I suspect that even a very simple waterline, weight, beam and sail area would spawn some really ugly boats. I was hoping more for some kind of handicap similar to golf that self perpetuated the updates by using an average system over a series of races or regattas. Thus one hot (or dismal) night wouldn’t carry on throughout the year. It might play a part for a short period of time, but eventually the law of averages would override.
A simple method would be to base times by classes which consist of very few different boats. Boats continue to race as a one-design/developmental class. I.e. - no time differential for, say, the US1 Meter class. But add in the number of one meter sized boats and this task becomes daunting just due to the different models and their physical sailing abilities. As an example - how to rate a 1 meter Soling against an IOM. I wouldn’t even want to throw the multihull design into the mix - yet it is a legitimate design.
My idea for at least getting some data is to have a first and last place time for an IOM regatta - same for a US1M and an ODOM. Include the 1 Meter Soling and Seawind so you now have 5 major classes. A total of 10 times would be used (first and last) which gives the data for a total race time. Calculations can then be made as to how many minutes the slowest “CLASS” - not boat - would be given in order to tie the winning “CLASS” boat. Remember - we don’t do it by boat, but by class averages. This would still give the sailor with the fastest boat design a slight edge, but sailors with slower boats sailing better than their average would also see a reward for sailing better than average. It might take several multi-race regattas to get some good averages. If wind strength were included, it might provide a difference in rating depending on wind. Thus a mulithull in light air might get “killed” by a Seawind, might be middle of the pack after handicapping in medium air and would be fighting with an IOM in heavy air for the top spot. The only problem is sail area size changes as an IOM drops for “A” rig to “C” rig - but the Soling and ODOM are stuck with a one design single rig, regardless of wind strength.
With some of these minor issues set aside for a moment, using the average and handicap applied, one would start to see a pattern arising as times are computed to make all finishers times identical. Once these patterns are recorded and added to by multiple regattas and race committees, the eventual time average can be calculated and a handicap number assigned. The key is to get a large number of boats over a period of time so those averages emerge without a one-time hole-shot and hitting all the shifts skewing the average.
As noted this takes time to develop, and it requires participation by class race committees and secretaries. Without their support and timing and reporting, problems of geographical area handicaps like PHRF arise. Each year it isn’t done is one more year without a way to compare.
Since Portsmouth uses a class of boat with wind strength and actual time reporting, the one or two “custom” creations don’t have as big an impact. I was just frustrated that I couldn’t get folks to volunteer to provide even a few final times so I could develop a legitimate example to be used. We continue to speculate, and all we really need are the time differential and the approximate wind strength to begin to make this handicap idea work. What it is eventually called, or how the boats are rated cannot begin to be discussed unless we know that ON AVERAGE, an IOM finishes 4 minutes in front of a Soling 1 Meter. At least with honest data, one could proceed with some method.
I guess if everyone sails a one deign class with a minimum of 20 boats in the class (here in the US) they really could care less. Yet we decry the low turnouts and we already know there are many boats of only one or two in an area that would like to race together if there was some form of handicapping. Handicapping isn’t the best thing - but if it’s all you have then 5-6 different designs could at least sail together locally if nothing else.
Just some ramblings. Sorry