Classic pys for club racing

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Classic pys for club racing

Post by Nessa » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:52 am

At the next meeting of our Sailing Committee we will be discussing using cvrda pys (having done the relevant conversion sum) for eligible boats wishing to take part in club racing. The idea is to encourage older boats onto the race course by giving them a better chance against modern craft. Does anyone have any experience of doing this? We will mostly be looking at mirrors, geeps, my Finn, some wayfarers, but there are also two classic five ohs in the club, plus some older solos.

Is there a py out there for. a Mirror without a spinny, and what about Bermuda vs Gunter rig?

Will it all work?
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Re: Classic pys for club racing

Post by Rupert » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:39 pm

Hi Nessa, I've done this for several classes, and I believe Ed has too.

The reason we use 3 figure numbers, apart from being stuck in the past, is that they don't translate all that well. Many classes have got quicker over the years, with better sails, foils, rigs hulls, but because almost everything has got quicker for the same reasons, it hasn't shown up on the figures to any great extent. The prime example was always the Enterprise. Figures remained almost exactly translatable from the 60s, but bring a new 60s Ent through a time warp, and it would be outclassed by a 21st century model. The effects of the last 5 years of real timings being used will have altered things again.

Having said all that, giving classic handicaps within club racing is an excellent idea. Use the cvrda figures as a guide, and see what happens. For some classes, such as the Solo, it may be possible to go back to more recent times to pick up where the boats were before the influence of the FRP boats and very flashy sails.

There used to be a handicap for the Mirror single-handed without spinnaker, I vaguely remember. Not for 2 handed. It will make surprisingly little difference on a small lake. I'd try 20 points as an experiment on any figures you already have and see if it changes anything.

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Re: Classic pys for club racing

Post by davidh » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:48 pm


have done a lot of work on this for Merlins, 505s, Solos and more.

Taking the Solo as a good example - are you thinking of a sliding scale - ranging from the Winder FRP boats down through the ages to a Stone woodie from the 1960s. The differences, in percentage terms, are huge! Even between a well sorted, modern woodie - say, a Gosling and an FRP, we've seen a difference of about 4%. Yet this is such a poisoned chalice of a topic that I've shelved further development of the work.

Moving on to the MR, I just don't see any interest at all in a more enlightened approach; to them, a Merlin is a Merlin is a Merlin.

As many of the boats affected are not actually CVRDA legal, if you want to float this one over on one of the other forums, I think you'll probably get a wider response there.

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Re: Classic pys for club racing

Post by PeterV » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:25 pm

Nessa, 1071 is what Roadford use for a classic Finn, it seems to work well and other clubs have also used this number successfully. With a carbon mast and Mylar sail split the difference with a modern handicap, again used successfully by several clubs.
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Re: Classic pys for club racing

Post by Mikey » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:30 pm

I seem to remember discussing handicaps at length with Dougal and coming out with a P Y of 1062 for War Horse. M/R 1939. Handicaping can prove difficult in development classes particularly for a one off design.


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Re: Classic pys for club racing

Post by JimC » Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:56 pm

Its a minefield... Rupert is exactly right about there being no comparison between a 1965 Enterprise and a 2015 Enterprise. Almost every class has got faster over the decades, even ignoring rule changes. Its one reason why the Laser looks slower than it used to be. Then also there are improved techniques, more for some classes than others.

There are two separate issues. The first is design and rule changes. To my mind this is best coming from the CA, and what we did with the Cherubs was to go back through rule and development changes and pick eras, and then publish a table of what the PY was for that class in that era. Several development classes do much the same, the glaring exception being the Merlin, whose old boat handicap numbers are to my mind eccentric in the extreme.

The second issue is the one of all old boats being slow, especially as they tend to tired sails and poor setup, as well as everything else. Not only is that 1965 Enterprise clapped out, but the smart money is that its also not nearly as well set up as it was when it won the Nationals in 1966... And then old tired boats are probably not sailed by the best sailors, or tuned up, all the rest of it. The differentials are phenomenal when you do the sums.

My personal feeling is that the best solution is a data driven personal handicap, preferably in a dual scored series. Then you don't have to worry about what's the boat, what's the sailor, what's the setup. It all washes out in the mix, and a sailor who is personally improving or sails out of his skin on the day will get the chocolates.

Failing that, if you wanted something more boat driven, oh, its hard. Supposing you say, OK, lets give it ten points a year. But top quality foam sandwich boats can be as good as new for ten or fifteen years if well maintained. Don't want to give one of them 150 points. I think I'd have a good look at my club data, see if I could calculate a n points per year, 10 might do it, and then maybe exclude foam sandwich boats, carbon spars, boats with new sails in the last 3 seasons, and other things like that. The trouble is there starts being an element of smoke filled rooms about it. Note that you'd have to add this number on top of allowances for classes which have rational design change handicaps, because old development boats will be slow for both reasons.

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Re: Classic pys for club racing

Post by chris » Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:55 pm

I have been using the RYA pyonline system for py for several years now in Shearwater This is where your clubs data is entered and then the RYA calculate numbers for your boats at your club. They are specific to your water, which makes sense to me and seems to be accepted by our sailors. Up till now previous sailing secs have always taken the published numbers as sacrosanct. Half our races are pursuits so they don’t produce data and occasionally we don’t have enough finishers for the RYA to use. They need at least four finishers I think. Because of this it has been quite slow to build up enough data for the numbers to have much of a confidence factor.
I think you know Shearwater and it is more restricted than most venues. I would say that when a club has just one or two examples of a class the data must inevitably include a larger than desirable dose of crew skill.
We have two elderly mirrors, well looked after though, they have been sailing off 1374 though I think it will increase to their favour after this years data. They don’t use spinnakers and sailed single handed.
I sail Merlin 507 off 1063 and next years data is sugg3ting1068 .i enter the data as Classic Merlin so that the data does not contribute the modern Merlin handicap.
Vintage merlins come out as 1082, these do not get sailed with upto date rigs or sails.
Just for comparison lasers have changed to 1087.

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Re: Classic pys for club racing

Post by Rupert » Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:53 am

Interesting stats, Chris.

In terms of the movement of cvrda handicaps, I'd imagine that Pat has the most useful information, as it always seems to be her laptop out at events, crunching the numbers.

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Re: Classic pys for club racing

Post by corkman » Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:10 pm

If you really want to complicate matters, have a look at US Sailing's Portsmouth Yardstick (D-PN) numbers which makes adjustment for Wind Strength, weight and much else! Some clubs change handicap based on the result of the current race (Port Edgar) - what matters is that everyone should have a chance, after all when you sail a Classic boat, we sail for fun!

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