Topic : The RYA Portsmouth Yardstick - 2007

Have you not noticed the new PY number?

Posted: 24/02/2007 22:48:29
it says 1019. when was this published?

Posted: 24/02/2007 23:30:32
By: Mags
They kept that quiet!

Any other significant changes (Phantom, GP14)?

Posted: 25/02/2007 07:14:48
By: Chris
This is going to make it hard to compete against Albacores and Phantoms up here in Scotland, even using the age adjusted handicaps.
Its good news as it show the classes development is going the right way, and also shows the standards in the fleet are high.
bad news in that handicap racing for older boats just got tougher. Anyone interested in a second hand tin of silver polish?

Posted: 25/02/2007 13:36:44
By: hamish3321
There was some discussion previously on this forum about whether the age related handicaps should automatically change or not when the RYA adjust things like this.  If I recall correctly, our revered Chair was thinking of looking at this.

Posted: 25/02/2007 17:53:49
By: RichardT
it is on the committee agenda.
seems fair to have an internal relativity thet MROA decide.

Posted: 25/02/2007 18:40:19
Hang on Guys: two points? Puttting you just two points below what your equivalent PY was in 1995?

Firstly I think you need tto rework some club Handicap results and see how much difference two points usully makes (ie next to naff all)

And secondly, do you really believe you've improved boat speed so little since then?

Posted: 26/02/2007 09:01:07
By: JimC
Taking Jim at his word

- CYC Snowflake
R5 - Strong Winds, Out of the top 16 places, 7 Merlins, place 8 gets swapped with place 7 (Dalby loses to an RS200 by 2 seconds (Which may have been helmed by GGGGGG))
R12 - Medium Winds, top 16 places occupied by 12 Merlins, no changes
R13 - Light Winds, top 16 places occupied by 7 Merlins, no changes

So not exactly devasting impact, then.

I actually don't think that MR's have improved boat speed much since Winder Mk I.

Chambulls (yr 2000, Winder MKI with modified bilges and nose) feels as fast as ever and keeps on pace in the right hands.

I think that the Winder legacy is that there are a lot more Merlin Sailors with on teh pace equipment, and they have been practicing for a few years so are getting better, coupled with the legacy helms that have been top class for many years, the fleet is now attracting in other top helms due to the size of the competition and the availability of basically 'out the box' performance.

This increase in fleet CSF plus standardised performance of boats will push the average performance up and thus have a downward effect on handicap.

Posted: 26/02/2007 14:44:09
By: Alan F
However Alan, you also need to factor in the effect of the new spinnaker (measurement Rule), introduced after 2002, which everyone acknowledges has made a significant difference to off-wind boat speed under certain conditions.

Posted: 26/02/2007 19:00:14
By: Mike Anslow
True, forgot about that, as I benchmark against the rest of the fleet which all have the new spins (well nearly all)

Posted: 26/02/2007 19:17:32
By: Alan F
I don't believe it's all that the Merlin fleet is faster, just that clubs with active Merlin fleets are those that do the returns. What is needed is all the clubs, especially the small ones that don't bother, to get their act together and do the returns then the results will be fairer and maybe those handicap bandit Day Boats will feel the effects too!
How about an RYA list of clubs that have made returns? Or better still those that haven't so they can be pressurised?

Posted: 26/02/2007 19:48:00
By: Pat
is it still true that the PY committee ignore all the data from the likes of the Grafham Grand Prix, Bloody Mary, Hoo Freezer, Tiger Trophy, Steve Nicholoson Trophy, Starcross Steamer etc etc?

Posted: 27/02/2007 08:45:37
By: Scotty
Hi Scotty,

The panel do not ignore the results from these meetings, but unless the data is included in a 'return', the results are not incorporated into the raw data from which each year's recommendations are made. The results from events such as BM etc are in the background and may called as supplementary evidence to support the case for changing a number, but the results are so weather / CSF dependant that they are not really reliable indicators in themselves. You may recall the absolute hooly of a couple of years ago at the BM when a fireball won, sailed by Chips Howarth - being about the only boat who sailed in a competitive fashion, and then contrast that with the last couple of years when the Rater has had a big advantage in the light zephyrs, and the meatballs where absolutely nowhere! So, not reliable data, rather than not relevant data.

