Handicap Racing Explained
We use the RYA's Portsmouth Yardstick Handicap system and with a handicap system the finishing times of each boat taking part are adjusted to take into account the performance characteristics of each boat class. On balance, the best method we have of managing races with multiple classes.
Along with the Handicap Scheme, the RYA has also developed a method of running handicap races based on the average lap time of each boat. At Stewartby, this means we can fix the length of races and helps ensure we get 3 good races in each Sunday.
For race officers and competitors there are seven key features of an "ALR" race:
- Races are run over for a fixed time. 1 hour for us.
- The start line and finish line are the same. In-fact the line should make a good finish line. This might result in a shorter than the ideal start line.
- Boats must pass through the line on each lap. This ensures that all boats sail similar distances and each lap times is recorded. I'm afraid the race officer is not technically wrong if he fails to make this clear on the course board.
- The 'shorten-course' signal is actually known as the "about to finish" (ATF) signal in Average lap racing. The signal is made correctly when the boat "about to finish" is on the last leg of the course. This means the signal is made AFTER the boat rounds the last mark, not before.
- All boats crossing the line after the ATF signal is made have finished and must be given a time. You may wait for boats to cross the line and continue onwards for another lap before giving the signal if you wish.
- Once you have made the ATF signal any boat crossing the line has finished. If there are boats on the final leg that you wish to complete a further lap you should wait until they are clear of the line before making the signal to avoid confusion.
- Race officers should plan courses so that the fastest boats complete at least 3 laps before finishing.
- Boats of the same class should finish on the same number of laps. Particular attention should be paid if the wind dies completely during the race. There is a procedure to follow to correct times for those who did not complete the one 'extra' lap.
Last updated 10:09 on 19 March 2018