Handicaps for the 2019 MMBA Regatta

For the Bird, Bear, Farallon Clipper, and L-36 classes

Nothing changes from years past. All boats within each class will continue to have the same start time and race against each other. Each class will fit into the overall regatta start sequence where space allows.

For Marconi I-IV, Gaff I-III, Ocean I&II, and Big Schooner classes

Handicaps will be mostly based on the fastest speed around a course in seconds per nautical mile, retrieved from nearly 40 years of regatta records.  These rates may be adjusted at the discretion of the handicap committee. Handicaps may consider ‘fast’ or ‘slow’ years, LOA and LWL combined with sail area and displacement, existing PHRF or CRF rating, and/or committee discretion. Note that boats that have raced in different courses over the years may have different handicaps for those courses.  New member vessels in these classes will be assigned an initial handicap by the handicap committee for their first year of participation until a first recorded time and seconds per mile rating has been established. That initial handicap may also consider LOA and LWL combined with sail area and displacement, existing PHRF or CRF rating, and/or committee discretion.  A work in progress!


In the past, the handicaps were applied to the start of the race in 5 minute intervals, with the first to finish being the winner of the class. This is no longer the case: the 5 min interval is now used solely to break up the field to help the starting sequence. This is an important change to be aware of: the handicap is not the 5 min start interval. The winner of each class will be based on the fastest corrected time, not on finish time. This means the first boat to cross the line for a given class may or may not be the winner of that class. By using this handicap method we are no longer constrained by 5 minute handicap intervals, and will calculate the winning time at the end of the race, rather than applying the handicap at the beginning of the race. The relative handicaps between boats will be used as a guide for distributing the field at the start, but will not be relevant in calculating the winning time.  


Boat A has as its fastest speed 550 s/mi, and Boat B has as its fastest speed 600 s/mi. A handicap is calculated simply by multiplying the seconds/mile (e.g., boat B with a fastest rate of 600 s/mi) by the course distance (e.g., 15.6 miles) to arrive at a theoretical elapsed time (e.g., 156 minutes).  The theoretical elapsed time of Boat A is 143 minutes (550 s/mi x 15.6 mi = 143 minutes). If there are only these two boats racing, Boat A is the scratch boat with a handicap of zero, and the handicap of Boat B is determined by subtracting the theoretical time of Boat A from Boat B (e.g., 156-143 = 13 minutes).

Boat B, now with a handicap of 13 minutes, is given a start time to a nearby (doesn’t need to be the nearest) 5 minute interval - so, 10 minutes before the scratch boat, boat A. After completing the course, Boat A, the scratch boat, finishes first, with an elapsed time of 160 minutes. Boat B finishes with an elapsed time of 172 minutes, 2 minutes later. The finish time of boat B is adjusted by applying the handicap (172-13 minutes) to arrive at an adjusted time of 159 minutes, winning the class by 1 minute.