Just a thought about merlin results at Chichester: some of the 'merlins are the best yotters' effect, in addition to the points well made by Alan above, relate to the nature of the sailing water. The shifty winds, tidal water and smallish environment suits the merlin very well; we can react quickly to gusts and point high to make the best of the shifts, and also generate enough boat speed to make good progress over the tide on all points of sailing, giving us the best of all worlds. Other classes such as asymetrics may not get the best angles for them, longer trapeze boats (Javelin & Fireball) may not get the length of course to stretch their legs and reach optimum speed, and slower boats can lose out proportionately to the tide.

So it is not that the Merlin handicap is necessarily wrong, or better, it is also that the boat ideally suits the venue on most occasions, and it is not always the case. On a day when a 400 sailed by someone such as Colin Smith, gets the right angles off wind they can be very hard to beat..

This is an often forgetten element of the PY system, but is pertinent to a lot of clubs and events. On the open sea on a large course, will an Optimist ever beat a 505 if both are sailed by people of equivalent ability? Unlikely, I would suggest.

See you all at Chichester on Sunday!


Posted: 27/02/2007 13:47:16
Lets hope for moderate shifting winds and see if we can get 16 Merlins in the top 16!

Posted: 27/02/2007 14:31:43
By: Alan F
Well remember the impossible is possible at Chichester, for example Alex Jackson came 2nd and was the first Merlin in the last Snowflake.

Posted: 27/02/2007 15:06:25
By: Crew
Not impossible, just improbable,...very improbable.

Crew, I suggest you invest in a dictionary.

Posted: 27/02/2007 17:24:12
By: Alex
When does the new number apply from ?  Every time it changes I am asked this but I never seem to have got to the answer.

Posted: 27/02/2007 19:30:41
By: IanL
I love the Snowflake, its my favourite series....mainly because I came 4th in a race once. RESULT!!!!

Posted: 27/02/2007 21:35:52
By: Mags
was that fourth or forth?

Posted: 27/02/2007 23:33:30
By: john
Sadly the heady heights of the top 10 have been denied me since. Of course that's not because it was a fluke...I just haven't sailed much since then....oh, and the crew I had that day (wifey) has sworn off sailing for life.

Posted: 28/02/2007 13:46:40
By: Mags
IanL, i believe it is from when the list is published and certainly before most sailing clubs start their respective 'spring series'. So next weekend for most i would have thought. Fleet racing should make no difference however.

Posted: 28/02/2007 14:22:31
By: Superfluous
I would not moan about PY of 1019. For the last 2 years at Shoreham we sailed off 1000. As we kept winning this year they have dropped it to 980. That's quicker than a Fireball!

Personnaly I do think on open water a 1019 (1021 last year) is a bit high for modern Merlins, and PY of 1000 resulted in some very close racing at Shoreham. Will be intersting to see what 980 will do, certainly against other top sailors at Shoreham (e.g. top 5 Phantom helm).

Will update in a fews months

Posted: 01/03/2007 13:30:26
By: Ross
How many of us are top sailors? Many of us have a job sailing of 1055 even in new designs.

Posted: 01/03/2007 14:01:58
By: Slow boat
But the shoreham club handicaps cannot be based on overall boatspeed and must be heavily based on crew skill factor because there is no earthly way a merlin is faster than a fireball once there's a bit of breeze.

Perosnal handicaps are great and have their place, but the aim of the PY scheme is to enable two sailors of equal ability to sail differant classes on roughly equal terms.

I think the Merlin is getting a lot of undue grief these days as there are plenty of bandit classes out there that have had less adjustment than us - the Phantom for example though it had a slight cut last year.

