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RYA seeks club feedback on National Handicap Scheme for cruisers

'Mc Millan Regatta'    Ben McMillan
At the RYA, whilst everyone has been getting out onto the water and enjoying themselves in the lovely summer sunshine of the past few months, the newly formed RYA Technical and Racing Services team has been working hard in the background to promote the National Handicap Scheme for Cruisers (NHC) and has been out and about offering guidance to clubs on its use.

NHC was launched by the RYA in March of this year as a replacement to the old Portsmouth Yardstick Scheme for Cruisers. It is a progressive handicapping scheme which adjusts a boats handicap based on its performance.

The RYA has been promoting the use of NHC, alongside IRC as a method of providing a wide range of racing options for clubs and sailors with a wide range of racing needs.

The Port of Fowey Race Organising Committee (POFROC), the joint organisation for Royal Fowey Yacht Club and Fowey Gallants Sailing Club, took up NHC for their premium event of the summer, the Fowey Royal Regatta. Chris Ogg, Rear Commodore of Royal Fowey Yacht Club explains the decision to use NHC: 'The two clubs in the Port of Fowey are actually quite thin on resources and looking at NHC, it seemed an ideal turn-key handicap system which took a vast amount of pre-event preparation off of the event organisers. It also appealed to our core cruiser fleet who, whilst are interested in racing, are very much crewed by families.

'During the event, once we had set up the scoring program, NHC was so simple to use. There were no discussions around the handicap and we received quite a few positive comments from the sailors saying how good the system was in providing closer racing. It took a lot of pressure off the organisers and another attractive feature was how easily it dealt with late comers using the NHC Calculator issued by the RYA.'

Bas Edmonds, RYA Technical and Racing Services Manager commented: 'I was lucky enough to be invited down to Fowey to help out with the preparations and watch some of the racing. NHC has had a mixed reception in the South West and I was pleased to see it working exactly as we had designed it and for it to receive such positive comments from both the club and sailors. Some members from other clubs in the region had also come down to see how it worked and it’s a positive start for this area in building a strong cruiser racer base.'

Chris Ogg continued by saying, 'We have decided to continue using NHC for club racing from the autumn onwards and will dual score our NHC fleets with our IRC fleets giving all competitors a bit more interest to their racing.'

The RYA is keen to build on the experiences of clubs who have used NHC over the summer and are looking to hold talks and gather feedback over the winter.

'What our experiences have showed us so far is that the type of club racing going on is much more varied than we thought and we will need to expand on some of the different scenarios to ensure that adjustments are carried out fairly across all types of racing', concluded Bas.

For more information on NHC please visit the RYA Website

If your club is interested in the RYA holding a talk on NHC then please contact the Technical and Racing Services area on

by Emma Slater


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12:07 PM Wed 18 Sep 2013GMT

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