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National Handicap for Cruisers or NHC is the RYA's new initiative for cruiser racing which as of March 2013 has replaced the Portsmouth Yardstick for this area of racing.

The change was born through a lack data coming into the RYA via club returns. The PYS, as a true empirical scheme, relied on clubs to return data to the RYA in order to be able to analyse the performance of each boat and to be able to publish numbers which identified these performance differences. Without the data coming in from the clubs, the RYA had nothing to analyse and subsequently nothing to publish.

The decision was taken to look at alternative options in October 2012 after four successive years where cruiser returns were in decline. Luckily this decision was taken at the right time as for 2012 the RYA received only 16 returns from clubs.

Having spoken to a variety of other countries running handicap racing, the decision was taken to work with a measurement based scheme which would alleviate the requirement for club returns. This would form a base list of boats from which clubs were able to develop their racing. The other element to the scheme was to include progressive handicapping, something which has been used very successfully in Ireland under ECHO.

In order to develop the handicaps, the RYA worked very closely with the RORC Rating Office who provided invaluable advice in tweaking the handicap formula as well as supplying the data to produce the base list. The RYA were keen not to make NHC a measurement scheme and therefore concentrated on the three principle factors which would effect a boats performance - length, weight and sail area. Additional a factor was introduced based on the design age which would account for the different style of hull designs as time went on.

The other decision was to publish a single number for a boat variant irrespective of the different rigs or keels available. This decision was not taken lightly and came about after a careful review of the boat data held. It felt counterintuitive to apply a 3% adjustment for a factor when a boat could be 15% lighter than all of its sister-ships. Instead of set adjustment factors, the decision was taken to allow the boats performance, as noted by its race results to actually define how it performed.

Analysing performance, like a handicapping formula, is completely open to opinion as to which method is best. In the end the RYA looked at a variety and developed a slight hybrid in terms of performance handicapping. It based its principles on ECHO but removed the subjective element and automated the process within a number of key popular scoring programs. It provides a different adjustment factor for over achieving than under achieving against your base number and is ultimately a little softer in how adjustments are applied over a series of races - perfect for club racing on a regular basis.

The new element to NHC is the regatta version which has been entirely developed by the RYA for use at key events. Recognising that the base list will never be 100% accurate and that a regatta may not have enough time to iron out any anomalies, a harsher adjustment module was developed for regattas where adjustments for the first couple of races in a series are much higher and soften out towards then end. This means that if a base list number is out - it is adjust quicker initially to get to the boats actual performance after Race 1 and then settles down providing the performance of that boat remains consistent.

Another key part of the regatta adjustment is that a boat that does not participate within a race is taken to have placed within the top three - this was key to avoid boats turning up for a single race within an event to purely win that days trophy.

Both systems will adjust depending on how quickly it gets around the course relative to other boats in that race. This will also combine a level of personal skill as well as boat preparation - leading to the possibility that two sistership boats will have completely different handicaps. This is the intention of the scheme.

NHC has been designed as an entry level scheme to cruiser racing where if you don't have the right boat, a rail full of crew, more growth on your bottom than the Mary Rose or simply want to sail with your kids, family dog and tea bags - your handicap will adjust towards your skill level and performance. The scheme will rewards those who are consistent and the key to its success is in how much those sailors see their handicap changing as they develop their skills. Similar to golf, instead of retreating to the bar and whinging about the handicap scheme, sailors have the option of being able to brag about how much they have managed to increase their handicap by as they have got better at getting around the course.

Initial feedback has been positive and clubs that understand the nature of NHC is not to replace a top level rating scheme such as IRC but more to work alongside it in nurturing sailors skills at club level before they out-grow the scheme and move up to IRC. NHC has already been used for races after a month and every day the RYA are receiving more and more emails and calls from clubs starting up with NHC and getting their members onto the water in the most simple of methods.

Published in ICRA
Tagged under

#rya – The RYA Race Officials Conference is fast becoming a major international event writes Irish National Judge and Umpire Gordon Davies.

This year the conference returned to Wyboston Lakes in Cambridgeshire, far from the sea but north of Watford and convenient for train and air travel and an Irish race officer delegation attended.

