Club race scoring PY over wide range of handicap

We race in relatively small fleets so usual one or two of each design so an all-in start.

The PY can range from RS400 to Picco or slower (1550 is the slowest, 948 the fastest)

We have the rule that a dinghy race can be 45 minutes and that boats must finish within 10 minutes of the first boat - we are tidal restricted and cannot afford to hang around.

This occasionally creates the issue that the slower boats are scored DNF due to being 10 minutes after the RS400, whereas on handicap they could still do well or win in the race.

Also marking aspiring sailors DNF is not great for the enjoyment out of the race.

So we came up with using laps - so the slower boats do 1 or 2 laps and the faster boats do 3 x laps and we use Sailwave lap system to work it all out.

We thought of using different time outs depending on fleets etc but we as volunteers do occasional Race Officer duty and things need to be simple so we stuck with fixed 10 minutes and 45 minutes.

My question is - is there a better way to do this ? How do you do it at your club if you also have small (10-15 boats mixed designs wide range).


Hi Boris,

We have a similar situation (Not quite such a wide range of PY - 719 to 1153) also tidal.

The solution we have is similar to yours but do not time boats out.

We have a target race time of 45 mins and target 15 mins Lap time for the majority of the fleet.

We race until the BLUE Flag is up, (These days a windward Leeward course with boats passing through the Start / Finish Line on every lap ad times noted on each lap…)

The OOD will raise the BLUE flag to achieve the minimal waiting time between races.
The may mean its raised for the fastest boats as they are not too far ahead of the slower craft or just after a group of fast boats have completed a lap as they will not be too far behind the slower ones at the end of the LAP.

This may mean the race contains a Cat or RS800 that has completed 4 laps the majority have completed 3 and the slower boats just 2. The decision is based position on the water only so its is possible for a boats in same class to complete different numbers of laps. And again let Sailwave do the average lap calculation.

Works well for us, we also give the slower classes a bit of a leg up on their PY due the usually strong tide we sail in.

Hope this helps


Many thanks Keith, that is very useful.

Can you tell me more about the legup for the slower boats, we also have strong tides if we race at springs so that might be worth a look.

Many thanks Boris