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Changing Yacht Racing Handicap Bands at Royal Cork Yacht Club is 'Radical'

2nd April 2018
In cruiser racing out of RCYC, just two classes will sail under spinnakers In cruiser racing out of RCYC, just two classes will sail under spinnakers Photo: Bob Bateman

The Royal Cork Yacht Club at Crosshaven in Cork Harbour has decided on a change in the format of racing for the coming season which will reduce the number of starts and re-define the sailing classes.

In cruiser racing out of the club just two classes will sail under Spinnakers. This change met with general approval at a meeting of racing boat Skippers in the RCYC where the new handicapping arrangements were outlined by Mel Collins, Keelboat Committee Sailing Secretary. They will reduce Class bands 1, 2 and 3 to Spinnaker 1and Spinnaker 2.

Whitesail will continue, possibly with two classes, depending upon boat numbers.

"The changes are radical, as Skippers commented, but necessary it was generally felt, to bring more competitive interest back to racing"

IRC handicapping is controlled by the RORC, but ECHO handicapping will be administered by the RCYC Committee, with monthly changes. That could cause some controversy. Manual adjusting of handicaps of boats did so prior to the introduction of computer-based racing programmes which administered handicapping changes. That was pointed out at the meeting. However, the changes were approved, so it’s largely a ‘wait-and-see what happens’ attitude.

Handicapping changes have, in recent years, been automatically made by the computer-operated racing system after each race. Computer assessment will be available to the Committee, but it is a potential area of difficulty, as experienced Skippers pointed out.

However, as the numbers in cruiser racing have gradually moved upwards, this change and basically, it seems, amalgamate Class1 and the top of Class 2, with other former Class 2 boats mingling with Class 3.

More work will be done on the allocation of handicaps prior to the seasonal start and when boat owners submit their handicaps.

Friday night white sailing at the club will continue under the HIS in-house system.

There is a provision in the new arrangements to prevent ‘sandbagging’ – the first time I saw this publicly and clearly identified in pre-racing arrangements, to prevent those who might try to ‘massage’ their handicaps by slowing boat performance to gain advantage for specific events!

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Published in Tom MacSweeney
Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for He also presents the maritime radio programme This Island Nation on community radio stations around Ireland.

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