An explanation of our performance handicapping system is here. It is very similar but not identical to that which was recommended by Yachting Victoria, and the basis of the “Top Yacht” software. For people interested in further discussion of performance handicapping systems, a good one is published by the Southport Yacht Club. Using their terminology, QLYC now uses an EXPONENTIAL AVERAGE WITH A “GAIN” OF 5. However, we additionally remove from the equation for updating handicaps any time that is unrepresentative of the vessel’s performance while sailing, such as late to start line, delays recovering lost gear etc. Additionally, since the explanation linked above was written, we have allowed for the setting of a temporary “floor” below which the handicap for a vessel will not drop. The removal of this constraint is a matter for the Sailing Committee. The setting of a floor is currently flagged when the handicap would drop substantially (2%) below the median of the last 6 races. An important thing to note is that performance-based handicapping systems do NOT reward consistently good sailors but reward improvement.
Other myths are explored in the linked Southport Yacht Club page, for example the belief that PHs can be transferred between fleets as quoted below.
Myth – my PHS HC at my club is 0.820 and it will be the same at other clubs/events! An IRC or AMS HC is constant irrespective of where you sail. This is NOT true of a PHS HC. A performance HC is developed within a particular fleet of boats AND is based on an arbitrary starting value decided by your club. If you then go to another club or event, the mix of boats and/or arbitrary starting point may be significantly different.
For sternchasers, a spreadsheet (in Excel) for working out the starting times is here. This link should download a copy of the file and show a link at the bottom left of your screen which (on a computer with Microsoft Excel) can be opened and worked on. Make sure you are in the calculation sheet, not the sign on sheet. Enter the vessels with correct handicaps, the duration of the race and the start time. Also enter the handicap of the slowest boat. The starting times should appear in the second sheet (sign-on). Then, normally, to print off the useable sign-on sheet, convert it to a pdf file and “print” the pdf.