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Overview for Parents & Sailors:     Optimist Open Club Competition

In the past, some WBBC sailors have expressed disappointment that some races they have participated in do not appear in any race results and we acknowledge that racing is a very effective way of improving our skills and of learning how well we are doing.


Race Results enable us to measure it.


This season 2021-22 we are making sure all races have a result that is captured in some way.
ALL club races are now scored for at least one competition series.


An overall Club Seasonal Handicap Series (see below) that includes ALL races has been introduced.

We expect to be scoring up to forty races over the season in this series.

The sixteen races, called the "handicap series races” in the sailing program, and which also provide the Championship series, are now scored for three separate series competitions, all with a slightly different scoring system and competitive objective.

All fleets , both Junior and Senior have a similar competition structure to that described here.

The  “Club Championship Series”:      {Vice Commodores Trophy}

A series that runs all season. The Club Championship Series of sixteen races is scored on the SAME sixteen races as the Four Short Handicap Series races, called “Series” Races in the Sailing Program.
Points are based on places across the finish or “Line” results of all races completed in the four “Handicap Series” that are scheduled during the season. We use the “low-points” scoring system. 1st=1pts, 2nd=2pts etc.
Sixteen races are scheduled and when four to ten races are completed during the season boats will discard their worst score. If eleven to sixteen races are completed a boats score will be their ten best scores.
When one or more series races are blown out two races will be held the next scheduled day until such time as the program is up to date or the last scheduled date for that series has passed. Because each series has a finite finishing date a run of bad weather could mean not all four races in a series will be completed and the championship scoring will therefore be less than sixteen races.    

Dates for these Series/Club Championship races have been scheduled so that they generally avoid conflict or work in with the most popular regattas or events that our sailors are likely to attend.
We encourage sailors at all levels to enter regattas. There are two NZIOD Regattas that count for representative honours this season, the OptiNats at Napier Sailing Club and the InterIslanders at Queen Charlotte Yacht Club in Picton.  Try to go to BOTH.

How to do well in the Club Championship.

  • Sail and finish as many championship races as possible AND aim for good consistent results.

  • Attend formal Coaching Clinics and After-school coaching.

  • Race regularly in local and regional and national regattas – always a lot of fun and a chance to make new friends.

Four “Handicap Series” Competition and Trophies:

These are called the “Series” Races in the Sailing Program. These four Short Handicap Series are scored on the SAME races as the Club Championship races. Four races are scheduled for each of the four handicap series. If four races are sailed then boats will discard their worst score to calculate the winner on line and the winner on handicap for each of the four series, otherwise all races count. See below a note on Handicaps.

How to do well on handicap in a Handicap Series.

  • The shorter series of races rewards regular participation over a shorter period.

  • The progressive handicap system rewards improving relative performance.

  • Try and sail and finish all the races in a Series. Be consistent.

  • This season these Series allow one “discard” race, but only if four races are sailed, otherwise they all count.

  • The points for a Did Not Compete (DNC) are based on the biggest fleet in any of the races, so it can be a big penalty.

  • Remember, with a series, starting with intention of finishing is rewarded over those that decide not to compete at all.

  • Get out and have a go anyway.

The “Club Seasonal Handicap” Series :      {Ayers Cup}

A series that runs all season. Scores almost all club races all season.

Expect up to 40x races.

It includes SAME 16x races as the Club Championship and the four short, four race, Handicap series PLUS most other non-championship races called “General Handicap (GH)” races in the Sailing Program.

ALL race results are included. No discarded races.

Results are calculated using a “Progressive Handicap” system in the Sailwave Results Software.


How to do well in the Seasonal Handicap.

  • Try to sail, or at least start, in as many races as possible, regardless.

  • This competition rewards regular participation no matter what. It rewards improving relative performance over the season.

  • If you are at the club DO try and get on the water with the intention of completing the race.

  • There are no “discard” races in this series, they all count. There could be as many as forty races.  

  • The penalty for DNC ( Did Not Compete ) is still significant but relatively lower for DNC in this seasonal series than a DNC in the short handicap series or the Championship series.

Regattas & Clinics & Coaching

We encourage sailors to enter Regattas, both home and away, especially the NZIOD Regattas and the Junior Regatta at Muritai Yacht Club.

