Portsmouth Yardstick numbers for the year ahead released

The RYA is delighted to announce that the 2023 RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show will mark the release date for the Portsmouth Yardstick Number list for the year ahead.

The RYA Dinghy and Watersports Show, presented by Suzuki, returns to Farnborough International on 25-26 February and RYA members can take advantage of an exclusive two-day complimentary ticket for one or both days.

Members of the RYA Technical and Racing Services team will be revealing the revised list at this weekend’s must-see sailing and watersports event, after PY numbers have remained frozen for two years due to the impact of Covid-19 on racing activities.

Dinghy sailing writer and historian Dougal Henshall is a firm favourite for regulars to the show and this year he’ll be reflecting on ’70 Years of Racing Together’.  Visit the Suzuki Main Stage at 11:00 (on both show days) for a look back at how the Portsmouth Yardstick helped shape the UK dinghy racing scene.

Where it began

The RYA administers two handicapping systems used in the UK allowing different class of boats to compete against each other – the RYA Portsmouth Yardstick which is jointly operated by the RYA and its Affiliated clubs, and the RYA YTC, which is a free rating system powered by the RORC Rating Office to promote participation in racing cruiser-racing. 

In 1947, Stanley ‘Sinbad’ Milledge dreamed up a new system to allow different boats to compete against each another fairly. His brainchild would transform dinghy and yacht racing.

Milledge, a racer and mathematician, was in charge of handicapping at Langstone Sailing Club near Portsmouth, and devised a complex formula based on a boat’s ‘lap time’ round a course. Having tested his system locally to great success, he launched the Portsmouth Yardstick in 1952.

A huge hit with clubs, the worldwide Portsmouth Yardstick scheme is reviewed yearly and amended to keep handicaps up to date, including new boats and adaptations of current classes. The scheme relies on sailing clubs using the suggested numbers, published by the RYA, and amending for their club before feeding this information back to the RYA via PY Online.

Meet the team

Adam Parry, RYA Technical Manager, said: “We are delighted to be launching the revised list of PY numbers at the RYA Dinghy and Watersports Show this weekend.  We hope visitors will join us on the RYA stand to find out more about the wealth of resources available to support clubs running racing.

PY Online has gone from strength to strength and has revolutionised the way in which racing in analysed and reported on. It would be great if this year was one of our largest returns ever – demonstrating the resilience and adaptability of our clubs and classes over the past two years.

“With thousands of visitors looking to kickstart their season at the Dinghy and Watersports Show, we hope that all users of the PY scheme have an enjoyable and rewarding racing season in 2023!”

For clubs running racing, there is a wealth of resources available from the RYA ranging from the new 2023 PY Numbers to support with advice about the running racing or for more information or assistance, contact technical@rya.org.uk.