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  Yacht Handicaps

With my work on yacht racing results software I often get asked about yacht handicaps.  There is usually no easy answer to the questions posed.  However I have collected together a number of links to other sites that go into more detail.  Since I do my sailing in Scotland I have concentrated on links that are relevant, there is much more information available on the web - just use you favourite search engine.

Some of these links will change annually, if they stop working please let me know.  Also let me know if there are other sites providing useful information on yacht handicaps.

Handicap Formula's

It does not matter how the handicaps are calculated or how they are presented to the sailors, it all comes down to recording the elapsed time a yacht takes to complete the race and then modifying it to have a corrected time. The handicap is usually expressed as a Time Multiplication Factor (TMF).
                Corrected Time = Elapsed Time * TMF

Just a word of warning, for those searching through these lists to find a handicap for a particular type of yacht.  Different schemes that produce a TMF to convert the elapsed time to the corrected time may not always set the reference point at the same point.  Different schemes usually have different reference points so TMFs are not directly transferable between schemes.

Royal Yachting Association

The handicap scheme the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) runs is the Portsmouth Yardstick scheme.  This is widely used in club racing for dinghies, multihulls and smaller keelboats.  It is based on calculating the relative performance of the boats sailing in may different conditions.  The RYA affiliated Yacht Clubs in the UK make annual returns to which are processed to give the Portsmouth Yardstick Number (PY).  General information on the scheme and links to the current handicaps is available

Forth Yacht Clubs Association

The PY Numbers are generalised for all types of sailing waters, the Forth Yacht Clubs Association (FYCA) do most of their sailing in a tidal estuary.  Also the majority of the FYCA sailing concerns keelboats. However they still use the PY number as a convenient means of expressing the handicap. The list of current handicaps is available via the racing pages.

Port Edgar Yacht Club

Although based on the Portsmouth Yardstick scheme, Port Edgar Yacht Club (PEYC) use a modified scheme that give individual yachts their own handicap.  Called a rolling handicap it has produced some very close club level series racing in the past few years. Look at the race results pages for some analysis and performance trend information.

Clyde Yacht Clubs' Association

Over on the west coast of Scotland the Clyde Yacht Clubs' Association (CYCA) do more one design racing but also publish handicaps for mixed racing.  Their handicaps are expressed differently as minutes in the hours but with a simple formula can be converted to a TMF. Originally the handicap was calculated to the nearest quarter of a minute (in the hour). More recently this has not been found to be accurate enough and handicaps are now defined to 1/40th of a minute (in the hour). Some general information is available on the CYCA web site.

The formula to convert the CYCA handicaps is :
                TMF Handicap = (60 - CYCA Handicap) / 60
The result is then rounded to the nearest 3 decimal places.

Royal Ocean Racing Club

The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) supports the International Rating Certificate (IRC) system. This is a measurement system where many measurements (e.g. sizes and weights) are made and these put into a formula to come up with a rating. This is aimed at racing monohull yachts and there is a sister handicaping scheme for sportsboats, the Sportsboat Rule (SBR).

North East Rating Rule (NERR)

The North East Rating Rule (NERR) is another measurement handicap scheme. This is mainly used in the North East of England. Plenty of details on their website.


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