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Classic Boat PY's

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: Dinghy classes
Forum Name: Dinghy development
Forum Discription: The latest moves in the dinghy market
URL: http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=199
Printed Date: 02 Dec 20 at 7:22pm
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Topic: Classic Boat PY's
Posted By: Ian S
Subject: Classic Boat PY's
Date Posted: 11 Aug 04 at 1:04pm

What's the general concensus regarding a different (slower) PY for Classic Boats?

We often hear from certain classes that the older boats cannot compete against the newer ones which may have a different hull shape, and that accordingly in order to encourage people to buy and race older boats within that class, these older boats should receive some form of PY amendment.

For me certain points begin to stand out:

1) The PY of the class is a combination of both the older and newer boats, rather than the old boats being slower, perhaps the new boats are simply faster and so they should have a different (faster) PY. The existing PY could then continue for the older boats.

2). The better sailors in any class tend to be more serious about the sport and invest more of their time and money in it, ending up with newer boats. Older boats may be sailed by less committed sailors and therefore whilst the boats may be competitive, their crews perhaps aren't.

3). A lot of the so called Classic boats are little more than sheds, with 20 year old foils, sails and rigs. A poor condition boat will never be competitive, altering it's PY will then give it an unfair advantage over boats both within it's own class and those in other classes if handicap racing.

The concept of classic PY's will increasingly become more and more prevelant within our sport, I feel it is only a matter of time before classes like the Enterprises and GP's start to consider the issue, and what about old Lasers, Toppers and Mirrors.

Whilst classic or novice categories within a class are all well and good, when a classic PY for one class gives it an unfair advantage over boats in a different class it becomes a different issue.

 

ciao

 

Ian

 




Replies:
Posted By: redback
Date Posted: 11 Aug 04 at 1:28pm

If it encourages sailing all well and good.  However I think the maths are probably suspect.  I imagine the RYA hardly collect enough data to provide an accurate PY for any class - let alone sub classes.  Further the relative performance of different boats in different wind strengths varies enormously.

We are in danger of this all getting too time consuming and a distraction from what we are really trying to achieve.

My advice - get yourself a boat which is just faster than you can handle and learn how to race it.



Posted By: fizzicist
Date Posted: 11 Aug 04 at 3:41pm

A bit OT, but what happened to the mutterings of PY's changing with the wind strengths that I heard so much about years back. Look at the relative performance of a Vortex in a F2 and the a F6!

 

I stand by redback's comments - get something you can't cope with and learn - it's more fun than arguing about who beat who in a  slow boat.



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Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and
oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital
ingredient in beer.


Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 11 Aug 04 at 4:59pm

Surely sailing a boat you enjoy sailing is the point? Some enjoy being stretched by the boat, others prefer tight compitition in a simpler boat. Still others just like the feel/look of the boat they sail.

As far as classic Portsmouth Numbers go, if you sail a boat designed before 1965 and more than 25 years old, why not come to a Classic and Vintage Racing Dinghy Association event? We use modified 1965 handicaps, so bypassing the problems above. Boats range from Vintage N12s through Fireflies and other Fairey boats, to classic racing machines like Hornets, Ospreys and Jollyboats. Wood or GRP welcome.

The next event is over the August bank holiday at Roadford Lake in Devon. Racing on the water is competitive for some and more relaxed for others, as befits classic handicap sailing.

Expect a warm welcome, and don't worry if your boat is the "shed" described above. CVRDA is about using boats, not polishing them. Mind you, beautiful boats also take part!

Find more on http://www.cvrda.org.uk - www.cvrda.org.uk



Posted By: redback
Date Posted: 11 Aug 04 at 7:17pm

I aplaud what the CRVDA is doing, and if I had my old Scorpion 625 I'd be there.  I wouldn't be worrying about the handicap though, getting the right side of a windshift makes more difference than a few points on the PY.

As it is, I lust after the next chance to sail my 4000.