This biennial event continues to grow. Earlier conferences were organised for Race Officers, Judges and Umpires. In 2011, Mark-layers were invited for the first time in 2011. The 2013 edition was notable for the presence for the first time of Measurers. In all, 220 race officials attended the conference, with 21 visitors from 10 nations: Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Slovenia, Canada, USA, Russia and Ireland.

This year, as Ed Alcock, ISA Racing Manager explains "Members of the ISA Race Officials Advisory Group attended and contributed to 20 workshops during this conference as a means to learn from the RYA education system to the benefit of officials and sailors in Ireland."

The highlight of the event are the large number of workshops treating a wide variety of subjects. Whilst the speakers are selected for their knowledge of the subject the participants are often experts in their own right. I was somewhat surprised, for example, when called upon to speak on the rather obscure subject of umpiring radio-sailing regattas, to be faced with an audience including several well-known umpires including not only the editor in chief of the Call Books for Match Racing and Team Racing, but also the person credited with inventing team racing umpiring Also listening attentively was a multiple World Champion in several Radio-Sailing classes, who is also a National Judge!

Chairman of the RO Advisory Group Jack Roy, who worked with many of the top British race officials before and during the Olympics revealed the reasoning behind this delegation: " It is important we have a close working relationship with our neighbours in the RYA, they are very generous with help and information. Having recently been responsible for, arguably the best Olympic Sailing Regatta ever, the RYA have first hand experience in providing the highest level of Race Management " Mike O'Connor added "It was great to work with such high level participation from the UK and around Europe on delivering unified race management and applying the new updates to the racing rules across different disciplines".

Bill O'Hara, fully recovered after his summer spent with the Russian Women's match racing team at the Olympics ran a workshop on "Raising Tactical Awareness for Umpires" Bill gave full credit to Chris Watts, RYA Race Officials Education Officer "The conference was incredibly well organised". Bill particularly appreciated the session on "Questioning Skills" run by John Sturrock, more accustomed to improving the interrogation skills of leading lawyers and parliamentarians, including members of Oireachtas. Bill O'Hara was one of several race officials from Northern Ireland to attend, including Robin Gray and Denis Todd.

Irish team racers will undoubtedly be pleased to hear that Peter Price was awarded the status of RYA Umpire Emeritus. Peter, from West Kirby, sailed and won the Wilson Trophy many times, and then ,in 1987, lead the first umpire team to officiate at the event. Peter has sailed many times in Ireland, both in team racing and in his Dragon, and has umpired at many events here.

Ed Alcock reminds us that the Irish participation at the conference will benefit local race officials "The ISA Annual Conference on March 2nd will include interesting points from these workshops in presentations from Jack Roy, Michael O'Connor and Ed Alcock in the areas of Race Management, rules issues in clubs and the new rules, including launching the new Racing Rule Book for 2013-2016.We would recommend all ISA officials and clubs to be present and look forward to receiving visitors from the RYA."
Presentations made at many of these workshops are available on the RYA website.

 

Published in Racing
Tagged under

#RYA - The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has said it is "encouraged" by the British government's approach to designating Marine Conservations Zones (MCZs) around the coastlines of England and Wales - the details of which have disappointed environmental groups.

RYA planning and environment advisor Caroline Price commented: “The phased approach that government is proposing appears on the face of it to be very sensible.  
 
“The RYA has been resolute in insisting that an MCZ should be no larger than required to protect the habitats and wildlife features which it is intended to protect and that the scientific basis for designating a particular feature for protection should be sound.  

“We are pleased therefore to see that ministers have recognised that they need to have a strong evidence base when looking to designate sites, from both an ecological and socio-economic perspective.

“We are particularly encouraged that the approach to highly protected sites is being reviewed as the proposals for Reference Areas are of great concern to us.” 

Of the 31 sites proposed in the consultation for designation by the end of 2013, the RYA has objections to only one of the sites - the Aln Estuary, which contains "a small charted anchorage in the one location in which a vessel can stay afloat at all states of the tide in the estuary". 

The response from the RYA comes just days after environmental groups in the UK expressed their dismay over the government's decision to designate just a quarter of the recommended 127 sites.

As the Guardian reports, Westminster was accused of a "lack of ambition" by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) over the announcement last Thursday 13 December, which it says ignores the government's own advisers who recommend a 'coherent network' that includes immediate designation for 59 sites regarded as 'highly threatened'.

