Monday, 18 March 2013

Personal handicaps from the H&H series

There has been talk of personal handicaps at my clubs recently, I thought it would be interesting to look at the recent Hare and Hounds series and derive some PHs from the results.  Here is the method I used :

1.  For each race:
   - Calculate the average corrected time across all competitors
   - Work out the handicap that a competitor would have to use to be corrected to the average time.
2.  Average the personal handicaps across the 12 races in the series, to get a single PH for the series.
3.  Remove competitors who sailed less than 4 races.

And here are the results (crews names omitted to get on one page, sorry crews):

By way of example, if Andy Gould's ISO sailed off 809 - which lets face it is a reasonable handicap for the ISO - he would have finished (on average) mid-fleet for the H&H series. 

Having made these calculations, the question is whether they are actually useful or not.  The only practical use that I can see are :
  •  For an individual races, if these personal handicaps were used to calculate results, it would allow sailors to assess whether they had a good race relative to their previous performance.  Not an exact measure as the mix of boats in the fleet changes race by race, but a good indication.  And perhaps encouraging for those who aren't at the top of the results sheet.
  • Over time, if an individuals performance improves relative to the fleet, you would expect a decrease in personal handicap.  So for those racing regularly in handicap fleets, it might be a good way to see whether training pays off.
Be interested to hear if other clubs have implemented personal handicap schemes that have worked out.

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