Friday, 25 February 2022

Some recent Updates

 The latest update to the HalSail website went live on 22 February. The main new features are:

  • People logged in as race officers (and anybody logged in with a higher status, of course) can now mark races as cancelled or abandoned from the Results / Enter new results screen. They can also mark them as No results yet (i.e. ready to sail) if they were previously cancelled or abandoned. They can do the same from the Results / Review and edit results screen. As before, race officers cannot make any changes to races that have been validated by somebody logged in as a sailing secretary.
  • There is an improved layout for preselecting boats that have entered a race, from the Choose races screen. You can enter guest helms or crews on this screen and, if there is more than one race scheduled for each racing class on a particular day, you can copy the selections and guests from race to race.
  • The Result / Series winners page can now vary the number of places to show. Previously it was always the first three places.
  • Delete all button has been added to pages that show boats that are not in a racing class or boats with no results.

IRC handicaps for 2022 are coming in fast, while PY Numbers are unchanged

The number of northern-hemisphere ratings is building up fast on the IRC website. They are downloaded into HalSail automatically every day so that the default handicaps given to boats in IRC classes are kept fully up to date. Note that the ratings from 2021 are no longer available, so boats that have not yet got a 2022 rating will appear as having no default handicap. You can see all the latest IRC ratings from the Boats / Standard handicaps page. At the time of writing this blog there were 1437 of them.

The RYA has announced that, as the number of returns during 2021 were reduced by covid, there will be no changes to the Portsmouth Yardstick list for 2022. So the default handicaps for PY racing classes in HalSail and Hal's Race Results remain unchanged.

Monday, 21 February 2022

Unreliable handicaps in progressive series

I am frequently asked questions about progressive handicapping, where the results of each race are used to update the handicaps for the next race. HalSail has two such schemes: NHC from the RYA and ECHO from Irish Sailing.

A frequent question is: "What about races where there is a major wind shift, or boats delayed due to breakages? The results are not a reliable indication of each boat's performance and should not be used to update handicaps."

That is true, but unfortunately there is no provision in either the NHC or ECHO schemes for excluding individual races from the handicap-updating procedure. The NHC algorithm does limit the handicap changes for individual boats if their corrected times are very far from the average, but the race is still included in the calculations. Details of how the calculations are done are on the HalSail website, here for NHC and here for ECHO. If you are mathematically inclined, you can click through from these links to the detailed definition of the algorithms.

If  you are keen to exclude some races from the calculations there is a work around, but it is rather laborious. You need two racing classes, one with plain TCF handicaps and one with progressive handicaps (NHC or ECHO). You put all your boats into both classes and set up your main series for the plain TCF class and a tandem series for the progressive class. You use the tandem series to work out new handicaps after each race and manually transfer them to the TCF class with starting times just before the next race. If the results of any race are deemed unreliable, you exclude that race from the tandem series.

Increased Server Capacity

The number of clubs using HalSail for large regattas continues to grow, which is great. Of course all those sailors checking their results p...