A number of the primary yardstick sacred cows are no longer the classes that they were and should be adjusted, the GP14 and Solo to name two.

Posted: 01/03/2007 15:35:43
By: Chris M
and the Phantom, There sould be a wind strenght factor as well like in the sail board fleet.

Posted: 01/03/2007 16:12:07
By: DaveF
Although most of our racing is class racing at Whitstable, we used 1000 last year for our handicap trophy races and we all (including newcomers to the class) pretty much sailed to it.  The Musto Skiffs and Tornados could be a bit of a handful on handicap though in a breeze but not surprisingly we murdered them when it was light.  We will be using 1000 again this year.

Incidentally GGGG, we did not send in a PY return this year. Ours got returned as it was on the wrong form and the closing date was too near to re-do it. As Mike Fitz had abandoned us for SA, it fell to me to do it and I just found the whole thing too complicated. I am sure that is why so many clubs do not send in returns.

Posted: 01/03/2007 16:21:01
By: JC
Chris trying telling the committee that. Apparently the Shoreham club PY of 980 is based on the class and not level of sailors sailing them...... I would agree in a good breeze a well sailed Fireball is quicker than a Merlin round a course. Sadly there don't apear to be any of those at Shoreham to test that theory so here we are on 980 (at least as a test for the Spring series).

Posted: 02/03/2007 08:56:27
By: Ross
What PY is the top 5 phantom helm sailing off?

Posted: 02/03/2007 10:49:03
By: Chris
1045 last year, 1043 this year. Our 980 PY means have to pull out about 4 mins in an hour race.

Posted: 02/03/2007 10:59:16
By: Ross
what! does that mean we're not going to win every single series this year? That's just not fair ;)

Posted: 02/03/2007 12:41:12
By: dangerous
when i was RO for the last joint meeting with Fireballs and Merlins the leading boats were sailing a long course in the same time and the leading merlins were sailing thru the tail end fireballs having given them a 5 min start . While the Fireballs flew down the reaches they didn't seem to appreciate the Shoreham beats (long ) in a force 4-5 SW ly - some thing to do with the bow I believe !

Posted: 02/03/2007 14:36:57
By: whitstable pro
when i was RO for the last joint meeting with Fireballs and Merlins the leading boats were sailing a long course in the same time and the leading merlins were sailing thru the tail end fireballs having given them a 5 min start . While the Fireballs flew down the reaches they didn't seem to appreciate the Shoreham beats (long ) in a force 4-5 SW ly - some thing to do with the bow I believe !

Posted: 02/03/2007 14:37:02
By: whitstable pro
And how many times have the lead merlins caught up and passed the less able in Merlin Class racing? This doesn't mean that the stragglers have different handicap boats. Were the lead merlins still 5 min behind the lead Firebals, or more?

Posted: 02/03/2007 14:50:29
By: Slow boat
The PY number has to take into account river and puddle sailing as well as sea and open water. We can never sail to our handicap on the home puddle as the race officers tend to set courses for lasers with many short zig-zag reaches/runs downwind and one upwind beat. And I mean so short that there frequently isn't time to hoist and drop the kite before the next mark!
It's one reason we do so much travelling.

Posted: 02/03/2007 15:02:44
By: Pat 2121
re slow boat The leading merlins were exactly 5 mins behind the world fireball champion - they sailed the course in the same time

Posted: 04/03/2007 20:09:31
By: whitstable pro
We have been sailing off 1019 for years at Rutland.
Laser Radials are also on a lower handicap, Laser 1 get an extra minute. I stopped winning in the Europe when I started a 6 hour race 1 min infront of the Laser 1's.

Posted: 06/03/2007 19:32:58
By: Broz
Our club does not even recognise the age related handicaps! 3*** 31** 33** 34** all sail off the identical PY they dont understand how age and development have almost made sub classes within the class.

Posted: 06/03/2007 22:56:52
By: Parland Puddle Sailor


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