Former Etchells world champion, Bruce Ritchie wishes there was such a thing as a sailing handicap calculator app when he competed on the international scene in the early 80s.
This Sydney sailing veteran of 65 years may have proved himself on the water over the decades but working out handicap race result times both mid race and post-race had always proved an elusive task, until now.
At 81, Ritchie no longer aspires to winning world championships but nonetheless he races competitively each week on Sydney Harbour and reckons his new sailing handicap calculator app is giving him a distinct advantage over his competition.
'I may be old but I’m no dinosaur when it comes to technology,' Ritchie laughs. 'Using this app mid race means I can see how we are going against other boats as they round the marks. I’m finding the crew responds really well to this information and it drives us all to go that extra mile. I love the fact it’s taken the guess work out of trying to work out where we are positioned in the race.' According to Ritchie the app also means he gets immediate race results as soon as each boat goes over the line.
'Now I don’t need to wait for the race committee to get back to the yacht club, do their calculations and then post-race results. When you’re racing the heat is on and there’s always a lot happening at any one time. Nobody wants to be stuffing around with a complicated piece of technology. This is designed to be used with ease while you’re racing' he says. 'The app gives me the results instantly. But the real beauty of this one is that it can refer to any handicap system which uses a time multiple to calculate the corrected times – IRC for example – so it’s applicable anywhere in the world.'
This iPhone application is quickly becoming very popular with sailors and race committees all around the world which is probably due to the great design of the application that makes it very easy to use. It is clearly designed to be used while your racing.
It works by entering the names of the boats which are in the race with their handicap rating before the race starts, then the app can capture the elapsed times of boats going around marks or going over the finishing line and it will display the boats in order of their places with their corrected times next to them. There are a number of ways you can capture the elapsed times, including using the internal timer or by entering the elapsed times manually if you prefer to use your own stopwatch instead.