When searching for the term “rating system”, you might come accross a rating system for boats. Boats of different sizes and characteristics would not have an equal chance to win in races. The rating system for boats shall correct their elapsed time difference and put them on the same level. Boat owners, sailors, designers and handicappers are always looking for solutions that work as boat designs change with time.
Under these circumstances, an ideal rating system is said to have features like fairness to all boats, from cruisers to racers, with no strong typeforms in design, being open, transparent and freely available with rules that are objective, non-biased and open to input. Ratings should be simple, but accurate, have flexible scoring options for use with different course types, be easy to use and understand and be locally managed but available world wide.
Science and technology was used to develop handicap systems. With a complete set of measurement of the hull with appendages, propeller, stability, rig and sails, it is then possible to use computer software to calculate the theoretical speeds for the boat in various wind conditions. Experts in aero and hydrodynamic science are involved to tell you the performance differences between different boats in different wind conditions and course geometries.
Some tough questions can be answered with the rating system, such as at what wind speed and wind angle will the asymmetric spinnaker be faster than the jib or genoa while reaching. The rating system does not compare the characteristics of one boat to another; it measures how a racing crew can reach their boat’s theoretical performance potential. Such a system can only indirectly affect investment in boats.
The rating systems have no secret factors, everything is calculated and documented, and is available to an even broader audience. The boat rating systems are based on science and complete boat measurement with no guessing or any subjective element. The system helps to understand the theoretically possible performance of boats and to some extent also influence the choice of a boat. The boat rating systems are administered by national rating offices established worldwide in each country that has active offshore rating.