New Projects to Improve Handicapping Systems

Published on June 2nd, 2016

The Sailing Yacht Research Foundation (SYRF) has approved funding for three new projects that will help SYRF’s ongoing mission to support the science behind handicapping.

Phase 1 of the Downwind Aero Moments and Aero Forces study conducted by JB Braun of North Design has been posted to the SYRF Library, and should help improve the accuracy of modern handicapping rules at understanding downwind aerodynamic performance.

North Design’s approach was to use their Fluid-Structure-Interaction (FSI) modeling software to produce a set of results comprised of all aerodynamic moments and forces for a range of downwind sails, angles, and wind speeds utilizing a Reynolds Average Navier Stokes (RANS) code coupled with finite element analysis (FEA) results.

Phase 2 of this project has proposed to continue the research to a wider array of wind angles and include a greater level of detail in sail shapes. For this SYRF will support the Wolfson Unit at Southampton University to write a new code for the Open Foam software to better integrate these shapes into the modelling process. The Board of Directors has approved the funding for Part 2.

Funding was also approved to support a Data Analysis Project that will help bring accuracy to handicapping through validation from performance analysis. With logs of their instrument data, Dimitri Nicolopoulos of KND Sailing Performance has been providing detailed feedback on boat performance and weather conditions to Grand Prix-level race teams in the TP 52, Maxi 72 and other high-profile classes at their events.

With help from SYRF, this type of performance analysis can now be made available to many different boat types racing in a much wider variety of races, including offshore races such as the Chicago-Mackinac, the Bayview-Mackinac Race and the New York YC Annual Regatta.

In this new program, SYRF will select the boats to be used for this project so that a meaningful diversity in designs can be analyzed to bring greater value and relevancy for handicap validations across a broad spectrum of design types. For anyone interested in participating in this new program, SYRF asks that you contact them if your boat is entered in these races.

SYRF has also agreed to administratively support a new project called Multi-Rule, where a group of owners of large performance multihulls led by Team Adventure’s Larry Rosenfeld will support the development of a new VPP-based rating rule system for these yachts. The Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) has agreed to partner in the effort and KND analyses to provide validation of the rule’s accuracy in development.

“The strong interest in these new projects is exciting,” said Steve Benjamin, Chairman of SYRF. “Both our Advisory Board experts and our Board members have been active in evaluating these new ideas, and at both the CSYS and the ORC’s International Technical Committee’s meetings we received great feedback and ideas from other experts in the field of research. We look forward to the next several months to help grow these and other project ideas in the pipeline so that handicap rules can use these results and translate this into better racing for all sailors.”

SYRF seeks to develop and catalog the science underlying sailboat performance resulting in more accurate sailboat handicapping formulae for the benefit of all racing sailors.

For more information on SYRF, visit

comment banner

Tags: , , ,

Back to Top ↑

Get Your Sailing News Fix!

Your download by email.

  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

We’ll keep your information safe.