Does the handicapper deserve to drink alone?

Generally the club handicapper drinks alone at the bar and is often referred to as ‘The knee-capper' with the critics always outnumbering the sailors who he can honestly call a personal friend.

In all fairness the handicapper cannot factor in a time frame for human error and generally the sailor has become his own handicap with a selection of poor tactical options.

Some skippers have been guilty of commenting they have been ‘sandbagged' well before the sails are tensioned and are basically beaten before they start. They are looking for someone to blame when a time-damaging error occurs with a poor start followed by a below average upwind boat speed and a slow spinnaker set.

All of these errors are human related and no handicapper should ever be blamed for the ‘dill factor' associated with the decisions form the cockpit or a messy crew technique on the deck. Personally I learnt at an early age that the person at fault was the individual sailor and with that came a code of respect for the handicap officer when he said, “No-one is perfect – we all make mistakes and mistakes cost time”.

The modern handicapping challenge is even more diversified with so many different designs now competing for club championship trophies. So the Club handicapper deserves to enjoy a more friendly post race fellowship and a vote of confidence when he enjoys his XXXX Frostie at the bar.

Jeanneau JY60
JPK August 2023