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TOPIC: Latest PY numbers

Latest PY numbers 4 years 5 months ago #1070

I see that the Blaze handicap has taken another hit, dropping by 6 to 1026. What bothers me more is the Wayfarer’s has increased by 11 to 1112. They were difficult to beat when their handicap was 1101 - be impossible now.

I thought the Wayfarer, being such an established class, had a reliable handicap. It was last changed in 2010 when it increased by 2 to 1101, and remained unchanged for the next four years. As recently as 2011 the Wayfarer’s handicap was listed as a secondary yardstick defined as:

“Portsmouth Numbers published by the RYA but not as consistently attested as Primary Yardsticks”

Also, the 2000’s (formerly the Laser 2000) handicap has just been increased by 10 to 1100. In 2011 their handicap was listed as a primary yardstick (Most reliable PY numbers enjoyed by boats such as Albacores, Enterprises, GP14s, Fireballs & Lasers, etc.) A primary yardstick is defined as:

“Portsmouth Numbers published by the RYA and well attested by many clubs over several years”

Given that the 2000 had a primary yardstick (very reliable) and the Wayfarer had a secondary yardstick (reliable, but based on less data than a primary yardstick), how can the RYA justify such large changes?
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Latest PY numbers 4 years 5 months ago #1071

  • whizsplash
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The whole system is based on race results.
So in essence, the blazes across the country (or at least at the clubs that submit results/returns) have done relatively well this last year compared to the previous handicap. Whereas the Wayfarer's across the country have done a little worse.

The whole system is based around averages and includes 'crew skill factor'.
So you could argue that the sailors have got better in the Blaze 'on average' and the sailors in the Wayfarer have got a little worse 'on average'.
Or it could just mean that conditions and courses suited the Blaze a little better last year.

The system's not perfect, but it does (for the most part) provide reasonably close racing across the classes on a variety of courses in a variety of different conditions.
Clubs can always adjust the handicap if it appears unfair due to your location/conditions.

I put some figures into a PY calculator. Now these are rudimentary as I put in 1 hour elapsed time for all boats to compare like for like.

Boat PY ElapsedTime Corrected Time
blaze 2013 1032 01:00:00 00:58:08
Blaze 2014 1026 01:00:00 00:58:29

Wayfarer 2013 1101 01:00:00 00:54:30
Wayfarer 2014 1112 01:00:00 00:53:57

The Blaze is now theoretically 21 seconds quicker for 1 hour's sailing.
The Wayfarer is now 33 seconds slower for 1 hour's sailing.

Personally I would look to my closer competitors and boat types to assess how well I've done. Some examples:

Finn 1050 -3
Laser 1088 +1
Phantom 1002 -10
N12 1068 -9
RS300 990 -5

Looking at those "non-spinnaker" boats that we can race properly against, we've all had adjustments. So the differences will be marginal. As for the others with spinnakers, I suggest that you have a quiet word with your rage officer and get a good white sail reach thrown in. That should negate any advantage they get ;)
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Latest PY numbers 4 years 4 months ago #1084

Thanks for the reply Rob.

I’m aware how the handicap system works but just stunned that some classes that have what is considered a reliable rating could change so dramatically.

You correctly point out that the system is based on averages. I think the average Blaze isn’t too far removed from any other Blaze (best or worst). We are lucky to enjoy a fairly level playing field, so our PY is fairly representative of most of the Blazes out there.

I don’t think the same can be said of the Wayfarer. On the one hand you’ve got knackered old school boats with tired sails - probably with smaller jibs and no spinnakers - being sailed by crews more used to cruising than racing. At the opposite end of the scale is the latest Hartley FRP boat, stiff as you like, down to weight with full Harken, etc., and with the recently enlarged spinnaker. This Wayfarer will sail well above it’s PY (class average) easily. At our club we have such a boat sailed by a very good sailor (used to winning races at the nationals) who pretty much won everything before the recent PY increase of eleven. I guess that’s handicap racing for you; as you say, the system isn’t perfect. The owner of the Wayfarer in question told me he was embarrassed by the change.

Fortunately, we’re up to nine Blazes at the Wilsonians now, so I look forward to some close class racing.

Kind regards

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Latest PY numbers 4 years 4 months ago #1085

  • Stewart609
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I don't think we'll be worrying too much about Wayfarers at Wilsonian this year. With 9 Blazes and it looks like 6 or 7 of those are keen we'll be having class racing most of the time.

But we could follow Whizsplash's suggestion and make sure our courses have plenty of tight reaches!
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