Handicap Meeting 23/03/2017

Royal Windermere Yacht Club

Handicap Committee Meeting Minutes


Meeting Date and Time:     23 March 2017 at 1830hrs

Meeting Venue:                   Royal Windermere Yacht Club




Matt Nield       


Dinghy Class Captain




Ian Bertram 


Dinghy Class Secretary




John Richardson


Fleet Member




James Nield 


Fleet Member




Ian Taylor       


Committee Chair

1)    Scope of Handicap Committee


This being the first meeting of this Committee it was thought necessary to define the scope of interest and Committee structure.  The following broad points were decided upon as relevant for inclusion:


a)    Boat Handicap Rating

b)    Scoring Mechanism for Handicap races

c)    Race Management and Race Format

In addition, it was decided that, for the time being, the Committee structure would remain at the five persons currently present and that future meetings must include all five persons.

JN and MN will communicate with other RWYC entities to ensure that all appropriate persons and groups are fully appraised of the discussions of this Committee.

2)    Handicap Rating


It was recognised that there are various systems currently in use across the country including:


  • RYA Portsmouth Yardstick
  • Great Lakes
  • Local Variations e.g. Leigh and Lowton SC


It was agreed that Handicap Racing will always be a compromise and that no single system will ever be perfect in all situations.  It was stated that the RYA publish their figures on an annual basis for Clubs to use as they (the Clubs) see as most suitable for their own local conditions.  Most Clubs use the figures as published without amendment but, in compliance with the recommendations of the RYA, many use the figures as a benchmark and go on to formulate their own figures to take into account local conditions.

The Great Lakes system was accepted as being probably the most suitable for use at RWYC.  It has been “refined over a number of years” and has been found to “work well for large flat-water venues where a beat of one kilometre is typical” (greatlakes.org.uk).

However, it was recognised that any decision regarding Handicap Racing at RWYC must be evidence-based and, therefore, the following was decided:

a)    RWYC will initially use the RYA published figures for all Handicap Racing.  This system will be used for the compilation and publication of the formal racing results.  IB will use Sailwave for this purpose.


b)    IT will compile a parallel set of results on Sailwave using the Great Lakes figures.  These results will not be published but will be used later during the sailing season for comparison with the results in a) above.


c)    IB will submit all results in a) above to the RYA using the RYA Online Tool.  This will produce a list of recommended changes to the Handicap figures for various boats at RWYC.  This will provide further evidence for consideration of any changes at a later stage.


3)    Scoring Mechanism


Some discussion took place regarding the scoring mechanisms that have been used over the past few years.  It was agreed that Handicap Racing at RWYC had now reached a stage of maturity and that a consistent approach could now be adopted and applied to all RWYC Handicap Races.  Accordingly, the following was agreed:


a)    Only sailors eligible for winning the relevant trophy will be included in the scoring for that trophy.  Other sailors, e.g. Windermere School, who are not fully paid up RWYC Members will not be included in the scoring for the trophy; they will, however, be included in the unofficial race and overall scoring for personal/school reference purposes.


b)    The points score for “DNC” will be consistently applied as “the maximum number of boats that came to the start area in any one race plus 2”.  The points to be awarded for all other status codes e.g. DNS, DNF etc will be as described in the Racing Rules for Sailing.  It was recognised that this will change the overall running positions during a series but individual race results will be unaffected.  The DNC points method as described in Racing Rules for Sailing (entries to the series plus 1) was thought to be unsuitable due to ad-hoc individual entries to a very limited number of races causing a very high series entry and, therefore, an unreasonably high DNC score.


c)    The Discards formula of “25% (rounded down) of races sailed” to be applied to all series from the first race (rather than a fixed figure applied at the end of a series).  This will show a realistic running overall score during a series.


d)    A Qualification formula of “1/3 (rounded down) of races sailed” to be applied to all series from the first race.  This will show a realistic running overall picture during a series to indicate those sailors who have sailed on enough occasions to be considered for a position in the overall results.  It was thought that this will encourage sailors to participate in races (and, therefore, qualify) rather than to race in a limited number of races purely for the race position points.


e)    IB and IT to liaise and ensure that Sailwave is configured to reflect all of the above.


4)    Date and Time of Next Meeting


Wednesday 31 May 2017 1830hrs at RWYC