fleets and between classes.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Bruce Starbuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Feb 05 at 2:49am

Hmm, I'm not in favour of any form of helm handicapping, except for one-off club fun days maybe. Life's just not like that; why should someone be marked down for being good?

It's like in the Krypton Factor, when they used to let the fat ones go first on the assault course! What was that all about??!! 

Same applies to "classic" handicaps too, in my opinion. I get the idea, but I'm not comfortable with the idea of someone being punished for having a good boat, and others being rewarded for having a rubbish boat.

It all reminds me of the non-competitive school sports day scenario, when none of the kids are allowed to lose, in case they get upset or mentally scarred! Surely having a competitive boat is part of the game, and is something to strive towards.

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Blobby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Feb 05 at 3:48am

I agree - excellence should be recognised, rewarded and encouraged.  However, I think there are benefits in encouraging anybody who wants to sail and race and this seemed a well thought out and effective system.

The balance of the system was pretty good in this case.  At PDYC, series racing was held alternate weekends with trophy races between.  So in 1 year you had 4 quarterly series and 26 trophy races.  The helm handicap system applied to 50% of the races, but only 12% of the prizes.  Plenty of reward there for the top sailors.  BUT also, plenty of encouragement for those new to the scene and those looking to improve.

As with all sports, you look to set goals for the season.  Having a helm handicap system gives you another way of measuring it - someones aim for the season could be to reduce their handicap by 10points.  It also gives you a great guide for awarding the "most improved sailor" trophy.

I don't know if this is a system you could operate at national or open meeting level within a class that effectively, but at club level it did work.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Chris 249 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Feb 05 at 6:44am
Handicaps like that are very common here in Oz. They're even used in national championships in many classes, and they give people some sort of recognition for improving performance. What's the problem with sharing the joy?



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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Feb 05 at 10:58am
Originally posted by Bruce Starbuck

Surely the results from all the big winter handicap events should be fed into the consideration process somehow. They provide a far better platform for comparison than the results of the evening series at "Puddleduck SC"!



They can (and should) be fed into the results just like any other event in the organising club's return. But why do you think they should be a better platform than Puddleduck SCs evening series? The big events I've looked at haven't looked any more helpful than my club evening series in working out a meaningful handicap. Far less in fact because our evening series is many more races in many more conditions.

Originally posted by Bruce Starbuck


I think it's been established that the relative skill of the sailors is by far the most important factor, but it's also the one thing that can't be measured, which leads me to believe that the best way to update the PYs is for a small RYA committee to meet once a year, say at the end of February after all the winter events, and review and adjust all the handicaps as they see fit.


These could be published to coincide with the Dinghy show. It would be cool if they changed about more than they do at present; it'd spice it up a bit and be a good talking point at Ally Pally.



Well they do pretty much that, except that it is very firmly statistically based and no nonsense of the "XYZs have a gift handicap - we'd better change it" type. The reason most of them don't change much is because the data is pretty good, all things being considered.

I used to have a *lot* of doubts about the PY system, and some of the things that used to happen to my own Class' handicap in particular. However I've examined it in detail, gone to the seminars, talked to some of the people involved, seen some of the data etc. As a result I'm convinced that the RYA are doing the best possible job within the inherent limitations of the system. If you can find several hundred thousand quid there is doubtless more that could be done, but without that the system really is as good as you're going to get. The best way to improve the system is to make sure your club putrs a decent effort into its PN return each year.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Scooby_simon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Feb 05 at 12:57pm
Use a boat measurement based handicap system.  You know it makes sense.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Granite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Feb 05 at 1:31pm

A measurement system is unlikely to work in dinghy's because the performance is non linear. There is significant performance change you get when the boat starts to plane. Hull shape has a significant impact on this.

If you look at the Cherubs the older 70's early 80's boats had much more rocker and were quicker in the light stuff than the later boats that were designed to get on the plane ealier. In the light stuff you could keep up with the more modern boats easily, however once they started to plane they just dissapeared. As the wind increased more the older designs would start to plane as well but it needed more to get going.

The Differences in hull shape were extremely subtle for any sort of measurement system to pick out but quite significant on the race couse in the sort of wind that is normally experianced.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Bruce Starbuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Feb 05 at 6:59pm

Originally posted by JimC

But why do you think they should be a better platform than Puddleduck SCs evening series? The big events I've looked at haven't looked any more helpful than my club evening series in working out a meaningful handicap. Far less in fact because our evening series is many more races in many more conditions.

Because the biggest variable we are dealing with, the ability of the sailors, will be more transparent at a big event with lots of good sailors in it. The sailors taking part in a club evening series could be any standard whatsoever, indeed, this is not even disclosed or taken into account. This means any attempt to lift a purely statistically-based return from the club races is totally meaningless if we are trying to represent the relative performances of the boats only, and not the sailors in them.

At the big winter events, the relative standards of the sailors is there to see and can be taken into account too, and the differences between the top sailors in each class will be smaller. You can assume that Chips Howarth is approximately the same standard as Nick Craig, who is approximately the same standard as Geoff Carveth, who is approximately the same standard as Richard Whitworth, who is approximately the same standard as Jim Hunt etc. They are all very good sailors, who would be capable of winning a nationals in a number of classes.

Originally posted by JimC


Well they do pretty much that, except that it is very firmly statistically based and no nonsense of the "XYZs have a gift handicap - we'd better change it" type.

I think it's a fundamentally flawed approach to have a purely statistically-based handicap system.

No system will be faultless, and it's not the intention of handicap racing to provide perfect racing. I think any system though, should strive towards a situation where every class is capable of winning a big handicap event in the right hands, in one certain set of conditions.

At present, there isn't a sailor or a set of conditions or circumstances which would ever result in a Laser winning the Bloody Mary or the Grafham GP. Not in a million years would this happen, so obviously there is something wrong here. I think this is an example of where a committee needs to be involved to say "enough's enough." and put a few handicaps right.

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