National Handicap for Cruisers (NHC)

NHC aims to promote a single National Handicap scheme for Cruisers, giving clubs a free handicapping scheme that can be easily adopted for their club racing.

NHC replaced PY racing for Cruisers. NHC aims to promote a single National Handicap scheme for Cruisers, giving clubs a uniform scheme that can be easily adopted for their racing. NHC hopes to promote participation in the sport and works alongside IRC.

RYA Talks and Presentations

The RYA hold regional talks and presentations for its affiliated clubs to explain in depth; the ins and outs of NHC along with giving specific examples of how the scheme should work for clubs in that region. This also gives club officers and members the chance to get their questions answered face to face. To arrange a talk in your area or at your Club, please email:  

NHC Base List Updates.

The RYA have had a large volume of requirements to add boats to the base list. The base list will be updated on a fortnightly basis whilst the scheme establishes. After the initial rush the base list calculator will be made available to all clubs that request it.

What is NHC?

At the end of 2012 the RYA Technical Department started to investigate a new solution to Cruiser Racing and are rolling out NHC which is a performance handicap scheme. NHC uses known concepts used internationally in many other countries to analyse and adjust handicap numbers. NHC handicaps individual boats as the no two cruisers are the same through elements such as sail size and configuration, number of crew, weight of the boat, equipment on board, engine type, number of berths, etc etc. The handicap numbers are Time Correction Factors (TCF’s expressed as 1.000 for example) which are used to calculate a boats corrected time (the time used to score a race) allowing clubs to dual score with IRC.

Whilst NHC welcomes all types of boats it is designed for cruiser racing and looks to protect and promote core cruiser racing and will actively discourage “Grand Prix” style racing yachts from dominating club cruiser racing.

How does it work?

Club Series is to be used by clubs holding racing over a number of days/ weekends (for example Wednesday evening racing/ Sunday points series) where all the entries are from the same club(s) and generally race against the same boats in each race. In “Club”, adjustments to handicap numbers are relatively gradual. 

All boats taking part in a NHC race for the first time will need a starting handicap. Starting handicaps will be allocated by the RYA in the form of the “Base List”. The Base list will be published when the scheme is released at the beginning of March 2013. The Base list will be created from a rating formula using “boat show” data such as sail area, hull length, beam, weight etc. The RYA will publish base numbers for around 1200 designs for clubs to allocate to their boats. If a design is not on the base list and the RYA do not have data to create a base number for that design, the club will be given  a “rating calculator” to calculate a base number to enable all to get onto the water and get racing!

When a boat first takes part in a club race it will start on its base number. After this it will develop its own personal club number which it will use for future races. If a boat moves to a new club it will go back to its base number and will develop a new club number as it will perform differently against different boats and in a different venue.

When a boat takes part in an open regatta it will always start on its base number as it will be racing against a different group of boats  and may be sailing at a new venue. After the regatta is finished  its end handicap is discarded and it goes back to its club and picks up its club handicap number and continues club racing.

All a club need do to use the scheme is use one of the approved results software’s and input some basic information about each race such as the boat/ sail number and elapsed time. The results software will then automatically calculate the result and the new handicap to be used for the next race which will automatically be applied to the next race. In other words nothing different from what happens now.

Dual Scoring

The RYA actively encourages clubs adopting NHC for their cruiser racing to dual score with NHC and IRC. This is to mean that ALL cruisers/ yachts race together and are not split into an NHC/ IRC fleets. Instead all start together and race the same course and finish at the same finish line (except where the fleet is too large to fit on 1 start line the group may be split into fleets based on speed differences).

This allows the bottom of the fleet to take on the top! All boats that are interested in racing in NHC can check the NHC results and the winner will get a prize. The boats that are more interested in racing under a rating (as opposed to a handicap) rule and that have a valid IRC certificate also get a result scored on IRC and can check these results with the winner receiving an equal prize. The key to dual scoring is that both sets of results and both winners are treated equally!