Newport, RI — Fairness in yacht racing is affected by the choice of scoring method applied in a race. For sophisticated methods using a VPP-based determination of the boat’s performance coupled to a model of the wind behavior then the boat’s score will reflect its relative ability to sail the model course efficiently.

However, the accuracy of this approach depends on how close the actual weather was relative to the model. With NOAA making H-0 weather data now available, in theory a more accurate course model could be constructed that describes what each boat actually saw on the race course, and the scoring then applied. With this objective approach there would be fewer winners and losers determined simply by who outperformed the model with the weather they saw in the race. 

The intent of this project is not to rescore existing races but rather to inform race organizers, racers, and handicappers of the impact of weather systems on race outcomes due to their varied impact on the performance of different yacht designs. The hypothetical races will still be actual courses or events, such as the aforementioned races, but the scoring study will examine a wider time frame than the one in which the event was run, using NOAA H-0 weather data to evaluate optimal routes for start days up to 6 days prior to and 6 days after the start of the historical race start date. This approach will prevent any direct comparisons being made to official results but will nonetheless inform organizers and sailors as to the impact that accounting for both different weather conditions and using alternative scoring methodologies can have on race results.

SYRF is currently evaluating the offshore races to include in this study, which will optimally route yachts through the past several editions of the race.

Learn more at H-0 Project.