The RYA says it is "broadly supportive of government plans to establish a coherent network of Marine Protected Areas and Marine Conservation Zones.

"However, it has fought throughout the process to date, and will continue to do so, to protect the public right of navigation and to ensure, as far as is possible, that recreational boating interests are not adversely affected by the designation of such MCZs."

It also emphasises that the "omission of the detail of management measures from this [public] consultation means that we still don’t really know what designation will actually mean" to affected local communities.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WARNING - As wind farm projects expand around the coasts of the UK and Ireland, the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has raised concerns about an unexpected hazard for boaters navigating near such installations.

Taking the London Array and Kentish Flats wind farm areas in South East England as a case study, the RYA explains how rock placements, or rock berms, have been put in place to protect the power cables from these arrays at the points where they cross in shallow water.

The RYA warns that as cable crossing become more likely and more frequent, as offshore energy projects expand around the coastline, the potential for accidents is greatly increased.

"It is this cable protection that in shallow waters can reduce underwater clearance and therefore pose a risk to navigational safety," said the RYA.

Referring to the London Array and Kentish Flats specifically, the association said it "was not aware that the cables would have rock protection until we received a notice.

"It would seem that the Marine Management Organisation, Trinity House and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency were also unaware that the developers were placing a rock berm in [the[ area and are investigating how all this happened 'sight unseen' - particularly as it seemed that the original London Array Limited applications had stated that the cables would be trenched."

The RYA has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Warning

#BEN AINSLIE – As Britain's sailing superstar awaits a hearing with the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) over the incident at the World Championships in Perth last December, the consensus in the electronic media is that he has been hard done by and blame should be attributed to the media boat that caused the wash that was at the centre of the row. While quite a few of the commentators believe that the two race disqualification for gross misconduct that cost Ben Ainslie the World Championship is more than adequate punishment, Water Rat sees some similarities with soccer star Eric Cantona's transgression in 1994 that resulted in 120 hours community service and an 8 month ban from the sport.

To re-cap, Cantona was sent off in a Manchester United v Crystal Palace game for a kick on a Palace defender. As he reached the sideline Cantona launched himself into the stands and kicked a supporter in a kung-fu style following up with a series of punches. Cantona was arrested and convicted for assault, but the original two week sentence was overturned and replaced by 120 hours of community service.  His team, Manchester United, suspended Cantona for the remaining four months of the season and he was fined £20,000. The Football Association increased the ban to eight months and fined him a further £10,000. Football's International body, FIFA confirmed the suspension as worldwide.  Cantona also lost the captaincy of the French team.

The International Jury found as fact that Ainslie had committed an act of physical aggression, that was not only a gross breach of good manners but also brought the sport into disrepute.

The Football Association's statement is worth quoting: 'The members of the FA Commission are satisfied that the actions of Eric Cantona following his sending-off at Crystal Palace in the Manchester United match on January 25 brought the game into disrepute. Eric Cantona has therefore been in breach of FA rules. After taking into consideration the previous misconduct of Eric Cantona, the provocation he suffered, the prompt action taken by Manchester United, Eric Cantona's expression of regret to the Commission, the apologies he conveyed to those affected and the assurances he gave to his future conduct, the members of the Commission decided that Eric Cantona should be suspended forthwith from all football activities up to and including 30th September 1995 and in addition fined £10,000.'

It is worth noting that Ainslie also apologised, but his reaction to the Jury's decision was to criticise their reaction. RYA's Olympic Manager also denied that an assault occurred.

Respected sailor, sailing author, judge and America's Cup umpire  Brad Dellenbaugh commented:  "It's interesting to see the spin, particularly from the RYA. While not condoning Ainslie's actions, it seems they are trying to lay this at the feet of ISAF for inappropriately trialing new television initiatives at the Worlds, then at that feet of the Jury for not letting the Championship be determined by the sailors on the water. The chance to win his sixth Worlds was taken away from him.

What fails to get mentioned is that he WAS winning the Worlds despite getting screwed by the wake. Stay in his boat; win the Worlds. The reason he didn't win the Worlds is because he couldn't control his anger and he boarded another boat. Period! I wonder how Elvstrom would have reacted."

The RYA Tribunal will now consider the incident and the sailing world will be fascinated to see how they deal with Ainslie. RYA's own guidance to Race Officers rates physical or threatened violence as 4-5 on a scale of 1-5.