A small question, if all the boats are old, surely its their relative performance that counts - has that changed over the years, or have they all got slower together? 



Posted By: jeffers
Date Posted: 11 Aug 04 at 9:27pm

I think what you also need to think about is the change in construction techniques and materials as welll as differences in masts and sails (it is a complicated formula).

Take the Fireball (for example) to all intents and purposes a one design hull which must meet a set of measuring criteria. Now because the Fireball was originally designed as a homebuild boat there are large tolerances on some on the more vital measurements.

At the moment the trend if for 'wide' bow boats which go much better in waves as they have more bouyancy in the bow than a 'narrow' bow boat. Also conside that the modern boats are foam sandwich/kevlar/exposy hulls versus wood. There are a couple of wide bow wooden boats around and they are nowhere near as fast as their 'plastic' counterparts.

As for the comments on older boats being shed with out of date foils/sails etc.. just take a look at the classic Fireballs which do the circuit, we have news sails, fully adjustable rigs, new(ish) foils.

I will freely admit that we are not at National Champion level but recognition of the fact that older boats make up the majority of most classes today (there are some 1000 'wide' Fireballs worldwide and potentially 14,000 'narrow'. If people are so short sighted and 'snobbish' to say 'thou shalt have a new boat or shut up' then in my opinion that is samaging to the class and the sport of sailing.

If you look round most clubs these days there are more shoe string sailors than chequebook sailors and anything which can encourage people out on the water is a good thing.

It does need to be carefully watched where it happens though so we don't get the ridiculous situation where a brand new boat simply cannot win (I believe this has happened in certain yacht classes).

Perjaps some of you may wish to also take a peek at the Fastsail site and look at the PY related discussions in the forum there, they make interesting reading and only time will tell if they work (but they seem ti be working well).

Just my 2p...



Posted By: Chris 249
Date Posted: 12 Aug 04 at 1:06am
re "it's more fun than arguing about who beat who in a  slow boat."

Isn't "slow" totally relative??? From the perspective of many people's current rides,  Ficcicist's RS 300 is "a slow boat"......

Surely Rupert's point is correct. Enjoy what you enjoy. I've got one of the fastest singlehanded rides around, but I'd prefer to race a Radial.


Posted By: fizzicist
Date Posted: 12 Aug 04 at 8:15am

slow is of course relative - but who here can honestly put their hand up and say that a heron is exciting to sail?!

What I am getting at is that I've spent the last 10 year sailing Lasers and going home in a less than great mood if I haven't finished in the top 3. Since getting the 300 the game has changed massively, the biggest challenge is sailing it properly and keeping it the right way up in a blow. As a result I'm having more fun than I ever have in a wetsuit...



-------------
Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and
oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital
ingredient in beer.


Posted By: Garry
Date Posted: 12 Aug 04 at 8:16am

There are several problems with the portsmouth system - the biggest is that the handicap is based on club returns to the RYA.  This means the following:

1. The allocated number is based on the average sailor sailing the average condition boat at the clubs that have the time and resources to make a return.

2. The system doesn't adjust for the distribution of this data or provide any correction for the variance.  This means that development classes, which would have a skewed distribution are treated the same as a strict one-design that might have a very narrow typical normal distribution.

3.  There are probably not enough data for a lot of classes to be statistically significant and therefore any corrections are suspect.

All this is before considering differences between venue, wind strength etc.

There might be a solution that would improve things, certainly worth investigating.

1. All affiliated clubs must make a return

2. Special events (like the bloody Mary etc) where it is known that the top sailors in each class will be competing in a handicap race make a special return that has a higher weighting in the returns analysis.

3. All open meetings and nationals and club class races provide a return of position and age (this would allow correction for skew in the return for that class).

4. Every 5 years the RYA conduct trials using say the top 5 sailors in the main classes to collect on-the-water data. By focusing on the best sailors the problem of average class ability also being reflected in the handicap is eliminated.

