BMSA Handicap explained

What is this handicap system? How is it calculated? The BMSA handicap is not unlike golf or bowling handicaps which compare current performance against previous performance. In this case performance is calculated by dividing the boat’s actual time to finish by the winning time. Corrected time in a race is determined by dividing actual time to finish by the boat’s handicap. Just like a golfer or bowler whose handicap goes down as his performance improves so does the boat’s handicap go down as the boat’s margin of losing decreases. There is no doubt that a new sailor whose performance improves dramatically will be at an advantage over the seasoned sailor who finishes higher but is more consistent.
Handicaps are calculated based on the boat’s last twelve races. The worst 25% performances are discarded- four total races -one race discarded; eight total races- two races discarded, twelve total races-three races discarded. This actually hurts the new sailor more as his performance should be more erratic. For 2009 new racers will be handicapped for the first four races based on the average BMSA handicap divided by the average Portsmouth number for all boats for which we have a handicap times the Portsmouth number of the new boat. At least the model of boat will be taken into consideration to a degree.
Using this system each sailor is able to see how his performance is changing relative to the group as it is recalculated after each day of racing. The Club champion is determined by totaling for each boat the number of boats beaten plus one for each race. This gives more credit on days when there are more boats competing. The plus one above gives credit to those racing over those not competing. Handicaps will not change after race days not having at least four boats competing but points toward the Club championship will increase for all races.