Magnetic Island Race Week 2016: performance handicap equaliser

 Entrants to the Performance Handicap Class of this year’s 10th SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week will experience a new divisional split system for the regatta which runs from September 1 to 6, 2016.

Townsville Yacht Club event organising committee chair and regatta competitor Mike Steel expects this innovation will ensure the fleet are kept working hard right to the end of the annual event.

“PRO Denis Thompson has looked carefully at how we can evolve the regatta and respond to both the comments of past competitors and the constantly changing performance fleet,” Steel says.

“We have had nine years of great racing. The handicap change this year is an evolution which will ensure our tenth year delivers even more great racing in the performance division as well as in all the other six divisions.”

Thompson explains Magnetic Island Race Week has had various performance handicap classes over the years.

“These classes include Performance Racing, Cruising with Spinnakers, Cruising Non Spinnaker among others.  At times the regatta has had low numbers in some of these classes and high numbers in others.

“This year the TYC committee looked at how to best equalise the fleets to produce better racing across all the fleets,” Thompson says.

The organising committee decided to offer to monohulls wishing to race with spinnakers, in addition to the IRC class, the Performance Handicap Class. This class will be split up into divisions depending on the number of entrants in the overall division.

The intention is that like boats will then be racing together.

“The Performance Handicap Class allows boat owners to enter knowing the racing and the handicapping will give every entry in that division a fair chance of getting on the podium, if sailed well, or at least better than her competitors,” Thompson says.

This approach to the performance boats will help the race committee to make the call to set different courses and course lengths for each division within Performance Handicap Class.

The courses will be a mixture of passage and shorter Cleveland Bay races around laid marks to help the winners to prove their superiority in all types of course configurations. For some divisions the race committee has said they may set more than one race on some of the regatta days.

After each race the handicaps will be adjusted based on the performance of the yacht and how the boat raced against the others in the division.

Towards the end of the regatta the handicap system will take into account how each boat is doing in the series as well as in the last few races.  “This equalises the fleet and compresses the points table to make for an exciting last race of the regatta,” Thompson surmises.

Entry to all seven classes is open at

– Tracey Johnstone

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