This would be complicated and resource intensive for the RYA, but once set up would give better data to compile the handicaps from. Thus allowing different numbers for age / venue / ability to be compiled from the raw data.  It would still be imperfect and based on averages but hopefully fairer than the current system.



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Garry

Lark 2252, Contender 298

www.cuckoos.eclipse.co.uk


Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 12 Aug 04 at 11:31am
Originally posted by Garry

which would have a skewed distribution are treated the same as a strict one-design that might have a very narrow typical normal distribution.



Except they don't - Last time I looked at the figures the returns for the Firefly - a tight rules boat with similar performance in most conditions - were far wider than those for the Cherub which is an open rules boat with a big variation in different weather conditions and locations.
Here are some http://www.sailingsource.com/cherub/ryapysem.htm - notes I wrote up a few years ago about how the system works. Having gone into it in some detail (and thinking that we got a raw deal) I actually came out satisfied that its probably as good a system as we can get. I have no confidence at all that a trials system would add anything.

The other thing that has to be understood is that all this stuff about one designs having closer racing is a complete myth. In any class you care to name the differences between sailors ability are enormous compared to any difference in boat speed. The typical championship fleet has apparently something like a 20% spread in finishing times - equivalent to 200 points of yardstick. For some more notes on that http://www.sailingsource.com/cherub/crewspd.htm - read this ...
ANother example is that at my club we currently give the Solo Class about 15 points extra PY. A Solo has just won our major series, to be greeted with complaints about "gift handicaps" from the Laser fleet. So I reworked the results for the standard published numbers, and the Solo ended up 2nd by one point to an RS400, and still beat all the Lasers...


Posted By: Ian S
Date Posted: 12 Aug 04 at 12:34pm

Originally posted by JimC

The other thing that has to be understood is that all this stuff about one designs having closer racing is a complete myth. In any class you care to name the differences between sailors ability are enormous compared to any difference in boat speed. ..

Surely this is what is supposed to happen though? the plus for one design racing being that 2 well maintained boats should react the same in any given condition dependant upon the skill of the crew in reacting to those conditions.

If we accept that the (identical) boats will react in pretty much an identical manner than crew skill becomes the determining factor.

In handicap racing a laser will react quicker to a wind shift than will a GP14 with a spinnaker up. In one design racing a GP sailing in so little wind it can't use it's spinnaker will not be handicapped relevant to other GPs sailing that also can't use their spinnaker - it will suffer though in handicap racing when compared to a boat that doesn't have one and which isn't being handicapped by not being able to use it.

But then again no one ever claimed handicap racing was accurate or fair :-)

ciao

Ian



Posted By: Garry
Date Posted: 12 Aug 04 at 1:23pm

[/QUOTE]
Except they don't - Last time I looked at the figures the returns for the Firefly - a tight rules boat with similar performance in most conditions - were far wider than those for the Cherub which is an open rules boat with a big variation in different weather conditions and locations.
[/QUOTE]

I agree that the handicap system in many cases only makes small differences to the results.  When I was talking about skew I was refering to finishing position ranked against boat age.  Aren't the returns already averaged and so a study of RYA data would tend towards normality because of the central limit theorem (this is all becoming a bit statistically technical - we could debate further offline if you wish).

The two points I really want to make are 1. If we want a fairer handicaps then the RYA needs to collect lots of raw data and get a statistician to look at the correlation between performance, class and age...  2. The current handicap system works on averages and so there will be a lot of discrepencies because our spot is so varied.



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Garry

Lark 2252, Contender 298

www.cuckoos.eclipse.co.uk


Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 12 Aug 04 at 3:52pm
Originally posted by redback

A small question, if all the boats are old, surely its their relative performance that counts - has that changed over the years, or have they all got slower together? 

