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How we set our Handicaps

The Table below shows the Portsmouth Yardstick Numbers (PYNs) your Sailing Team has decided to use at the start of the 2024 racing season. So far as possible we have tried to follow the approach of previous years. Setting handicaps so as to allow different designs of boat to race against each other fairly is not easy so we have followed the best practice recommended to clubs by RYA.

This means we start by looking at the RYAs published list of "baseline PYNs" noting they are based on results submitted from clubs across the country, including many whose sailing conditions are quite different to those in Chichester Harbour. Boats competing on flat inland water around courses with very short legs will perform differently to those sailing in a large estuary with long legs, strong currents and sometimes choppy water.

Because of this, the RYA recommend clubs only start from their national baseline PYNs and use data from their own results and from results collected by other clubs who race in similar conditions to make adjustments. For many years the RYA have provided a tool, PY Online, to enable clubs to submit their own race results be pooled with the data from right across the UK. The tool also allows you to choose particular clubs whose data you would pay particular attention to when analysing the PYNs to use at your club. For many years we followed this RYA approach and used PY Online to factor in data from handicap race results at 7 other Clubs in Chichester Harbour.

As a result of the pandemic, which reduced the amount of race data available, and also because they were moving all their web-based services to a new website, the RYA decided not to publish revised baseline handicaps in either 2021 or 2022. You can see the new 2024 PYNs published by RYA here. Over this period WWSC continued to submit our results to RYA but had no new information back from them on national baselines or from other Chichester Harbour Clubs to use. This meant we could only make adjustments using our own results which we did cautiously.

WWSC's Sailing Team have done their best to overcome these difficulties and are working with RYA, HAL and Chichester Harbour Clubs to address them. We still have a large body of historic results to use and have made only small changes as shown in the Table below.

The first column shows the list of Classes and is followed by the PYN used for each class in our 2023 and 2024 racing seasons. Then there are 2 columns which show PYNs computed from the WWSC-only data for 2019 to 2023 and then the effect of including Chichester Harbour data; this column has no data due to the problems described above. Then we give the RYA national baseline PYN published for that Class in March 2024 (not all Classes are included in RYA's list). Finally, we give the Sailing Team's agreed WWSC PYNs for use in 2024 (in Green) with a brief comment on their basis. Where the computed PYN from local data is based on only very few results (and often just 1 boat), we have placed more weight on the national data.

This year we may again experiment with applying personal handicaps if only to add an additional element of interest to our Regatta Week Races. (Personal handicaps are based on the results achieved by a particular helm + boat combination in previous WWSC races.) These personal handicaps will not replace the normal Class-based PYNs but will be used in parallel with them and reveal how a boats performance changes from race to race.

2024 Handicaps Table

Class WWSC PYN for PYN based upon 2019-2023 data from: RYA PYN for WWSC PYN for Change Comment
2023 WWSC alone Chichester
2023 2024 2024
2000 1087 1062 1115 1114 1118 1087 0 Midway between WW & harbour values
Bembridge Scow 1545 1551 1551 1548 3 Recognition of recent performance at WW (no other data available) (5)
Chichester Scow 1466 1475 1467 1467 1 Harbour value (3)
Contender 963 955 969 969 966 969 6 Harbour value (3)
Cornish Coble 1420 1457 1457 1430 10 Recognition of recent performance at WW (no other data available)
Devon Yawl 1189 1193 1201 1189 0
Laser/ILCA 7 1101 1107 1102 1101 1102 1102 1 RYA value which happens to coincide with Harbour value (1)
Laser Radial/ILCA 6 1148 1146 1151 1150 1154 1149 1 Midway between WW & Harbour values (2)
Laser 4.7/ILCA 4 1210 1203 1199 1210 1213 1205 -5 Move towards Harbour value (3)
Lightning 368 1155 1122 1130 1160 1160 1145 -10 Recognition of recent performance at WW
Lymington River Scow 1436 1432 1432 1475 1475 1434 -2 Recognition of recent performance at WW (no other data available) (5)
Optimist 1642 1656 1617 1635 1628 1637 -5 Midway between WW & Harbour values and closer to RYA value (2)
Osprey 934 945 923 934 937 934 0 Move towards Harbour value (3)
RS Feva (training rig) 1295 1313 1313 1300 5 Recognition of recent performance at WW (no other data available) (3)
RS Feva XL 1248 1272 1213 1248 1244 1244 -4 Move towards Harbour value (5)
RS Zest 1270 1362 1362 1280 10 Recognition of recent performance at WW (no other data available) (5)
RS 800 799 770 799 799 799 0 RYA value given limited Harbour data (4)
SailQube 1800 1903 1899 1800 0 Experimental value continues
Supernova 1087 1100 1092 1077 1075 1085 -2 Move towards RYA value given limited Harbour data (4)
Tideway 1447 1466 1513 1447 1447 1447 0 RYA value given limited Harbour data (4)
Topper 1358 1383 1382 1369 1369 1368 10 Move towards RYA value given limited Harbour data (4)
Topper 4.2 1423 1445 1417 1420 1425 1425 2 RYA value given limited Harbour data (4)
Wanderer 1193 1221 1210 1193 1188 1188 -5 RYA value given limited Harbour data (4)
Wayfarer 1140 1148 1105 1109 1140 0 A bespoke handicap for no spinnaker rig (5)


The RYA PNs are published at the Dinghy Show each year. Values in greyed cells are from the limited data list. Blacked out cells are for classes that have not had a published PN.
The RYA (& hence WWSC) kept PNs unchanged in 2021 & 2022 as the pandemic meant limited race data had been submitted.
We discovered some results uploaded to the new RYA website at the beginning of 2023 were corrupted undermining confidence in the RYA values generated. These problems have now been sorted for the 2024 PNs.
WWSC pays particular attention to the Chichester Harbour data uploaded to RYA by Bosham SC, Chichester YC, Dell Quay SC, Emsworth SC, Emsworth Slipper SC, Hayling Island SC, Langstone SC, Thorney Island SC and Chichester Harbour Race Week as this provides information on boats sailing under similar conditions to those at WWSC.
Local data in bold has confidence factor greater than 0.5. Harbour values in greyed cells are WWSC results only (i.e. boats not raced elsewhere).
Local data has been taken from the period 2019-2023. Pre-pandemic, just the three most recent years were used.
    Suggested approach to setting WWSC PNs
  1. Laser standard rig (ILCA 7) given RYA value.
  2. For popular WW classes, midway between WWSC & Chichester Harbour values.
  3. For less popular WW classes, Chichester Harbour value.
  4. When harbour data is extremely limited but a RYA PN is published, RYA value.
  5. For classes only sailed at WW for which a RYA PN is not published (shown with X in Chichester Harbour column), PN based upon recent performance.
  6. In all cases, changes from previous year moderated to reduce dramatic moves (e.g. changes limited to ±10)