Handicaps

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roger
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Handicaps

Post by roger » Mon Oct 22, 2007 3:14 pm

Right this will put the cat among the pidgeons.

After the prize giving at the nationals it occured to me that recently the "old" fleet are picking up most of the pots. Then someone suggested the Hornet team were pot hunters(outrageous slur). So I have been thinking and chatting to a few people.
We claim to favour the older boats but the last few results dont bear this out. So do we need to penalise modern or modernised boats more heavily? Do we need to set the handicapping down on a more permanant basis. Do we need a handicap expert/s or scrutineer who decides how many points are deducted or added.
The development classes particularly the Merlins are getting to the point where 25 year old boats are competetive and certainly the Revolution Hornet we sail is competetive in todays fleet(the crew may not be) and surely the modern Merlins were not designed pre 1965.
Do we need to stop the rolling date around now or maybe move it once every few years. I dont know the answers but I do know that we are not getting enough older boats in the chocolates.

Lots of points to ponder here and I look forward to the discussions. I feel that if we are to maintain our credibility we need to show that we do allow the older boats a chance and maybe we need to change the qualifying criteria which has stood us well for 10 years.

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Post by davidh » Mon Oct 22, 2007 4:12 pm

Good point Roger,

That said, it would be wrong to highlight the merlins as a 'problem' as they have hardly scooped the pool of CVRDA events. But that is hardly the point - about now boats that are close to todays models will become eligable and where will that leave us? Yet the Merlins are lucky in that they have a dedicated series that they could, if they so wish, go off and compete with. If they are to continue, then set a ceiling of 1980 (an arbitary date - plucked out of thin air BUT....would avoid the influx of the 'new stuff') - the same could be applied to other clssess too.

So yes, a new list of handicaps sounds good - maybe have two such lists, one for 'inland' - the other for sea/open water!

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Post by roger » Mon Oct 22, 2007 4:33 pm

Not picking on the Merlins David it was just an example but the Modern Merlin designs are hardly pre 65.

I am a great believer in keeping thngs simple but may be we will have to look at a way of differentiating betwen a classic boat that is near its original form and for example a carbon masted OK or our Hornet which is up together.

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Post by Ed » Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:38 pm

Totally agree with the concept of this and it is a challenge that we have always had and rarely get right!

Rupert and I have talked on and off line for ages on it.

The problem is that handicaps are just never 'fair' and to an extent I think we need to be careful about trying to make them 'fair' as it just won't happen.

We have tried hard to weigh handicaps towards the vintage and classic boats and should continue to do so.

For those who don't know and there is no reason why you should, unless you asked, as we have kept it a bit quiet in the past.....at each nationals the Commodore has asked 3 to 4 people to sit on a 'handicap committee' that has looked at the handicaps and the boats that have come to the event and gone through and given what they felt to be appropriate handicap for each boat.

I have always started these meetings with the same few words:

'The CVRDA is about encouraging older boats to race with fair handicaps for their boats It should make sure that the 'classic' and 'vintage' wings have as good a chance as any other age boat at event'

'If a 'good' sailor was to choose a boat with the sole intention of winning - would they choose a 25 year old boat or a 55 year old boat. If we feel that the answer is the newer boat then the handicaping is not doing what it should do.

'The handicap should encourage owners to keep boats in original trim - they should have a better chance of winning when sailing with wooden mast and cotton sails - rather than a worse chance'.

So we have always tried to get this right.....but agree that it never seems to work as well as it might.

I do however feel that we should try and avoid being too dogmatic about it. I think it is much better to keep adjusting handicaps till we get the right effect rather than try and fix a problem that I don't think will be fixable.

If a boat follows the 'ethos' of the CVRDA it should be allowed to race. If it is much faster than it 'should' be, then it should be handicaped accordingly.

However I would point out.

Don't think that no thought has gone into the current handicaps - It has

Don't think that no one keeps an overview of how boats are going at other events - they do and adjust the handicap when they feel necessary, but I admit this only happens once a year.

