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Handicapping Proposal

Handicapping Proposal

I have been frustrated for years by our WLSC races and the finish order. As a previous spectator, I remember we used to try and pick winners from shore,  except you weren’t allowed to pick a Hobiecat as it was a given it was going to cross the line first. This says something to me…
Last week we saw what is typical for our club… Catamarans finish first as a group, followed by lasers or mono-hulls. As a Hobie pilot.. I can tell you this ins’t because of my sailing skills. While I think its fairly obvious that the Hobie owners are more handsome,  are they really better sailors?       Absolutely not.
I really consider myself racing other Hobies as a measurement for the day.  I enjoy racing other Cats so much, Ill come to your cottage and rig your boat for you (Murray, Steve, Sean…) if you cant find the time. No Hobie should sit during race day!!!!
Here are the facts:
  • Multi hulls have less water resistance.
  • Hobies have double the sail area
  • Hobies have jibs which increase lift across the main which helps in speed.
  • Hobies have rake-able masts and rig adjustments for the conditions far greater than a Laser.
  • Hobies can point higher then a laser (sail closer to the wind) eliminating tacks.
  • Multi hulls are also harder to turn,  and tend to stall in irons as the hulls fight against each other during the turn.
  • Lasers turn easily 4 times faster then a Hobie.
  • Lasers can recover from errors faster, flips, mis-tacks…
  • Lasers sail faster in lighter winds…
Condition changes during a race can have effects on finish order. Look at last year’s Grand Sail for example: A Hobie led the entire race until the final leg into the wind, the wind dropped, and the Hobie stalled while a Laser closed the gap and passed to grab the win.
The thought at the club has traditionally been, In the BIG early summer winds.. the Hobies will win, in the lighter late summer air, the Lasers will win… so it all evens out.
So I’m asking…. do you agree?
I don’t think i do. I think the Hobies as a class beat the lasers every time. This has been what I have seen. Maybe the new Hobie sailors are better at tuning for lower late summer winds?
So here is what I am proposing. My goal is IMPROVEMENT and more participation. Nowhere in the world do Hobies compete directly against Lasers. the physics are different, but different classes do race the same course using HANDICAPPING.
Now the historical members might groan at this idea as being old and tried and a pain… maybe so. I think its good for us to review these things to determine if there might be a better way. This isn’t screwing with things.. its testing to ensure we are doing things right. We either determine we have the best system in place now, (which is good news) or we experience a change and move forward.  So I’m going to propose we do just that this year.
Proposal for WLSC handicapping: (looking for your feedback here!!!)
  • Single sail boats start first.
  • Double sail mono hulls start next 2 minutes later
  • Double sail Catamaran’s start 8? minutes later.
This doesn’t affect the double sail or single sail championships – they remain class based. But it will give Laser teams a shot at Grand Sail, Rounds the Islands, and Grand Champion trophies.
I am proposing we start handicapping this weekend for Race 2 our first standard race of the season.
So what do you think?
Want to give it a try?
It might make things feel more competitive…
The Race Committee.


3 thoughts on “Handicapping Proposal

  1. The official system for handicapping one boat against another is the Portsmouth System. Its very easy to apply, based on wind and recording times.
    I suggest we use this…
    A page link is above if you are interested in reading about it…

    For example, a Laser has a rating of 91.1, and an Hobie16 has a rating of 76.0. If an Hobie takes 51 min to finish a given course, and a Laser takes 60 min , the handicapped times are:
    Laser: 60 min × 100 / 91.1 = 65.9 min corrected time
    Hobie16: 51 min × 100 / 76 = 67.1 min corrected time
    So the Laser, although it took longer to finish the course, would be declared the winner.

    Posted by bareeves | July 6, 2011, 3:53 pm
  2. Chris Reinsborough

    Here are my thoughts based on what they do in car racing (one of the hobbies I picked up from 11 years ago). They run multiple car classes in the same race with the same start. Obviously outside of overall position, you are racing only against cars in your class. So in theory you could do something similar, keep the starts all the same, and let people just race each other in class vs all the boats.


    Posted by bareeves | July 6, 2011, 5:19 pm
  3. Handicapping seems to make sense to me and if it’s the standard – then I agree with it. However, I’m happy to go with the majority as I will likely not be near the finish line first no matter what my handicap! 🙂

    Posted by Jane | July 7, 2011, 12:27 pm

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