Despite the apparent overwhelming sympathy it is difficult to see how RYA can avoid further sanction in this case. The question probably is what is an appropriate penalty.  Given the strength in depth of Britain's Finn sailors, a ban of Cantona-like proportions would not cause great damage to GBR's prospects, but many would feel that denying (for the time being anyway) Ainslie's opportunity to become the greatest sailing Olympian would be too harsh.

Ainslie won the British trials comfortably securing the nomination almost a year in advance. Maybe a re-trial would be a just punishment, opening the door a crack for Giles Scott and Ed Wright.  For Ainslie, being asked to prove himself again might not be much more than an inconvenience, but the message sent by the Tribunal would clearly state that no person, however great their stature, is beyond reproach.

Published in Water Rat
#OLYMPICS - "Lingering bittnerness" among British sailing veterans over the boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics has pushed them to seek recognition for the effort they put into their campaigns, the Daily Telegraph reports.
The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) was one of four sporting bodies that joined the British government's boycott of the Olympics that year.
But according to the sailors who had earned their spots at the games, the RYA's decision was made without consultation with them or the body's membership.
“They took away our dream, the fruits of months and years of hard work and dedication which is something I will regret until my dying day,” said Soling sailor Gavin Simonds, who is leading the charge for the RYA to make amends before London 2012 and assure that no sailor will be so deprived in future.
Simonds' brother Colin was the one of the leading Soling sailors in the world in 1980, and was reportedly devastated when the RYA backed that year's boycott.
The 1980 games saw Ireland win its only Olympic medals in sailing when David Wilkins and James Wilkinson took silver in the Flying Dutchman class. The president of the Irish sailing's governing body has an honourary seat on the RYA council.
The Daily Telegraph has much more on the story HERE.

#OLYMPICS - "Lingering bitterness" among British sailing veterans over the boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics has pushed them to seek recognition for the effort they put into their campaigns, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) was one of four sporting bodies that joined the British government's boycott of the Olympics that year. 

But according to the sailors who had earned their spots at the games, the RYA's decision was made without consultation with them or the body's membership.

“They took away our dream, the fruits of months and years of hard work and dedication which is something I will regret until my dying day,” said Soling sailor Gavin Simonds, who is leading the charge for the RYA to make amends before London 2012 and assure that no sailor will be so deprived in future.

Simonds' brother Colin was the one of the leading Soling sailors in the world in 1980, and was reportedly devastated when the RYA backed that year's boycott.

The 1980 games saw Ireland win its only Olympic medals in sailing when David Wilkins and James Wilkinson took silver in the Flying Dutchman class. The president of Irish sailing's governing body has an honourary seat on the RYA council.

The Daily Telegraph has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Olympics 2012
It has become tradition over the past years for SailLaser in the UK to host a fundraising event in aid of Comic Relief and 2011 is no exception. On Saturday 19th March, fund raising events will take place in both of the UK SailLaser centres. Participation in the event is free; the only commitment required from everyone taking part is to raise as much money for Comic Relief as possible.

In Weymouth, SailLaser's RYA Onboard Club are invited to teach a friend to sail in a Laser Pico before heading off to the race course in pairs. The race around a short course will have the added challenge of collecting as many letters from each turning mark as possible. The winners will be those who can spell the longest word from the letters they collect at the end of the race!

SailLaser's "Race Club" members will also be able to introduce a friend to sailing and after a short introduction they will battle it out on the race course in the fleet of Laser Bahias.

In Scotland, RYA OnBoard Club fund raisers will take part in a multi-disciplined "Tri-Mile" event. The Tri-Mile will include a run, pedal and sail; running from the start line to a pedalo on the shore, pedalling to a Pico moored in the middle of Strathclyde Loch and racing the Pico around a course before arriving back at the shore and running to the finish line!

To add to the fun, competitors, organizers and helpers are encouraged to wear fancy dress. The theme is RED!

"This is a great opportunity for all of our regular sailors to get on the water with a friend as well as raising money for Comic Relief" explains Hannah Burywood, event organiser at SailLaser Weymouth.