The CVRDA handicap numbers are only (and only ever should be) guides for the local OOD to use. There is just so much difference between sailing on sea or river....or between a 1950s merlin with original rig versus or a re-built boat with plastic stick and sails. The Club OOD must be the final decider (imho) not the website. Other events have formed committees to adjust where necessary.

It is just about impossible to provide a fair handicap across 30 years of boat development (45-75) - that is why the CVRDA tries to sail in wings when there are enough boats.

'Old' wing boats don't always win - In fact I think if you go back you will find that 'classic' boats most probably do best on the whole (as they should). Vintage boats don't do so well....but there are also much fewer of them.

'Vintage' boats have been encouraged recently by very favourable handicaps for using cotton sails - this has brought them right up the results - we should do this more - I reckon till they start winning??? But others are held back by being 'vintage' or classic and then having modern rig.

The reason so many 'old' boats do well is not because the handicap is wrong - but simply because the best sailors like boats that 'work' well and this tends to mean 'old' rather than 'classic' boats. The boats that have done well recently (Peggie, OK, Hornet) are also those that have been sailed well by very competent crews. I think to try and penalise them would simply be vindictive.

Boats that are just 25 years old....those that Stu calls the 'Pot Hunting' wing have in the past been very harshly handicapped. This has sometimes caused some bad feeling (that is why handicap committee tends to keep head down). We have had a boat leave an event (having won it the year before in a boat that they said was 25 years old) when it was harshly handicapped after committee found that the following year it was only 23 years old.

Another way of dealing with handicapping is for every boat to have a CVRDA racing licence which has an individual handicap given it. I think this is a good idea, but one does need to be careful that it does not fall into being seen as an individual handicap - which no-one wants.

For me the long and the short of it is......I don't think the system is so far from wrong.......BUT.....

There does need to be a Handicap committee formed by the Commodore that reviews handicaps and then keeps an eye on them.

hope that helps

cheers

eib
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Post by Ed » Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:58 pm

Oh and the other point I was going to say:

Don't think the handicaps have not been adjusted. Although they are based on the 1965 figures, with adjustments for age, many have been changed, some quite a bit for the numbers we use now.

Don't ask me for examples....you can work those out for yourselves.

:D

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Post by roger » Mon Oct 22, 2007 6:16 pm

Thanks Ed I was aware that a fair bit of work had been done on this but do want to be fair. I was pleasantly surprised that Shoestring came 10th at Shearwater as it was first time out and hardly Hornet conditions. I do wonder though whether the 25 year rule needs looking at and would appreciate others thoughts on this. I think we need to stay inclusive and encourage as many boats out as possible but I dont want the ethos ruined by for example a revo Hornet or a newish Merlin (examples only) coming along to pick up the prizes.

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Post by davidh » Mon Oct 22, 2007 7:33 pm

Ed,

Out of interest - taking the history of the association since, say, the millenium, has one class been dominant? If you look at the Nationals and travellers Trophy, what classes have won most events.

If I'm right - the answer would suggest that to date there has not been a problem, however one may be out there lurking in the long grass. Maybe now is the time to put a cap, albeit oneof a limited duration (let's say for 3 years ) on the newness of boats - back to my earlier 1980 comment, or even stricter, lets go for the full 30 years , putting us on boats at 1977/1978.

The only problem with today's approach - which has worked (or been worked) so well, is that when the modern but eligable boat does turn up, then it could look like a knee jerk reaction when moves are made to prevent it from 'winning'.

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Post by Ed » Mon Oct 22, 2007 7:54 pm

David,

good question....and I am not at all sure if I know the answer.

Peggies have certainly done well, especially when sailed by Dave Rollinson.

Fireflies have done well, especially when sailed by Rupert Whellan,

Of course the OKs have done well when sailed by...ur...Dave Rollinson

and nobody could beat that damn Minisail when sailed by...well mmm... Rupert Whelan.

