Multihulls, single-race scenario and NHC calculator developments

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is making three improvements to try and broaden the appeal of its National Handicapping Scheme for Cruisers (NHC).

These include introducing
multihulls into the scheme, which were not covered by the initial list
of boats published by the RYA.

The RYA technical department has approached the Multihull Offshore Cruising and Racing Association (MOCRA) to
see if they are able to assist in this area as the specialists in
dealing with cruising or racing multihulls.

Changes are also being made to the ‘single race’ scenario which is a weakness of performance
handicapping the world over.

The last development is that the NHC calculator will be released to clubs on a request basis only.

The NHC scheme, launched at the beginning of March this year, replaces the Portland Yardstick (PY) racing for cruisers and aims to
give clubs a uniform scheme for racing.

Its base list published has grown from 1,200 boats to nearly 1,350 boats. Enquiries and interest have come in from clubs and boat owners around the UK and the RYA’s technical department has been out on the road promoting NHC to RYA clubs.

Including multihulls in the scheme

As part of on-going developments to the schemel, the technical department is working on covering new aspects to NHC such as including multihulls.

Bas Edmonds, RYA technical manager, said: ‘Developing multihulls is the next challenge for us in making NHC as applicable to as wide a range of clubs as possible.
‘Adding multihulls raises a significant complication to NHC as the formula used is exclusive to monohulls.

‘We are looking at creating a new formula which takes into account the different characteristics of multihulls and linking that into actual performance with monohulls.

‘Not a simple matter but one that we hope to be able to solve adequately.’

Improving the ‘single race scenario’

Bas added: ‘As NHC and performance handicapping in general require race results to build up a performance profile for each boat, a series which compromises of a single race only will not be able to be sailed using an adjusted handicap.

‘We are considering methods of calculating an adjustment factor for a single race such that if the base number is wrong then we can back calculate what the original handicap should have been to be applied at the beginning of the race.

‘Given that sail racing is greatly influenced by the conditions and contains an element of luck – working handicaps out on a single race is never going to provide fair racing.

‘However there are adjustments that we can do to improve on the base list after a single race to make sure that some of the inaccuracies are removed.

‘It will never be perfect but we can certainly improve on where we currently are in this.’

NHC calculator control

The RYA says as the NHC is not designed as a true measurement scheme, the NHC calculator will be sent to clubs only as requested.

This is because the RYA would like to avoid a situation where every owner or club member is looking to measure their own boat and asking for a different base number from their club.

NHC is a performance handicapping scheme and it is anticipated that every boat will move away from the base number after the first race based on its performance.
For more information about NHC, or to arrange a talk at your club, contact the RYA technical department by email at or visit