 

The charity Comic Relief was launched on Christmas Day in 1985 from a refugee camp in Sudan. The highlight of Comic Relief's appeal is the bi-annual Red Nose Day. The first Red Nose Day was held in 1988 and £15 million was raised. In 2009, over 5 times that amount was raised to support projects in 25 African countries and the UK. SailLaser is proud to do their bit to support Comic Relief in 2011. 

Published in Laser

Carlingford Lough Yacht Club in Northern Ireland has been presented with the prestigious Volvo RYA Champion Club award.  Carlingford Lough has been recognised for its very active racing programme focusing on the Laser 4.7, Radial and Topper classes. The club encourages and supports talented young sailors to develop and progress throughout the RYA Youth and Olympic programmes.

The presentation was held at the Yacht club's annual dinner dance and presentation at local Whistledown Hotel, Warrenpoint. Commodore, Michael McCann understands the importance of developing the club's youth sailors "We are all very delighted and proud to have been awarded the coveted Volvo Champion Club status. This achievement is a reflection of the great work, dedication and energy which has been put into youth and junior sailing in recent years.

While a number of senior club members have been involved along the way I must single out our past sailing secretary Dr Henry McLaughlin who worked to fulfil the arduous requirements necessary to gain this recognition. The Club would also like to thank Volvo and the RYANI for this award and we will continue to work with them to promote Championship level sailing in the region."

The club's junior training programme is run by 8 regular volunteers who are committed and dedicated to helping with the racing, training and the club's busy social programme. For the past three years the club has had five juniors in the RYA Volvo national squad and at the 2010 RYA Volvo Zone Home County Championships in Northern Ireland two of the members excelled both finishing in second place.

Carlingford Lough Yacht club is one of only 12 clubs in Northern Ireland and 171 nationwide to be awarded the esteemed Volvo RYA Champion Club status. Richard Honeyford, RYA High Performance Manager for Northern Ireland presented the club with the award "I am delighted to be presenting this award in recognition of the great work that Carlingford Lough Yacht Club has done to help young sailors to develop their racing skills.  Following the success of British sailors at the Beijing Olympics, and with the 2012 Olympics fast approaching, we may well be training future Olympians here in Carlingford Lough"

The Volvo RYA Champion Club Programme aims to encourage young sailors and windsurfers at grassroots level to stay in the sport and learn to compete, while encouraging clubs to introduce youngsters to the sport and help develop their skills. The key challenge for the programme is to encourage more young people to start participating in sailing and then progress with their racing careers.

Now Carlingford Lough Yacht club has been awarded the Volvo RYA Champion Club status, the sailors will see increased levels of development advice and professional coaching including support from the RYA. Carlingford Lough will also have access to the recent commitment from Sport England of £1.1m to the RYA's flagship youth sailing initiatives, to further enhance club coach and volunteer development across England over the next three years.

Published in Youth Sailing

Applications are open for the RYA's British Keelboat Academy, which aims to give keelboats sailors aged between 18 and 24 a leg-up into competitive international sailing.

The programme utilises a fleet of J80s, identical to the ISA's sailfleet J80s, and also involves sailors in campaigning the TP52 John Merricks II, which is slated to compete in the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland later this year.

There is no similar scheme here in Ireland, but judging by recent entries to the likes of the Round Ireland, and the makeup of squads in keelboat events around Ireland, youth interest in keelboat sailing is high.

The Pride of Wicklow entry in the Round Ireland race, crewed by under-21s, surpassed all expectations by finishing fifth on the water and third in class, and the likes of the young crew on board Tiger have consistently shown a clean pair of heels to older and more experienced boats. 

Interested parties must fill out the forms HERE and must be a member of the RYA. This scheme might suit young sailor studying in the UK, or those willing to travel for training on a regular basis.

 

 

Published in Youth Sailing
Tagged under

The RYA is the national body in the United Kingdowm for all forms of boating, including dinghy and yacht racing, motor and sail cruising, RIBs and sports boats, powerboat racing, windsurfing, inland cruising and narrowboats, and personal watercraft. The RYANI are their Northern Irish branch.

Royal Yachting Association Northern Ireland (RYANI), House of Sport, Upper Malone Road, Belfast, BT9 5LA. Tel: 02890 383812, or email: [email protected]

There is a space for Irish boating clubs and racing classes to use as their own bulletin board and forum for announcements and discussion. If you want to see a dedicated forum slot for your club or class, click here 

 

Published in Organisations
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