Historic PY numbers

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WM3000
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Historic PY numbers

Post by WM3000 » Mon Nov 17, 2014 6:19 pm

I'm not sure whether this quite fits in with the topic of this forum, but I'll have a go...

I'm currently trying to get together some PY adjustments for my sailing club, to adjust for age of boat within a design (you know how the newer boats in some of the "one design" classes seem to be much faster the way the are built and rigged now...). Definitely trying to do something like the cvrda handicap system, but also accounting for boats that are not vintage, classic or even classy, just sailing on an inappropriate handicap because they are not built/rigged with loads of carbon fibre/composites etc.

The obvious starting point for this is a list of the RYA PY numbers over the years; which is proving difficult to get hold of. I've contacted the RYA and they really don't have a file called "Portsmouth Yardsticks" which they add a new item to each year. All they could do is go right back through their archives, which are in various buildings, and dig them out one by one. Which they can't afford the time to do.

So here's the question, does anyone know anyone who has all the RYA PY historic records sitting in a filing cabinet somewhere? Does a historic record already exist anywhere? Or do I need to build it myself (I'm happy to do that and get it online)? I think it would be a shame if it didn't exist.

If no-one seems to have a complete record, does anyone have any RYA PY records from any time before 2002 please? I'm happy to collect them year by year if I need to!

Many thanks,
Sue
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Rupert
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Re: Historic PY numbers

Post by Rupert » Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:18 pm

JimC may be your man for this.

I do have them from books dating from the 60's, 70's and 90's, but not as a list, so could help with individual queries.

Another problem can be PY creep. Boats in general have got quicker over the years (better cut sails, better controls, stiffer hulls) but as most boats have done so, you might not see the speed changes in the system. For instance, if you took a 1970 Enterprise straight from the box, unused, and raced it against a 2014 boat, it will be slower, yet the Ent handicap has been pretty steady. So you might need to adjust things to reflect what you are seeing on the water.

It would be great if there was a way of bringing up handicaps online for a class year by year, though.
Rupert

Pat
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Re: Historic PY numbers

Post by Pat » Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:42 pm

Rupert wrote:It would be great if there was a way of bringing up handicaps online for a class year by year, though.
If I had the data, that wouldn't be difficult.
(Half Cut and What a Lark Removals Ltd)

WM3000
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Re: Historic PY numbers

Post by WM3000 » Mon Nov 17, 2014 8:18 pm

Thank you for the replies so far.

In terms of part 2 of the exercise - getting a generalised age related PY "scheme" together - to be honest I was going to look at the data I managed to get hold of and see what it showed!

I was hoping that by using the Lasers and any other class that was v strict one design, I could juggle figures around, and then try to see how they fitted against "old boat" handicaps for the classes that produce them (eg N12s, Merlin Rockets). With probably a few added fiddle factors. It may work, it may not, but you're not going to know until you try it out.

I wasn't planning on anything very accurate, too much to hope for, just something that could be used for certain special events in a season, or secondary prizes.

Sue
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JimC
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Re: Historic PY numbers

Post by JimC » Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:11 pm

I don't know of a complete list, but I do know for a fact the RYA don't have one. I've been trying to assemble one, but am currently missing late 60s and much of 70s and early 80s. Unfortunately I'm away from and don't have access right now.

That's an immense task you're taking on. I want to try and see if there's a relationship between foam hulls carbon spars laminate sails and the big PY changes some classes have seen recently, but I'm struggling with how to get excel to do it.

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Re: Historic PY numbers

Post by JimC » Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:15 pm

Ps IMHO the Merlin old boat handicaps are of minimal use as they bear no resemblance to the handicaps the boats had when new. They massively favour a 35 year old Merlin over a Solo or E'prise of the same age.

WM3000
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Re: Historic PY numbers

Post by WM3000 » Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:26 pm

JimC - I'm glad to hear someone else thought it would be a useful thing to try and do! It would be great if you could give me some data at some stage - and see if pooling our efforts may come up with a solution between us. As I've said, I'm up for spending a wodge of time on the project whilst the nights are dark and horrid.

