Handicapping sailors

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Handicapping sailors

Postby Pensive Mission » Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:17 am

I'd like to start a discussion of handicapping races with the goal of making the race itself more exciting. My premise is that a lot of the fun of racing is dueling head to head with another boat over some part, or maybe all, of the course. Referring to the results of last Tuesday's races at NYC pasted below, each race was won by the same skipper (and, yes, I have considered taking matters into my own hands and handicapping Cory by tieing him down somewhere) with delta's to second place around 30 seconds or more. The rest of the racers were somewhat more evenly matched (although it does appear Lar, Rummie and Francois stopped off for a pint during Race 4), and I imagine the close finishes in the first two races were the most interesting and fun aspects of the evening.

So, I think it would be interesting to assign, for example, a 30-second handicap to Cory, implemented as a shift in allowed start time for him from 0:00 to 0:30, and see him work his way back to the head of the field. The other sailors would also carry a handicap, which in the specific case below would be similar to each other and about 30 seconds smaller than Cory's. I see implementation problems, and there will always be ways for unethical sailors to play the system, but for the informal races that, as far as I've seen, constitute a large fraction of the sailboat racing, I think it would be a net plus.

Note that I am *not* discussing PHRF-style handicapping, which as I dimly understand refers to leveling the playing field for different classes of boats in a race. The handicap I mean here is assigned to a skipper at the helm of a particular class boat. This handicap could be assigned based on some weighted combination of previous race results, perhaps also including hot laps results.

I apologize if my lack of RL (or SL, for that matter) racing experience makes this suggestion moot or ridiculous, but it seems to me it could make things a bit more exciting.

Tuesday night NYC results (070403):

Race 1: Bridgehampton Short Course (C2)

1: Cory Copeland - +00:06:40
2: Vin Mariani - +00:07:14
3: Rumhead McMillan - +00:07:23
4: Lar Kienzle - +00:08:20
5: Francois Jacques - +00:08:44


Race 2: G5X

1: Cory Copeland - +00:07:19
2: Vin Mariani - +00:08:02
3: Rumhead McMillan - +00:08:07
4: Lar Kienzle - +00:08:27
5: Francois Jacques - +00:08:35


Race 3: Bridgehampton Long Course

1: Cory Copeland - +00:09:48
2: Rumhead McMillan - +00:10:24
3: Vin Mariani - +00:12:10
4: Lar Kienzle - +00:13:09
5: Francois Jacques-- DNF


Race 4: G6X

1: Cory Copeland - +00:12:12
2: Vin Mariani - +00:13:57
3: Lar Kienzle - +00:15:15
4: Francois Jacques - +00:15:32
5: Rumhead McMillan - +00:15:43
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A possible strategy

Postby Theodore Polonsky » Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:41 am

The yacht club near us (RL) has a friendly regatta every Sunday. They give a one minute handicap to the winner of last week's race. The handicap is cumulative, so if Andy has won 3 weeks in a row, he's got 3 minutes this week. This has the effect of keeping Andy from winning EVERY week, and eventually Ben or Claire can get a shot, usually every 2 or 3 weeks.

It doesn't handicap the fleet, it only handicaps the constant winner. By which I mean Cory.
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Penalizing last week's winner

Postby Pensive Mission » Thu Apr 05, 2007 12:17 pm

Thanks for the response, Theodore! This has the virtue of simplicity, but the goal is not to give others a chance to win, but to make the race itself more exciting. I infer the handicap is simply tacked on to the winner's time. Is that correct? I'm suggesting making the winner start later than the others, but the handicap time. Also, one-minute steps seems severe for the 8-15 minute races we typically run in SL. But the details could be modified to fit our situations.
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Postby Theodore Polonsky » Thu Apr 05, 2007 1:22 pm

I think they delay the handicapped boat's start, but I'm not sure. I agree that would be the way to do it in SL, to keep the race interesting.

And yes, 15s or 30s handicaps would be much better for short races.
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Postby Theodore Polonsky » Thu Apr 05, 2007 1:22 pm

I believe last week's winner buys a 6 pack for this week's winner, but may be mistaken on that. ;)
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huh

Postby Jane Fossett » Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:08 pm

Wait;I'm confused. Let's back up a second...
Pensive wants to take Cory and tie him down somewhere?
There must be a rule against that...
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Postby Elisha Paklena » Thu Apr 05, 2007 4:22 pm

I think there are scripted beds for that.
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Re: huh

Postby Pensive Mission » Thu Apr 05, 2007 4:33 pm

Jane Fossett wrote:Wait;I'm confused. Let's back up a second...
Pensive wants to take Cory and tie him down somewhere?
There must be a rule against that...


I stated it that way *precisely* as a troll for Ms Fossett. I am so glad to have my worldview so quickly and accurately confirmed. :)
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Re: huh

Postby Jane Fossett » Thu Apr 05, 2007 4:54 pm

Pensive Mission wrote:I stated it that way *precisely* as a troll for Ms Fossett. I am so glad to have my worldview so quickly and accurately confirmed. :)

#1: I have never thought of Pensive as a troll (well, not *precisely* anyway);
#2: Although it's flatterring, I don't think my opinions should form anyone's "worldview;"
--- and ---
#3: I agree with Elisha.
xox, Pense!
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