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The ORR handicapping system assumes that the wind will blow at a certain strength from varying angles for the duration of the race. Individual yacht’s polars then define how fast she should sail the course and the fleet is ranked against a fictional ‘scratch boat’. This assumption is ‘challenged’ by a variety of race specific climatic and oceanographic conditions. Ocean races of long duration will typically experience these varied conditions. Whether it is wind deflection and strength between inshore and offshore positions, the crossing of a known directional current or the historical location of a high pressure gradient, the likelihood of predictable conditions for an entire race is little to none. Because of these differences, the Marion Bermuda Race is attempting to take one of these conditions that has shown itself to be a real and consistent detriment to what one might feel is a fair race based solely on a boats handicap and include another factor that adjusts across the fleet. In the case of the Marion Bermuda Race (or any race to Bermuda) it is the Bermuda high pressure gradient.

It is clear that a faster boat pays a higher price for each hour of no wind conditions than does a slower boat. Looking at race recaps and data from the Yellow Brick trackers for recent races it is clear that a typical race to Bermuda finds this condition approximately 100 to 125 NM north of the island creating a “Parking Effect.” When a fast boat and a slow boat are parked with no or little wind, the added elapsed time skews the handicap toward the slower boats.

Our goal is to augment the ORR wind assumptions by using a form of the actual wind conditions during the race to improve the fairness of the handicap for each boat in the race. For the 2019 Marion Bermuda Race, the race committee proposes to calculate a “parking” time for each of the first three finishing yachts. The “parking” time of each of these yachts is the difference between the yacht’s elapsed time and her predicted time. The “parking” times of the first three yachts to finish are averaged. This derived “Parking Effect” time is subtracted from every yacht’s elapsed time. The reduced elapsed time is handicapped with the yacht’s ORR rating to produce the corrected time used for scoring. If the “Parking Effect” situation does not occur, the condition adjustment calculation will not be applied.

Applying this formula to the race results for 2009 to 2017 showed quantifiable reduction in bias. If you have any questions regarding this change to the Marion Bermuda Race scoring, please contact the Principal Race Officer at .

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