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RYA to introduce new handicap scheme

RYA has introduced a new rating system and there will be some webinars online to discuss this in more detail, but it may require clubs to have their own sail measurers. To that end, in Northern Ireland they have organised a sail measurer course 28th January and a talk about growing keelboat racing the evening before by RYA technical manager. Similar courses and talks are being organised across the UK.

Since the pandemic there has been a boost in numbers of people getting afloat - mostly sailors relatively new to the sport - and the RYA and the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) are keen to encourage as many keelboat and cruiser-racer sailors as possible to enjoy racing at their clubs or local regattas. Recognising the need for, and current lack of, an entry level rating system, the RYA and RORC have joined forces with the South West Yacht Time Correction Factor (YTC) rating system to develop and roll out a new initiative: the RYA YTC, powered by RORC Rating.

YTC has been developed over recent years by a group of volunteers, initially based in Falmouth but now more widely spread across the South West, to rate the wide variety of cruiser/racer yachts to be found racing in clubs so that they can race against each other easily, competitively and fairly. YTC is based on the statistical models developed by Linda Wolstenholme of Emsworth Slipper SC, but the system has developed significantly since the early days and, for those clubs who wish to use it, a means to introduce more accurate results-based club handicapping.

The YTC team, led by RYA SW Regional Chair Chris Davis, is now supporting the RYA and RORC to enable a seamless transfer for existing users and to allow the system to be implemented nationally.

The system differs from the existing RYA National Handicap for Cruisers (NHC) by providing a rating rule based on the physical measurements of a boat rather than a handicap which is responsive to performance and changes depending on an individual boat’s results.

For those sailors who want to then progress further, the new RYA YTC, powered by RORC Rating Office, will also act as a stepping-stone to IRC racing. Clubs are being encouraged to share the details with their cruising/racing fleets this summer ahead of a full roll out of the new system in 2023.

Niall McLeod, RYA Racing Services Manager, said: “YTC is popular across a wide range of clubs in Falmouth, Fowey, Torbay, Dartmouth and elsewhere in the South West - so we’re taking what is working well in the South West to roll it out nationally and will be urging more clubs to adopt it in 2023 and beyond.

“Although we currently have the NHC National Handicap for Cruisers there’s been a gap for a simple, effective and free entry level rating system which sits under IRC. One of the main challenges we had with NHC was it needed yachts to compete in several races before the mathematical model would stabilise, so it was not well suited to clubs which may have sporadic or irregular competitors in their fleets. As the RYA YTC powered by RORC Rating Office is a rating system, then the same number can be used by the same boat at different clubs or in different fleets and it is easy to understand for those who may only compete a handful of times throughout the year.

“Those already using the South West YTC will notice no real change this year and since most other clubs will have already decided what they are doing in 2022, the aim is to have a soft launch of the new system this year with a drive to support clubs to adopt it in 2023.”

The RYA YTC powered by RORC Rating was unveiled last month, which you can read about here. Any clubs wanting to know more are welcome to get in touch with RYA Racing. Further information, including for boat owners interested in obtaining an RYA YTC rating, is available at:

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