Innovative RYA YTC boosts club level yacht racing

New features for free rating system as popularity grows nationwide
26 Apr 24

Lots of yachts racing downwind flying colourful spinnakers.

RYA YTC powered by the RORC Rating Office is helping more boat owners to get on the water racing and supporting participation at clubs across the UK.

Launched in 2023, the simple and free rating system aims to support entry level engagement in racing by cruising yachts and cruiser-racers.

Using key boat measurements to calculate a rating, RYA YTC powered by the RORC Rating Office is growing thanks to its accessibility and ability to provide competitive racing for a wide variety of yachts.

Dr Jason Smithwick, Director of Rating, RORC Rating Office, said: “RYA YTC has had a remarkable start to 2024 with 963 boats already holding valid 2024 certificates and a further 60 pending applications, and the UK sailing season has barely begun.

“The RYA YTC rating system is funded by the RYA using the expertise and years of experience of the RORC Rating Office to develop and administer the system.

“This partnership has seen exponential growth and great interest from clubs, with RYA YTC proving successful at developing grass roots keelboat and yacht club racing.”

Innovative features

A new online application portal was launched for 2024 season, developed in-house at the RORC Rating Office for YTC sailors.

It includes a library of hull measurement data for over 500 production boats to help owners easily apply for their certificate. With only sail areas then needed for most boats, this makes the system straightforward and easy to use.

Additionally, the new system can deliver YTC ratings and certificates almost immediately for many of those revalidating from last year with no changes to their boat.

Within the YTC portal it is also possible to download measurement data for any boat that has a current YTC certificate, along with a full listing table of YTC boats which can be imported into race results software.

Sailing clubs are urged to register on the YTC portal as this helps their members to apply for their YTC certificate and makes it easy for racing officials to search for boats that have a valid YTC certificate at their club.

Improved formula

In recognition of the fact that some boats do not fit the system as neatly as others, a new rating formula was developed over the summer for 2024.

Funded jointly by the RYA and the RORC Rating Office, the project enlisted the help of a Masters student at Bath University, who used Artificial Intelligence (AI) machine learning algorithms to find the optimum YTC formulae for the current inputs, along with data from IRC and other velocity prediction methods.

As a result, some sailors who revalidate their certificate for this year may notice a small change in the rating following the work to find a better fit with boat performance data, particularly for lighter displacement and powerful boats.

Yachts and crews in harbour at Scarborough YC.

Pursuit race calculator

Another new feature within the RYA  YTC system is a YTC pursuit race calculator form.

Many clubs find pursuit races a fun way to engage a wide variety of boats, and with fewer boats on the startline at any one time, it is a format which can be used to encourage less experienced racing sailors to take part.

Using the RYA YTC calculator, a race officer can simply enter the duration of the race and the start time, add the YTC rated boats from their club, and the portal will automatically work out the start times for each boat in customisable time intervals.

It is also possible to manually add boats that may not yet have a YTC rating, and the start times can be emailed so they are ready to use for the next pursuit race.

Find out more about the RYA YTC Pursuit Race Calculator.

Join in with RYA YTC

RYA Keelboat Development Manager Richard Moxey said: “The RYA is incredibly grateful to RORC Rating for all the fantastic efforts that have gone into launching and developing RYA YTC nationally, including using AI to refine the formula and the addition of the massively useful pursuit racing calculator.

“This hard work is making it not only easy for individual sailors to get a rating and take part in racing, but also creating new opportunities for clubs to engage their members to get more people on the water more often.”

Visit the RYA YTC online portal to find out more, register your club or apply for a free certificate for your boat.

Two classic yachts in the foreground racing with three sails on sunny day with blue skies and white clouds.