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 3 July 2000 Issue # 227

By Ike Stephenson

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Queens Cup: Handicapping and Competitive Balance

 

Table 1: 2000 Queens Cup Times
Boat Elapsed Time Allowance Corrected Time Speed
Bantu 9:30:34 3:07:50 6:22:44 7.18
Deep Powder 6:03:34 + 1:28:47 7:32:31 11.38

Once again the Queens Cup has been won by Bantu.  Bantu now is a several time winner of this race.  In light of the results it seems fair to examine the issue of competitive balance and the handicapping of the race.

For purposes of this article competitive balance will mean a situation where all competitors have a shot at winning if they sail their boat well.  The handicapping system of the Queens Cup is PHRF.

Table 1 shows the elapsed and corrected times of Bantu, the Block Island 41 that was the overall winner and Deep Powder a CM 60 that was first to finish.  Deep Powder rates -78, Bantu 165.  Deep Powder must sail 2:23 seconds faster per mile to beat Bantu on a handicapped basis.  

For the Queens Cup the course distance was 68.3 miles.  For Deep Powder to win they would have had to finished 1 hour 10 minutes earlier.  This equates to an elapsed time of 4 hours 53 minutes, an average speed of 13.99 knots.

A check of the Torresen Sailing Site's Sailing Records list shows only three monohull boats have achieved record average speeds above 13.99 knots.  They are Phocea a 244 foot super yacht, Mari Cha a 145 footer and Beau Geste a Volvo Ocean race 60.  

Of the three only Beau Geste is comparable to Deep Powder.  It can be said that 60 foot mono hulls can reach average speed of 13.99 knots.  However, it can't be expected.

It would seem that the Queens Cup handicapping system arrived at a situation where Deep Powder had an unfair handicap and little realistic chance of winning.  A win would have been equivalent to a world record performance.  For Bantu, it simply required they sail to a high, but not world record level.

The inaccurate handicapping system has left the Queens Cup as a race with little competive balance.  Many sailors grumble that the winner is determined before the fleet leaves the dock.  After running the above numbers I agree!

Disclosure Note:  I did sail in the Queens Cup.  The boat I was on did not fare well, due not to handicapping, but poor sailing.  However, a well sailed boat such as Deep Powder would seem to deserve a fairer fate.

Tour De France: This one via water

The Tour De Voile is an annual four week event that mimics the more famous Tour De France bike race.  The Tour De Voile is a four week event that puts the fleet through a  variety of races both inshore and offshore while sailing around France.  The venues cover all three of France's Coasts:  Channel, Atlantic and Mediterranean, and Britain and Italy.  30 races will be sailed broken up by 16 stopovers.

34 Mumm 30's will be sailed by both amateur and professional crews.

Initial racing scheduled for Dieppe France was halted by a commercial fisherman's strike.  Upset by increased diesel costs fisherman blockaded the harbor.

This mean the event's initial race would be an offshore event from Dieppe France to Plymouth England.  The fleet is still in the English Channel contesting this race.

Once in Portsmouth there will be a pair of inshore races.  Then another offshore from Portsmouth to Cherbourg-Octeveille a distance of 77 miles across the English Channel..  Cherbourg will host 1 or 2 inshore races, time depending.  From there the Mumm 30's will sail 105 miles to Treburden.

Sailing Daily will cover the weeks Tour De Voile events.

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Tour De Voile Full Route

Jun. 29 – Jul. 2 Dieppe
July 3 – 5 Portsmouth
July 5 – 7 Cherbourg
July 8 – 9 Trebeurden
July 9 – 10 Perros-Guirec
July 11 – 13 Le Crouesty-Arzon
July 13 – 14 Saint-Nazaire
July 14 – 15 Nantes
July 16 – 18 Ile de Rι - Ars en Rι
July 18 La Rochelle
July 18 – 21 Saint-Cyprien
July 21 – 22 Sθte
July 23 – 25 Bandol
July 25 – 26 Port Grimaud
July 27 – 28 Imperia
July 29 – 31 Calvi

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