See the Sailing Calendar and Notices of Race for these events on the host club web sites.
Attend Coaching Clinics for your level. The Sailing Calendar has dates and details.

Go to the after school coaching sessions throughout the season. Information elsewhere on this website.

A note on the Rules of the club competition.

This overview document is descriptive only.

For more detail and the precise wording of the rules for these series and racing at the club you should read:

  • NOR ( Notice of Race ) and SSI ( Supplementary Sailing Instructions ) on this website.  ( )

  • Appendix S “Standard Sailing Instructions” of the YNZ Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS). ( Yachting NZ Racing Rules.pdf )

  • The club sailing program in the Calender on this website.

A Note on “Handicaps” and “Handicapping”

Not every sailor is going to be a club or national champion!  
Every sailor is on a learning curve.
Handicaps are a way of recognizing and acknowledging progress no matter where we are on our own learning curve.  

When we refer to “Handicaps” or “Progressive Handicaps”, we mean a number that is used to adjust the sailors elapsed time to sail a race such that it would make every sailor finish at the same time in a race in a perfect world.

Every sailor has an equal chance.

The idea is that a sailor sailing better than his or her “normal” performance relative to the fleet will be recognized in the “Handicap” results.

The handicap number is “progressive”.

It changes over time as the sailor improves, or as the fleet improves, with the objective is that every sailor has an equal chance of “winning-on-handicap” every race they sail in.

This increases the fun and engagement and recognizes improvement.
For sailors new to the competition we assign the handicap to the median sailor for the fleet which is always =1.000.

The “progressive” system will soon, after two or three races, recalculate and arrive at a “realistic” handicap for that sailor relative to the fleet.
The handicap places for each race is calculated by adjusting the “Actual Elapsed Time” to an “Adjusted Elapsed Time” and the finishing places are re-ordered and re-scored based on this adjusted time.

  • Elapsed Time(actual)                =  [Clock Finish Time]  -  [Clock Start Time]

  • Elapsed Time(adjusted)           = Time(actual elapsed)  x  Handicap Number


Examples of typical Handicap Numbers:

  • Slower boat                 0.868

  • Median boat               1.000

  • New boat                    1.000

  • Fastest boat                1.037

For understanding the “Progressive” nature of the handicap number and how it is re-calculated after every race, please Google “RYA-NHC”.    

A Note on Recording Results and entering Results into  “Sailwave”

Race Results are manually recorded into the “Junior Results” book which is always located in the Start Box.

It is very important to record the start time for every race and the finish time for every race for each sailor using CLOCK time. This is how the software wants to receive the data and it reduces errors.

The Sign-on-sign-off sheets need to be collected and cross checked with the Results Sheets to aid in quality assurance and correct Data Entry of the results.

For example sometimes a DNF or RTD is not recorded initially but is obvious from the Sign On sheets, or someone used a different sail number or sailed someone else’s boat!

All parents, and sailors, are always very welcome to visit the start box and to watch proceedings and provide assistance. 

Recording and checking finishing times and checking that there is a recorded result for every sailor who Signed on/off is always helpful.

Manually recorded results must be entered into the Sailwave results software on the club computer located in the start box.

Ideally results of the days racing can be ready for viewing on the big screen or printed out by the time the sailors get back into the club house.

All Optimist Parents are invited to help with this small data entry task each Saturday morning.

It is very straight forward and not arduous.

It takes a few minutes training and you are good to go! 

Please tell Matthew Steven or Andrew Paterson if you are at all interested.

The less ideal option is to photocopy or scan or photograph the hand-written results pages from the Result Book, and log-in to Sailwave from home at a later date using the VPN or TeamViewer. This reduces the immediacy of the results for the sailors.

Sailwave is the modern software used almost universally for Regattas in New Zealand.

It is very sophisticated and takes a bit of experience to setup from scratch for a Regatta.

We have the added complexity of using it for long series and for scoring multiple series from the same race results.

Elsewhere on the WBBC Web Site is a document about “Using Sailwave for Club Racing” and "Entering Club Race Results into Sailwave"


Parents or sailors interested in this aspect of club activity are particularly welcome to join the “Sailwave learning curve” as the club uses it seriously every weekend and will be using it when hosting Regional and National Regattas every coming season.

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