A complex problem. I sail a Firefly, which while the sails aren't in the first flush of youth, are pretty good, and she has a fixed mast. Other Fireflies have Ratsey sails and Reynolds masts. And fireflies are relatively easy to deal with compared to the development classes. We adjust handicaps to, we hope, give sailors of equal ability the chance of winning, whether the boat is a racing machine that happens to be old, or a boat kept as original. There is alot of debate among those who care about such things in the fleet concerning what modifications to make. Most of the fleet are just happy to be given a number, and feel the real race is on the water, whether it be a well sailed merlin keeping up with a Jollyboat, or 2 Pegasus' battling it out.



Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 12 Aug 04 at 7:31pm
Originally posted by Garry

The two points I really want to make are 1. If we want a fairer handicaps then the RYA needs to collect lots of raw data and get a statistician to look at the correlation between performance, class and age...  2. The current handicap system works on averages and so there will be a lot of discrepencies because our spot is so varied.



You need to see one of the RYA presentations on the nuts and bolts of the system. You'll be imptressed - I was! Its really quite complex. But you've got to figure that unless they were to employ several hundred people to go to the clubs and do the results for them then there are limitations to the data they are going to get. With a 50% rate of returns they can't make the return much more complex because then people won't do the return at all, and the statistical validity goes through the floor. They're working on this with things like a method to enable scoring systems to automatically create returns - its in Sailwave for instance. But if you conmsider trying to get in boat age - grief, many sailors don't know how old their boat is, let alone their club!



Posted By: Granite
Date Posted: 13 Aug 04 at 1:29pm

I think that one of the reasons why there is such a veriety of boats in the UK that are regularly raced agaist oneanother is because the PY system works well. Considering the difficulties that they have to cope with.



Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 13 Aug 04 at 8:28pm

I agree. Don't forget, the RYA tell us  (the clubs) to alter numbers to suit local conditions. This also goes for boat ages. The best thing class associations can do is give recommendations of alterations on their websites, so the poor *** who has to make decisions at a club firstly has data, and secondly something to send the whingers off to look at when they get fed up being beaten by an old boat being sailed by a very good helm. As the data starts to be used by the clubs, returns will get sent to the RYA (we hope!) and the RYA will possibly be able to make some sense of it all! Until the handicaps for classic boats are being used regularly by clubs, the RYA surely can do nothing.



Posted By: Hector
Date Posted: 03 Feb 05 at 6:09pm

This may not be the right forum but seems to be the best about PYs. I agree with the earlier suggestion that major handicap events could be used as a 'return' to aid the RYA with adjusting handicaps. As these events are (predominantly) attended by good  / top end sailors from various classes they are certainly more relevant than a return from say Puddleduck S C where the local hot shot happens to sail a Maidupclass really well thus depressing the handicap for all Maidupclass sailors but also raising the handicaps of 'whatever' classe(s) he thrashes.

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.

Anyone up to the task?



Posted By: Garry
Date Posted: 03 Feb 05 at 8:43pm
Hector

The problem with this is it might drastically skew the results for the average sailor with easy to sail boats coming out best (smallest variation)! Its also not a statistically sound approach.

You could run a series of trials with a random selection of sailors all sailing each boat in a number of varying length races in varying conditions - but I'd have to give it some thought before I would suggest that might be a better or even statistically sound approach.

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Garry

Lark 2252, Contender 298

www.cuckoos.eclipse.co.uk


Posted By: redback
Date Posted: 03 Feb 05 at 10:03pm
What do they do in other countries?  I think we have forum members from France, US and Australia out there - what happens in your country?


Posted By: Chris 249
Date Posted: 03 Feb 05 at 10:13pm
In Oz, the main yardstick figures come from one state (Victoria) but I think the compilers demand more information about the race (course length, wind, angles, sea conditions etc IIRC) than in the UK IIRC. So it's such a hassle that few people put them in. I don't think there's a Crew Skill Factor but I think you have to put a note in for national champions etc.

As a result, some classes can be badly skewed. On my IC, I have a worse handicap than the AC in the UK, probably because there are only two ICs in Victoria and one finished 6th in the worlds and the other is normally faster! So the handicap is skewed badly by the fact that we must be the only class where all the numbers are created from guys in the top 10 in the world.