Thank you also for hints about what not to use -ie Merlin Rocket old boat data unless with extreme caution!

I'm signing off for the evening but will hopefully be back on the site tomorrow (evening).

Sue
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Ed
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Re: Historic PY numbers

Post by Ed » Wed Nov 19, 2014 5:20 pm

mmmmm......

I feel like I am standing in front of a great big hornets nest with a bloody great stick thinking .....shall I give it a good poke.

Sue, although I totally understand where you are coming from......and completely understand your wish to do so......we have talked and talked and talked on this one over the years.

I started like you thinking, surely we could come up with some 'open', 'repeatable' system that would provide classic boats with a sensible modern handicap, that would allow them to race fairly within modern fleets....

.... I am afraid that after considering this for 15 years, I just don't think it is possible to do it in a standardised way. If you try to make sense of this in one fleet, as the Merlins have, then as JimC says, it makes no sense outside that. The range of what is called 'classic' is so wide, from the complete rebuilds with carbon everything right through to bendy original boats on wood spars and cotton sails.

You could find the figures, but I don't think they would help you give fair racing for old against new boats in a mixed fleet. They would simply give a set of rules which would encourage people to look for the loop-holes and 'handicap-bandits'.

Just establish a handicap officer at the club and watch the boats and by judging results you can quickly come to a ball-park figure. The only thing I suggest from experience.....is once you set a PY. let the boat settle into it for a while. There is nothing more depressing than starting with a PY, and then every time you get a good result having someone come over and say: "Ah, now about your handicap.....you see....."

So, have I managed to get around the hornets nest, or is it poked? Jim? Dougal? others? :-)

eib
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Michael Brigg
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Re: Historic PY numbers

Post by Michael Brigg » Wed Nov 19, 2014 6:40 pm

You can poke it all you like at the moment Ed, hornets are all hibernating at this time of the year.

Best give it a poke @ August, some time before the National rally. Thats when the bandits get stung most! :D


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Re: Historic PY numbers

Post by davidh » Wed Nov 19, 2014 8:17 pm

Sue,

As others have said, Jim C is very much the man who knows best the ins and outs of the PY system. But that said, it is not a topic to be afraid of. There are a few very good clichés, chief of which would be to 'do unto others what one would wish for yourself'.

Fairness and transparency are the two most crucial elements of whatever you do. I have to say that from a practical point of view, I tried most of the obvious 'tweaks' and have found that the one thing to steer clearest off is the dreaded 'personal handicap'. After all, it ought to work (golf is dependant on the scheme) but it seems that in sailing, it can quickly become a charter for mediocrity. Ed, in an earlier post (whilst poking the sleeping Hornet's nest) has said it already. You work on your boat to get it right, you sail well, only instead of getting a reward, you actually get a penalty. I could give you a personal example; as I mainly sail on the sea and in boisterous conditions, I like nothing more than a good windy thrash. So, you blast around whilst others are either swimming or heading for the shore, get a hard won win, the PY gets hit, then the next weekend it is 'lite and Sh*te' - conditions that have never been my forte, but I'm now racing with an even harder PY to sail too. In the meantime, Mr. Mediocre, who never actually wins, continues to ramp up minor places, without ever actually having to improve. Personal Handicaps don't ultimately help him, as I've said, they are the reward for those who won't try harder.

Jim's other issue, with the Merlin Rocket PY...well, that is not just Ed's Hornet nest, but a huge can of worms and a sleeping Rottweiler all in one. If you want a soundbite, from someone who has just spent two years documenting the history of the class, what they have now is no longer fit for purpose. There are some of us Merlin owners who are trying to come up with something better, but that is more alone the lines of 'private enterprise'; however, if you wish for more details feel free to email me.

