Portsmouth Yardstick

An easy way for different classes of dinghy to be competitively race against each other.

What is the Portsmouth Yardstick Scheme?

The Portsmouth Yardstick System aims to handicap boats based on their relative performance against the other boats they race with. Handicaps are allocated and administered by clubs to suit their local factors such as boat type, wind trends and water type as well as enabling the club to evaluate crew skill factor.

Aims of the scheme

  • To give all clubs the tools to run the fairest handicap racing possible at club, open and national level events. 
  • To handicap any boat without the need for measurement 
  • To be easily administered by club members 
  • To keep a working relationship between clubs and the RYA

How the scheme works

In order to score a handicap race each boats elapsed time (time taken to sail around the race course) must be converted to a corrected time (time converted based on a boats handicap).

This is done by applying a simple correction calculation to each boats elapsed time. 


Want to know more?

Useful tools for using the system
Current PY list

Current Base list for PY racing.

Limited Data List

A recommended number for dinghies we don't have enough data on to produce an annual update.

Class configuration list

This list is the standard format for how classes should be recorded and submitted for PY returns - Download excel spreadsheet.

PY Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions Advice

Advice on PY notice of race and sailing instructions for your club.

Pursuit race calculator

An excel spreadsheet to simply work out your starting order


A simple tool to help clubs develop closer more competitive club racing.

Small Catamaran Handicap Rating System

Clubs that have an active multihull fleet within their club racing may use the Small Catamaran Handicap Rating system (SHCRS)for rating multihulls.

If a club also races mixed fleets where Dinghies, Keelboats and Multihulls race together an agreed conversion rate is used between the RYA and the SCHRS to convert SCHRS to PN "look alike" number.

Any club that uses PN's for Multihulls or PN "look alike" numbers based on SCHRS number is strongly encouraged to use the PYOnline analysis website to further adjust PN's to ensure they are as statistically as accurate as possible.