I seem to remember that Grads have gone well....but then so have vintage merlins.....at least when sailed by John & Lynn.

Get my drift..............?

Can I think of any boat that was able to win despite crew......No.......not even close.

Can I think of any class that consistently did well or badly........maybe, but every time I think of one I can think of one particular example which either did better or worse and bucked the trend.

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Post by Ed » Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:10 pm

I think there are two points here and we should most probably consider them separately.

First:

Is the current handicap system providing the best quality racing that it can. Should it change and if so how. How should we adjust newer and faster boats to still provide fair racing for the older boats.

Second:

What happens when 25 years starts to include the carbon/foam/epoxy boats which have not really aged and are still competitive within their own classes. Are they within the CVRDA ethos? Are they pot hunting?


IMHO....

the answer to the first is a continual appraisal of our handicaps and consider them against the values I said earlier. "If you want to win....which do you choose" and keep changing them until the answer is the older boat.

The answer to the second is much harder and I am still not sure. I have always hoped we could simply work it out with handicapping. I don't really want to stop those boats race with us....I just want them to have the same chance of winning as I do when I take a 'classic' boat and race with a modern fleet.

I also worry that we are on sticky ground by saying that if a boat is competitive in a modern fleet, then it should not be racing with the CVRDA. Many Fireflies, Wayfarers and other classes have boats over 25 years old which are still capable of winning against their modern siblings with the right helm.

For me it is much more a matter of 'ethos' ....simply whether it fits and this is a much harder thing to quantify. I do know that sometimes I think that a modern rig on an old boat can remove a boat father from the 'ethos' than anything else.

But to be honest....personally....I am still not against that, but understand that others will be.

If there really is a demand for it (and only if there really is) then I guess we would have to bring in a date bar and 1980 or 1985 would get my vote. 1980 and you would certainly miss out some boats that you should include. 1985 and you will definitely get some boats you should exclude.

For my money, I would still advise holding on as long as possible to see if it really is a problem and in the mean time use the handicap system to deal with all out-of-ethos boats quite punitively.

just my thoughts

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Post by neil » Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:25 pm

The designed before 1965 and older than 25 years has been in place since the beginning of the CVRDA which, although open to interpretation, is around 1999. This would then have the cut-of around 1974 and has been rolling forward since then.

To change this would require changing the consititution which states

"c) Old Racing Dinghies

We define these boats as being from any dinghy class established before 1965 and built over 25 years ago. This includes any of the development classes established before 1965 as long as the boat was built over 25 years before the beginning of current racing season.
"

The 25 year cut off is well know within and outside the CVRDA and confusion may be caused by changing to a 30 year cut-off date or saying only boats built before 1978 (for example) are eligable for CVRDA events.

So if a change is proposed we need to change the constitution.

Wording this is going to be fun, and will of course, have to be agreed by the membership.
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Post by alan williams » Mon Oct 22, 2007 9:27 pm

Hi Guys
I have always sailed a Revo Hornet to the current PY converted to 1965 number this has been seen to be fair but the modren Hornet is more or less more one design than it has been in the past. People will always shout unfair but handicap racing is to a certain extent like horse racing handicaping. Certain types of boats will be better in certain conditions or types of water eg, river .lake. sea and surley its still part of the game to suit the boat to the conditions. No one in their right mind would expect to win at a sea venue with a British Moth ,equally said for a fast trapeze boat on British Moth waters.. There will always be those who moan and those who perform. Vintage boats I feel are already given very generous handicaps do n't alter theirs but hit the new "pot hunters". However there is still the old chestnut of what is a vintage boat. Major rebuild with only 15% of the boat original . Very old boats carrying modern rigs eg carbon mylar/kevlar equiped with the latest systems. So far we have not encountered the problem of building new boats off old plans but this could be with us soon , how do we deal with the replica problem?
Cheers Al

Ps like the idea of a CVRDA handicao certificate.
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Post by pegasus » Mon Oct 22, 2007 9:46 pm

In responce to the rolling date i think it maybe more complex than just moving the date, for instance if we change the date to later we may get some of the early plastic designs but at some date there must have been a time where wood designs were being made and glass. at times this may not be a problem as some people have said in the past a 40+ yr old plastic glass boat will have flexed and gone soft and might not preform well but a 30yr old one might be very competitive, i home you keeping up and i make sence, this could vary not only in class but also in against time ( eg one class has competive glass boats 1980 another 1970).

