Was there a sea change in racers perception about the accuracy and precision that handicap ratings can fairly deliver to racers? Again… back in the day… I spent a lot of time implementing USPN’s 4 windspeed ratings for beachcats. Everyone understood that the different cat classes flew a hull at different windspeeds and they wanted this non linear performance reflected in the ratings they used. They had no concept about the precision that is inherent in a sailboat race. Now the accuracy of a ratings table of 4 windspeeds without the 100 vetted data points was bogus (and for many classes, just a percentage correction to seed the table). The sailors in the US traded the simplicity of a single number system USPN DPN or SCHRS for the perception that wind speed generated a more accurate handicap race result. By contrast the Euro sailors using Texel and SCHRS calculated two wind speed ratings tables but found that most clubs used the single number SCHRS (or Texel) systems for simplicity. They argued that the inherent noise in a sailboat race made all of the complexity inherent in selecting wind speeds somewhat useless.
A second major factor in the accuracy of a handicap race result was the impact of course selection. Now multihull sailors assumed that the continual updating of the race result data would adjust the ratings for the evolution of the kind of racing actually sailed. Dixie Portsmouth Assumed equal amounts of reaching, running and beating……aka the classic Olympic course. W/L courses are not that. The reality of course was that ratings for most classes never caught up. The RYA system that the US now uses is much much better in their implementation. SCHRS is a measurement rule that assumed W/L racing and other course configurations were more or less fairly handicapped with a single number. Course selection was determinitve when racing spin and non spin boats on handicap. An extra leg with a finish to windward would screw the spin boats on handicap.
Clearly ORC racers feel the same way about their boats performance in low medium and high winds AND the impact of the course used on the accuracy aka the fairness, of the handicap results. Since an ORC rating is not cheap these owners value the perception of accuracy yielded by correcting for course and wind speed and have gotten their clubs to run ORC race circles and score accordingly. My question is… In practice, are the ORC practices of using wind speed and course selection generating more accurate race results warranted or just an inherent bias that of course wind speed is critical to fair performance evaluation and of course it is worth doing. Ie confirmation bias. The world wide growth in ORC seems to indicate that owners perceive the rule as fair.
With respect to precision of a rating… ie how many decimal places are used…. I remember Sailwave yahoo debates about the interpretation of a tie between 2 boats on handicap corrected time. Should you or should you not add another decimal place? Another example…. The argument was presented this way. Suppose that in a one design race of 30 footers with 9 boats getting to the starboard layline at A mark head to tail and one boat on port…. So all boats are sailing to their rating ie the rating is accurate! The order of 1 to 9 is random or based on their starting position. …. The boat on port will have to duck 9 30 foot boats and so will be 30 secs behind the equally well sailed boats. So this is simply noise in the rating caused by the port starboard rule and part of racing…. But this factor means that getting more decimal places in your rating is silly. The inherent noise will always exist. Now in a one design race…your order of finish is the actual result and so the concept of rating precision is meaningless. Handicap racing will never be as precise as one design racing in sorting out sailor skill.
Any thoughts on the merits of the ORC handicap racing approach.