The Moths had the opposite "problem". For years there were no narrow skiffs racing in clubs that did returns, so the yardstick stayed about 10% higher than the Moths thought they should be.

At my old club's major regatta we used to get guys like the 2 time world Contender champ, 3 time world Flying Dutchman champ and 3 time world Moth champ plus a Laser Masters runner-up on a Tasar, the Fireball that was 4th in the worlds, IIRC, the former Sharpie champ etc etc etc. All these boats on one  course and two lines in open water was perfect for adjusting the yardstick - but IIRC  the handicapper never saw any change in the final yardstick as a result of his input and the input was such a hassle to prepare he gave it up.


Posted By: JimC
Date 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.





Posted By: Bruce Starbuck
Date 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.

 



Posted By: Blobby
Date 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.



Posted By: Bruce Starbuck
Date 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.

 

 



Posted By: Blobby
Date 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.



Posted By: Chris 249
Date 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?



Posted By: JimC
Date 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.


Posted By: Scooby_simon
Date Posted: 04 Feb 05 at 12:57pm
Use a boat measurement based handicap system.  You know it makes sense.

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Posted By: Granite
Date 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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If it doesn't break it's too heavy; if it does it wasn't built right


Posted By: Bruce Starbuck
Date 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.



Posted By: Garry
Date Posted: 06 Feb 05 at 7:53pm
It wouldn't be difficult to take the results from the Grafham GP and a few similar events, calculate a set of new handicaps and compare these to the published list. I suspect they would be very similar.

Bruce, what basis would you base your handicap system on and how would you demonstrate it was fair? Look at the discrepencies that occured with the IOR, CHS and whatever the latest measurement based offshore flavour is.

A statistical approach is the soundest way to determine the handicap, its the experiment to collect the data that is crucial. Do we want the RYA to spend sevral thousands (of our money) running a different experiment? Given the stability of the PNs in the system for most classes suggests that the system isn't performing that badly. There is a problem with the development classes but local handicaps could address that, I agree the RYA could do more to promote adjusting handicaps.

If you used a system based on boat design I see two problems: Firstly designs will try to maximise their handicaps and may lead to some oddities and secondly a boat that gets a poor relative handicap will die as a class. I would prefer to see more effort going into adjusting class handicaps at a local level for local conditions.

-------------
Garry

Lark 2252, Contender 298

www.cuckoos.eclipse.co.uk


Posted By: Bruce Starbuck
Date Posted: 06 Feb 05 at 10:04pm

[QUOTE=Garry]Bruce, what basis would you base your handicap system on and how would you demonstrate it was fair? QUOTE]

It would be based on the current returns system PLUS the opinions of half a dozen selected dinghy sailors sitting in a smokey room with a big pot of coffee on the table. The next year's sailing would demonstrate if it was fair or not.

The current returns-based system is a good start, but it has severe limitations with regard to the ability of the sailors. What we have is not a representation of the relative performances of boats, but of boats and the sailors who sail them. As you can't quantify sailor ability, then I'm forced to think that human opinion should be used to try and take it out of the equation. Normally I'm the last person to advocate more committees, but I can't see any other way to start moving handicaps around a bit more energetically.

I think also that the system needs to revolve around one fixed boat in the centre of the performance spectrum. The laser would be the logical choice because it is universally available and popular, isn't going to die out and has virtually no development. All the other classes should have a rating which is worked out relative to that.



Posted By: Chris 249
Date Posted: 07 Feb 05 at 12:34am
I thought the returns to the YA included a "Crew Skill Factor" which was supposed to account for sailing ability?

Not that I really know how you assess CSF precisely....I don't know whether I'm a  better sailor in Radials than I am in Windsurfers or Mistrals or Tasars or Int Canoes etc etc, so I can't work out how other people could work out well sailed a Tasar is v a Radial v an IC v a Mistrat etc etc.  Chris Nicholson says he's often surprised by the difficulty of working out (from their past performance and first impressions) how well a new team will go in 49ers; the boat just suits some people more than others of similar backgrounds. So you can't even say "X is a 29er champ and Y was 5th in 29ers, therefore X must be sailing a 49er better than Y is sailing an RS 800"....if you get my drift, can't be bothered to explain it better.


Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 11 Feb 05 at 10:16pm
Back in the old days, the firefly stayed at 100 and all other classes moved around it. I'm not sure why the system changed, but presumebly the RYA had their reasons. The numbers were revamped (the firefly went to 124) because otherwise the Tornado handicap was getting so low it was silly, and at that point the fixed datum was scrapped.


Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 11 Feb 05 at 11:36pm
Originally posted by Rupert

at that point the fixed datum was scrapped.

Actually there are five classes whose PY hasn't changed in thirty years, allowing for the changes in the relative numbers. They are Wayfarer, Enterprise, Solo, Heron, Mirror. The GP14 and Laser are close behind, having changed by 1 point the year after the current 4 figure numbers came in. Firefly data for some reason is wildly varianble - the returns fom clubs varies more than most development classes!


Posted By: big man
Date Posted: 14 Feb 05 at 3:53pm
do you know how hard working out pys is? i made a programme to do it for my a-levels in IT. It is imensly hard! and to add more confusion by splitting up classes wud perhaps take it too far. but i agree with you about boats changing and going faster it would make fairer racing. but if i use the scorpion class as an example. the old stewart design is often faster on flat water going up wind but the newer design allows for easier plaining and plaining up wind to be accomplished alot easier. the whole subject is 6 of one and half a dozen of the other. sure the newer boats are faster but isnt that the same in all clases?

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keep it flat you t***


Posted By: DiscoBall
Date Posted: 14 Feb 05 at 7:19pm
Hello,

finally got the computer back in one piece...

I've got to agree with Jim, there's nothing particularly wrong with the PY system.  Handicap will always be a bit of a bodge job and trying to make it 'fairer' is a dangerous road:  Just look at big boat sailing, IMS was supposed to be a properly scientific (!) handicapping system but after a fraught, politicky 15 years they're all back to a good old single number handicap system with all its warts....

PYs for classic boats is a can of worms, if you go on hull age or design then someone can stick a more up to date rig/sails on it and outpace the handicap.  I like the CVRDA system for Roadford of having to voluntarily declare on your entry how 'souped up' your boat is with the handicap being adjusted accordingly...

T


Posted By: Wave Rider
Date Posted: 14 Feb 05 at 7:20pm
True but with one design boats Handicap is going to be way more effective isnt it

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           -[Franko]-
Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club
           RS600 933


Posted By: Hector
Date Posted: 25 Feb 05 at 2:02pm

 

JIM C said
"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
."

The original point I was trying to make was that bearing in mind that the main problem with the PY system is the lack of good and sufficient data going into it, events such as the Grafham GP or the Tiger trophy present the best opportunities to compare the relative performance of numerous different classes.

Most club returns simply can't and don't do this. Good old Puddleduck SC may for instance have a  'competitive'  fleet of Vagos (I pick this only because it has no history so I won't be upsetting anyone - yet). Also sailing are a few old Ents, Lasers, Twelves and Mirrors and even fewer Herons, a Europe and the odd Pico, Topper etc. Note - only the Vago is generally well sailed - all the others are sailed intermittently largely by people who largely 'join in' the racing rather than really competing. Don't tell me this isn't a common situation - I see it at several clubs around the country. The return for that club will be 'slewed' against the Vago because it's generally sailed more competitively and hence generally better - not because its genuinely that much faster than its currrent yardstick.  I accept that any Yardstick system will do this but don't accept JimCs assertion that the results of an event such as the Tiger are less statistically sound than an average club.

