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Personal Handicap Ratings and Series

The RYA will be launching a Personal Handicap Scheme - this is a new handicapping system which rewards individual improvement and is designed to run along side PY or Class racing.

The aim of their new scheme is

"to keep sailors interested in improving and progressing. In current PY racing the best sailor, judged on speed, tactics and strategy wins the race and beginner sailors may not see improvement. Personal Handicap Schemes give each sailor their own handicap. This allows all sailors to see improvement for every race they do.

The system works by taking past results, the more races the better, and using a calculator to give a percentage that each sailor is faster or slower than their boats PY. This percentage is applied to a set of PY results, after PY handicaps have been applied, with the aim that if every sailor sailed on their average, all sailors would have the same corrected time. Personal handicaps are progressive and so handicaps will change each series.

The RYA are currently rolling out a system that converts this percentage so that a sailor is given a Personal Index. This number is within an infinite range where 0 is the average sailor in a fleet. Sailors with negative numbers are quicker sailors and therefore have time added on. Sailors with a positive number have time taken away.

This gives a new sailor who has never raced before a physical representation of the progression which they are making. They may start off with a Personal Index of 50, after the first series of races the Personal Index is re-calculated, and they are now a 42".

You can see more information about the RYA scheme here personal-handicapping (

We will adopt the RYA system as it is becomes available. Until such time we will continue with our personal handicap system which uses adjusted PY numbers based on an individuals performance relative to that achieved by the sailor whose achieved PY is the average of the whole fleet. A copy of competitors' personal handicaps for the 2024 season is available below.

SDSWC 2024 Season Race Results calculated using SDSWC Personal Handicap Numbers:


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