What im saying is maybe we need to decide on cut off dates for the differenent classes not just a standard cut off, maybe this needs to differ between glass and wood maybe this is not the right thing for us!

I agree that we should keep the handicaping system working as it is.

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Handicaps - if it ain't broke don't fix it !!!!!

Post by david r » Mon Oct 22, 2007 9:48 pm

Sorry Roger I have to completely agree with what Ed has said

Handicaps can never be fair but we must remember it is a BOAT h/cap not a PERSONAL h/cap
If you look at just the CVRDA Natls winners for eg.

1999 Firefly R W
2000 Osprey J F
2001/2 Peggie DR
2003 Peggie AH
2004 F/F RW
2005/6 Peggie DR
2007 OK DR

So mainly "CLASSIC" winners, the " OLD" boats have not done that well only 2 winners the Osprey & the OK - so if the boat is in good condition it is more the twit on the stick as they say - IMHO

Another statistic : Tony Thresher has been sailing a very good 31 year old OK - 5th/26 Natls 06, 6th/43 Natls 07 then he changed to 16 yr old boat, but still with Al mast and won Inlands this year, my 27 yr old OK was 8th out of 30 boats

The OK h/cap is IMHO about right from my experience sailing in club h/cap races this yr - usually competitive with Solo's/Lasers/Ents but cannot get anywhere near the Phantoms - but then nobody can, and difficult to beat RS 200's. At the 2007 Steve Nic trophy in Jan 2007 I was about 18th out of 40 single handers - so DAVID H the OK h/cap is about right !!!!!!!!

But yes we do have to watch out for pot hunters with Carbon rigs & mylar sails - the H/cap comm or the event OOD must be ready to adjust h/caps as we always have done

But where we do fall down in my view is we do not display a list of boats & h/caps after say the 1st race or end of the 1st day.
This leaves us open to suggestions of smoke filled rooms & fixed h/caps - we must be a bit more open about what we are doing with the h/caps
Vary rarely have we had a list of results and h/caps displayed at the event - yes they are on the web just afterwards- can we please remedy this in 2008 ?
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Post by stu » Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:28 pm

take from this what you will, apart from when sailing may canoe, I always come 4th, always bloody 4th. Well that's what it feels like.

seriously though, the results must be looked at in detail, the boats must be looked at in detail as must the sailors. David R, John & Lynn, Rupert etc. all winners, all in different boats; Don't penalise good sailors by penalising their boats, BUT every boat should be looked at, and adjustments made for extra go fast bits; spars, foils etc. Points should be given for the same where appropriate, cotten sails etc. I'm never quite sure about sails that are new & of the time, ie just a new set of sails; In my opinion this should not carry a penalty?

Pot hunters? There has to come a time when a new wing has to be considered for boats that are just in cvrda age, with go faster bits, they should not be discouraged, but looked at and thought about very carefully.
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Post by JimC » Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:01 am

The other thing to bear in mind is that handicaps make less difference than most people think... In Island Barn club racing two modern boats of the same class with sailors at different levels will readily finish the equivalent of 200 modern points of yardstick apart. One year the Laser sailors at our club where complaining about the favorable handicap we weregiving the Solos in our Summer series, as a Solo had just won. So, laptop in hand, I changed the Solo handicap back to what they thought it should be, pressed the button and... the Solos came second on tiebreak but still walloped all the Lasers...

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