The Rygged Start
to spice up your club racing?
Fall-out of Newcomers a problem?
Bored with the same members winning week after week?
you may find the answer in The Rygged Start - a personal handicapping system
designed to encourage beginners and add excitement back into club racing
Experienced 'model yachters' tend to forget that to newcomers, model yacht racing
can appear a pretty daunting experience. This can be particularly true at the
start, when anarchy and overcrowding readily overwhelms the beginner. As a result,
the 'fall-out' rate of newcomers can be very high.
To overcome this problem the Lee Valley Model Yacht Club introduced, in 1991,
a personal handicapping system (the Rygged Start) that was designed to:
- Relieve the beginner of the pressures
of crowded start lines, until such time as they are sufficiently experienced
- Give encouragement, by enabling
some early wins.
- Eliminate the beginner's proneness
to hanging around well behind the the start line in order to avoid close contact
The Solution- The Rygged Start (Red/Yellow/Green/Go)
Every member shall be given a personal handicap based on past performance. Newcomers
will automatically be granted a 'full' handicap upon joining the club, unless
they are of proven ability as a result of past membership of another club.
The handicap granted shall indicate the number of seconds advantage that a sailor
shall have at the start and shall be according to the following table:
Each sailor possessing a handicap shall carry a coloured TELL-TALE on the BACK
STAY of their boat. Any boats not carrying a Tell-Tale will be expected to start
at the proper time.
Boats with a Red handicap are allowed to cross the start line up to 30 seconds
'early' i.e. on the 30 seconds count on the start tape. The Race Officer will
announce 'Reds Away'.
Boats with a Yellow handicap are allowed to cross the start line up to 20 seconds
'early' i.e. on the 20 second count on the start tape. The Race Officer will announce
Boats with a Green handicap are allowed to cross the start line up to 10 seconds
'early' i.e. on the 10 second count on the start tape. The Race Officer will announce
When a sailor has won 'X' or more races (see table below) of a session (say one
day's or half day's sailing, they will be moved down one colour. An outright session
win will also result in a lowering of the handicap by one colour.
|No of races in session
||No of wins 'X' necessary to change down one colour
|0 - 5
|6 - 9
Once a sailor has moved down a colour they may not be moved back up at any time.
- Tell-Tales can be made available
from the Race Officer. Any 'promotions' from one colour to another can be
announced by the Race Officer at the end of a session and can be accompanied
by a rousing cheer from everyone present.
- Introducing the system can be
achieved in a number of ways. You can, for example, start by giving every
member a Red handicap. This can lead to an interesting and exciting year's
racing as members sort themselves out into their real ability levels.
- Another benefit of the system
is the way in which beginners are introduced to close quarter racing 'gradually'.
This occurs as the faster sailors catch them up after the start and try
to overhaul them.
- The advantages gained by the
system is fixed in terms of time but the relative benefit will depend on
the length of the races i.e. a 20 second advantage is more beneficial on
a race lasting 10 minutes than a race lasting 15 minutes. The times suggested
have worked well over a long trial period and should not be changed. The
system has the benefit of naturally sorting itself out so long as a club
aims for reasonably consistent race lengths throughout the season.
- After 8 years the system is
still in regular use at Lee Valley. We have a number of sailors who now
race regularly at national level and who came to us with no previous knowledge
of sailing or racing.
by kind permission of Lee Valley MYC