Personally, I think the PYAG (the group within the RYA that run the PY scheme) are doing a pretty good job and in the main, PYs today reflect the reality of performance. But they remain 'advisory'; if you sail on a tidal, open water area, then a system similar to that run by Hayling Island, where a mathematical formula progressively increases the PY of the faster boats is a great example. If you run on a very restricted stretch of water such as the Avon at Bath, the reverse might well be in order.

The RYA encourage us to actively manage our PYs at Clubs, yet sadly all too few bother. It is far easier to say that the system is wrong, the PYAG are wrong, or that boat X is a bandit. Good luck and let us know how you get on!

Dougal
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Re: Historic PY numbers

Post by Rupert » Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:58 pm

The 2 things - not making handicaps "personal" and changing the RYA's handicaps at club level, cannot work together at a small club. Where there are only one or 2 boats of any particular class at a club, any changes become personal. That is why many clubs don't do it.

However, that isn't what the OP wants to do, I think. Can old boats be fairly handicapped against new ones? In club racing, no, I don't think so. Why should someone who spends some money be penalized, and someone sailing an old crock be rewarded? How do you tell the difference on the water of someone sailing a "classic" and someone sailing an old piece of junk? Or are they actually one and the same?!

So not only aren't historic handicaps accurate against new ones, as the system hasn't stayed in one place, but time hasn't treated all classes the same either. A 50 year old Firefly will happily sail to a modern handicap, a 50 year old Solo will be beaten out of sight.
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Re: Historic PY numbers

Post by Ed » Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:05 pm

Perfectly put Rupert!

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Re: Historic PY numbers

Post by JimC » Thu Nov 20, 2014 6:47 am

My club dual scores a couple of series with personal handicaps. There are various ways you can use the things.

The two that make most sense to me are
1. to lock the handicap at a point in time, and then use the locked handicaps for a whole series. This is effectively an improvers trophy for that series.
2. To update the handicaps regularly, and award prizes for individual races. This is 'who was outstanding on the day' prizes.
There are others...

The interesting thing about them is that they balance out factors that are hard to deal with in other ways. The trouble with calculating standard Py is that we are trying to establish relative performance of boats when sailor speed and maintenance condition both vary. That makes it tricky. With personal handicaps we don't have to worry about that.
If you are sailing 10% faster than last season you'll be in contention for the improvers series whether yourboat is old or new...

One observation of mine is that sometimes when people are unhappy about the idea there may be confusion or disagreement about what the system is doing. One of the ones I find bizarre which is neverless popular in its home club is one where they have a pursuit series where the handicap changes aren't great enough to majorly change the order, but are enough to greatly condense the fleet at the end of the race, so the best sailors still win, the learners are stillbirth, but they all tend to finish on the same leg and get in for supper togather...

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Re: Historic PY numbers

Post by Pat » Thu Nov 20, 2014 6:59 am

The best approach I can recommend is to treat the older boats as separate classes and give them each a PY that you guess is about right. Then enter all the results into the computer using either HAL (which I gather can do the suggestions for you) or Sailwave and upload to the RYA website and see what PY is recommended from your data. You will end up with classes such as "Merlin Rocket 1-500" or "International Moth pre 1970" or "Merlin Rocket below 6ft wide" to give examples
Chris Barlow has tried this for a season at Shearwater with HAL and has some PY changes to suggest for the club but not enough older boats have sailed this year to get good age related handicaps.
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Re: Historic PY numbers

Post by Rupert » Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:48 am

Jim, the issue isn't with personal handicaps, but with handicaps that are personal due to a lack of other boats the same, unintentionally.

If the boat/person in question has recorded history in classes where there are enough boats for crew skill to be evened out, then it might be possible to calculate a yardstick which at least partially removes the CSF, but I suspect that is rare. though Pat and I have made cvrda yardstick decisions in this way in the past.

Has to be said once more - this is why the cvrda uses the old handicapping system - to avoid comparisons with the new numbers.
Rupert

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