ICRA, the national cruiser-racer body, is attempting to widen the appeal of the Royal St. George–based National Championship entry next month on Dublin Bay with the introduction of a new trial handicap system writes Dave Cullen.
While the current ECHO system has been seen to work well in some longer-term events at local clubs, many are aware that the ECHO system historically has failed to adapt quickly enough at National events. This often leads to the same boats winning on both IRC and ECHO.
Members have made clear their desire for ICRA to look at how we can make ECHO work better at National events across the country, through surveys and forums. In response to this, ICRA and in particular Committee Member Liam Lynch has sought to begin to work on a means to address this issue in the longer term, and have started by instigating a trial at this year’s National Championships.
Currently, at National events, all boats start at their standard ECHO rating, which is usually within a few points of the IRC rating. In practice this means that the leading boats on IRC are nearly always the winners on ECHO as well, as the programme doesn’t have time to adjust sufficiently based on the results during a short event To address this, ICRA has decided to revise the standard ECHO handicaps used at the National Championships. The plan is to adjust standard ECHO opening handicaps, based on defined and published performance criteria, of boats over the last 1-2 years.
"The plan is to adjust standard ECHO opening handicaps, based on defined and published performance criteria, of boats over the last 1-2 years"
The result should be that the better a boat has performed on IRC boats over the last 1-2 years the greater a greater penalty will be placed on their standard ECHO handicap, ensuring other boats have a much greater chance to competing for ECHO prizes, based on their revised ECHO standards.
We hope that this trial adjustment to ECHO will even more boats to enter what is already a very successfully subscribed event and that the trials will lead to a rollout of a similar system all clubs running national events in the future.
Full details of the proposed trial approach are available here