Yes the Tiger results are for one day and hence fewer conditions - BUT this year we had between F1 and F3 over the three Saturday races and last year F3 -F5 so in just two years we have covered it  - and over several classes. Take our fictional Vagos - the return from the Tiger sailed in a variety of conditions against sveral other equally competitive boats would surely be at least if not more valid than that from Puddleduck SC.

Finally how can anyone argue that the results from the Tiger (around 600 starts), The Grafham GP (again around 600) The Birkett (around 450) etc are not at least as statistically sound as returns from 90% of clubs.  By using a couple or more years results, the returns would be based on over 1000 starts for each event!

Anther important point is that most sailors will trust these returns - whereas those from some clubs for some classes are thought of as 'slewed'.

So again I ask why the results from these single (and in most sailors minds , most important) handicap events can't form the basis of a return to the RYA?



Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 25 Feb 05 at 4:33pm

[QUOTE]
Actually there are five classes whose PY hasn't changed in thirty years, allowing for the changes in the relative numbers. They are Wayfarer, Enterprise, Solo, Heron, Mirror.

The Solo handicap really hasn't changed? Fully battened sail technology must have increased the boat's speed enormously.

The main arguement about big events being better than small clubs misses the fact that there are maybe 5 or 6 big events, but hundreds of clubs like puddleducks SC, sailing week in week out. So, you will find many different boats being the choice of the hotshots at the different clubs, and so it all should balance out. Provided clubs make their returns. Also, there is nothing to say that just because you enter the bloody mary you are actually sailing the boat any better than joe bloggs at puddleducks SC, but you are competing against national champions, so CSF will be an even greater factor.

By the way, the CVRDA system at roadford also involves a wander around the boatpark to assess the boats. We are working on the system, though, as it tends to be that the more modernized boats are sailed by the keen racing helms, whereas the as original boats are sailed by people who maybe spend more time mending than sailing. So even with corrections made for tune, the modernized boats still usually do best. How to correct this (or if we need to at all) only adds to the enjoyment of sailing in a classic mixed fleet - at least for those who care about such things!



Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 25 Feb 05 at 5:59pm
Originally posted by Rupert

[QUOTE]

The Solo handicap really hasn't changed? Fully battened sail technology must have increased the boat's speed enormously.



The Solo has had fully battened sails since the 1950s! While there are clever things you can do with fully battened rigs these days that they didn't know about back then,(see square top thread) they all rely on changing the sail planform, and the Solo is one design so that doesn't happen! I doubt that the advances in soft sails since then have been any less than the advances possible to the Solo one design rig.



Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 26 Feb 05 at 5:56pm
Having sailed Solos with both 1960's wooden battened sails, and modern sails, I would say the changes have been far greater than in the Firefly or the Enterprise since man made fibres came in. The amount of control has as much to do with the qualities of the sailcloth as it does with its shape, or we would all still be using dacron, or even cotton.


Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 27 Feb 05 at 1:01pm
Originally posted by Rupert

Having sailed Solos with both 1960's wooden battened sails, and modern sails, I would say the changes have been far greater than in the Firefly or the Enterprise since man made fibres came in.


Dunno, don't forget with modern battens and sail materials you don't get that awful "batten poke" at the inner end of the battens on Enterprise sails that you used to as soon as they had the slightest bit of stretch. That's a big advantage for soft sails that Solos don't get because they never had that problem anyway.


Posted By: Hector
Date Posted: 03 Apr 05 at 12:59am
No response to my post of 25th February - does that mean you all agree - the RYA should use the data from each of the big events as an extra source of PY returns?


Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 04 Apr 05 at 5:19pm
I would have thought that these clubs make returns for their season to the RYA (at least I hope they do) in which case the results from the big races will be included in their data, and will presumebly affect the recommendations they make on their forms. But the big races should have no more influence than that, as they show how the boats behave in one particular location on one day with one set of weather conditions. Puddleducks SC have a whole year of conditions, and 100 versions of Puddleducks SC all over the country have lots more locations in which to collect data. Just make sure your sailing sec sends in returns if they use the system. Or volunteer to do the job for him or her!



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