Last year proved to be a very busy year of racing, handicapping, certificate administration and analysis. Ourhandicapping boards and Executive Committee have done a great job keeping our fleet on the racecourse and in close competition.
Annual Delegates Meeting
Your Annual Delegates Meeting was held on 7 December. The agenda included several administrative bylaw and fleet policy changes. It also included proposals to change to class splits due to dwindling participation in C class. The minutes and agenda are posted at www.prhfchesbay.org/page/news/ADM_Minutes. Dig deep to see if you can find the time to be a more active member, delegate, handicapper or volunteer. There is always more to do and each of you have special talents, experience and ideas that can help PHRF be the best racing fleet available to Chesapeake Bay racers and racer-cruisers.
Proposed Changes for 2020 with Broadest Impacts
Roller Furling (RF) Headsail Credit Changes - We are working through some of the details for implementation, grandfathering, etc. We will be communicating regularly in newsletters and website update on changes to these credits. Our fleet has lost the benefit originally intended in the credit. The credit was originally created for cruisers who have woven, high clewed Dacron headsails with heavy UV covers because they could not compete with double slotted headstay boats who can change headsails to those optimally suited to the wind speed and wind angle being raced. Over the years, the yachting industry has worked around the credit's verbiage to qualify for the extra time without experiencing the loss in performance for which the credit was designed. This practice is unfair to the rest of the fleet, so we have reworded the rule, are reviewing current certificates and will reassess who should be qualified for rating credits and how much credit is fair to the rest of the fleet and will issue corrected certificates this season.
Class Splits – Participation in keelboat yacht racing participation has experienced a downward trend for several years. It's a cyclic change whose causes are not specifically linked to a handicapping system, fleet membership or the sport. It includes influences from our economy, the age of owners and crews as well as changes in generational views of yacht racing. Over the years our A0 class has all but disappeared and the existence of anything outside of A, B and C classes are distant memories. The latest victim to this participation drought throughout the fleet is our C class. Our delegates have brought up suggestions for changing the class splits fleet that can support continued participation for active members. We are looking at numbers and will communicate to affected boats and the rest of our members in January-February timeframe.
Circular Random Rating Guidelines – The advent of boats with asymmetric performance curves (not Asym sails) presented challenges to yacht racing handicappers for several years. These boats performed significantly better downwind than upwind and included evolving designs that plane in reaching conditions and decreasing true wind speeds. In a single handicap rating system, the average performance for upwind, downwind and reaching performance for these boats created ratings that sometimes favored these newer asymmetric boat designs and sometimes favored the boats with symmetric performance curves. Concurrent with boat design and material changes, sail designs and materials have evolved and are producing optimized performance for older and newer boat designs across the spectrum of wind speed and wind angle. These changes caused an adverse impact on single rating handicapping systems including PHRF. Based on input from our delegates over several years, our handicapping boards created the (Circular Random) CR rating in an attempt to make racing more fair in Windward-Leeward and Offwind / Random Course (Circular Random course) racing. Our technical committee and two handicapping boards are reviewing data gained since we became a two rating system to determine the efficacy of the CR rating across the 300+ type/model/series of boats rated in our fleet. We will also be publishing the initial CR rating process and its weighted implementation based on recorded boat parameters. The algorithm used to create a CR rating based on parameters sets the initial rating target. As observed performance data on actual boat CR performance becomes available our fleet's handicapping boards will determine which CR ratings will be adjusted and therefore deviate from the number created by the algorithm in order to ensure fair competition across the range of average conditions. Our handicapping boards will be posting information about observed data gathered, their analyses and updates to CR ratings in upcoming newsletters and website updates.
We will develop new and amend several sections of our website. We hope to improve our membership's understanding of how we operate to create actual transparency into the process. We issued certificates faster and more efficiently over the past two years since implementing the online application process and associated web presence. You have online access to all active certificates. Handicappers are able to process and issue certificates faster. We have conceived better data analysis tools and will add capabilities to our certificate system that auto-populate parameters for many unmodified type/model/series boat configurations. We will publish a user's guide within the website. Visit our website often and let us know how we're doing!
Thank you for reading our newsletters, visiting our site, providing us with feedback and working with us to improve your fleet and promote our sport!! See you on the racecourse.