This topic contains 4 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  PETER ABRAHAMS 6 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #18081


    Maybe someone is familiar with the concept of an advantage to be applied to the PY Racing Handicap for ‘Vintage boats’.

    Is that something that applies in the GP Class?

    I have heard that it does in for example the Merlin Rocket Class.

    If it does apply in GP Class would my boat number 4249 fall into that category?

    Hoping someone can help,

    All the best,

    Peter Abrahams GP4249.






  • #18083

    Oliver Shaw

    That is an interesting proposition.

    My understanding is that it is something which CVRDA do as routine,  and they publish the handicaps which they use;

    Interpreting that list,  for the GP14,  the first point to note is that these handicaps are all based on the 1965 Portsmouth Yardstick system,  which is the system which was in use when many of these boats were reasonably new.   This used a rating of 100 for a nominal standard boat,  rather than somewhere around 1150-1200 for the same nominal standard boat today.   (Compare Firefly 100 in 1965,  and 1172 today,  as well as GP14 100 in 1965 (sailing with genoa) and 1130 today;  and I rather suspect that the Firefly will have evolved less far than the GP14,  because Fireflies always were the strictest of the one-design classes.)   Today’s system affords greater precision (or discrimination),  although not necessarily greater accuracy;   and as a physics examiner I use the terms accuracy and precision in their technical meaning within that discipline.

    Interpreting further,  for a GP14 built before 1965,   with alloy spars and dacron (terylene) sails,  100 if sailing with a genoa,  and 103 if sailing with the standard (small) jib.   For a GP14 built after 1965,   with alloy spars and dacron (terylene) sails,  reduce these figures by 1,  to give 99 or 102 respectively.   Note that there is no mention of whether a spinnaker is used,  and if memory serves correctly that is fully in keeping with the handicap figures used in the sixties,  when I was regularly racing and also officiating at a club which offered both class racing and handicap racing;    the figures are the same,  and there was no handicap penalty for using a spinnaker.

    Elsewhere (,  they make clear that these are base figures which they then adjust according to the degree of originality or modernisation of the boat;   in particular,  “We also allow the race committee to adjust the handicap a bit dependent upon the ‘state of tune’; a fully modernised boat will expect to have their handicap lowered a little and a boat sailing with original (or lovingly made replacement!) wooden mast or fittings will be blessed with a little higher number. Boats using original cotton sails should have at least 6 points added to the handicap, as the sails are no longer competitive with Dacron, and it will be nice to see more cotton sailed boats racing!  A boat with new cotton sails should have her handicap adjusted as seen fit by the race committee.”    Note that this is vitally important!

    For Class Association events we have not,  so far as I am aware,  adopted this approach;  but where we have had modern boats and a vintage/classic fleet sailing at the same event we have had a different course (and a different start time) for the older boats,  which have had their own separate set of results.   There is perhaps scope for using such a handicap system,  and it is something which we might perhaps consider if we get enough entries to make it worthwhile.   When entries have been only very small I suspect that it is sufficient if those sailing know which boats are highly original and which are modernised,  and take their own satisfaction from their individual performance in the light of those differences.

    For club events,  it is a matter for individual clubs to consider whether to adopt such a system,  and there is nothing to prevent you approaching your own club with a proposal.   The big difficulty would be how to standardise the 1965 Portsmouth Yardsticks above against the 2019 Portsmouth Number (1130 for the GP14),  because the whole point of the exercise is that these numbers apply to boats with significant differences in their performance.    We do not have a 1965 class which can be reliably regarded as having identical performance to a 2019 top race-spec GP14,  although the Firefly is perhaps a reasonable comparison boat for a 1965 top race-spec GP14.   However my understanding is that clubs do have a degree of discretion in how they handicap different boats,  so one approach would be for them to look at past race results for both modern and older GP14s,  compare their elapsed times,  and hence devise an ad hoc handicap for the older boats,  and then keep that under review.    If they want a starting point for that exercise they might like to very tentatively see what happens to the results if they give 1965-spec GP14s the same handicap as a Firefly,  i.e. 1172,  on the basis that they both had the same handicap (100) in 1965 (when the GP14 was new);    that amounts to a 3.7% adjustment.   I am not making any predictions whether that would give sensible results,  but it might at least be worth applying it to some past elapsed times and seeing whether the corrected times are then sensible.

    Hope this helps,



    • This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by  Oliver Shaw.
  • #18087


    Oliver, thank you.

    A brilliant piece of work which gives me much more insight. I will not ‘push it’ with our sailing committee (of which I am a member). I shall however endeavour to sail much more skilfully and hope that the Vintage Merlin Rocket results are immaterial.

    Kind regards,


  • #18088

    Oliver Shaw

    For what it is worth,  around four years ago a friend and I campaigned his GP14 no. 47,  Caltha,  in the Vintage Regatta which was run alongside the End of Season Championship at Bassenthwaite.    Also competing in the vintage class were Stewart Elder with Aeolian (no. 28),  and Steve Parry with “The Old Yellow Boat” which latter was sailing under a modern rig.   Caltha was sailing under original rig,  with the standard (small) jib and no spinnaker,  and (I am reasonably sure,  if memory serves correctly) wooden spars.    It was also absolutely her first time out after restoration,  with nil tuning and working up as yet,  and I discovered in the first race that the slatted floorboards were an inch or two too long   –   so they were just long enough to hook up the tail of the mainsheet in a bit of a tangle and cause chaos!!

    You will understand that we had a significant competitive disadvantage.

    If I remember correctly the Vintage Fleet had the same start as the main fleet,  but sailed fewer laps.    My personal satisfaction was that despite our competitive disadvantage we were nonetheless overlapping the tail-enders of the main fleet,  despite their much faster rig.




  • #18117


    I’ll do my best to get to that standard! all the best, Peter

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