HMS review 6 up & 6 Down

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IOMICA Chairman
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HMS review 6 up & 6 Down

Post by Chairman » 25 Sep 2006, 01:07

Over the past couple of years there have been many discussion on the benefits of moving more boats up and down the heats. There seems to be a growing acceptance that if more boats are moved up or down there is a reduction in the high risk sailing of those skippers on the cusp.
The executive is activly canvassing your thoughts and ideas on this issue.
The current proposal is to instigate this in a new IOMICA HMS with say 6 up and 6 down with a max fleet of 76.
Feed back please
Greg Willis
IOMICA Executive

Marko Majic
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Post by Marko Majic » 27 Sep 2006, 02:23

Hi Greg,

As you (and everyone) know, HMS allows for different number of heats and heat sizes to accomodate different number of competitors but also sailing conditions (size of sailing water, longest course that can be set, length of the first beat etc.)

So, for example, in an event with 36 competitors (in the original, "non-IOM-adjusted") HMS - it's up to the organizer to break the race up in anywhere from 2 to 5 heats (I imagine breaking up 36 skippers into 5 heats would mean severely restricted sailing conditions - but nevertheless HMS allows for it).

The point of the above rambling is that I totally see how promoting/demoting 6 skippers makes sense when the (combined) size of the heat is 20 as is the case when 36 skippers are arranged in 2 heats (although that is now wrong, of course, since moving 6 would result in heats of 20 with 34 skippers). At the same time it makes little sense to me to move 6 skippers if the combined size (by that I mean including promoted skippers) of individual heats is 10 (which is possible)!

I think that, ideally, the number of promoted skippers should be variable given as some sort of a function of the heat size - for example if the heat breakdown results in 18-20 skippers per heat 6 are moved, 15-17 means that 5 are moved, and smaller than 15 promote/relegate 4. Or, for that matter, perhaps it makes sense to even reduce that further to 3 if the heats are very small (the smallest heat size as per HMS 2002 is 8 )...

Without any "deep thinking" - it kind of "intuitively" makes sense to keep the numbers in and around 1/3 - so that bottom 1/3rd is demoted, middle 1/3rd is status quo and top 1/3rd moves up (and for the in-between sizes you pad up the "status quo" group). This, I think, (again without thinking "deeply") is how the "off the cuff" breakdown I mentioned above would shake down...

Revised distribution tables using the rule-of-thumb I mentioned above could easily be made (well, maybe not "easily" but "could be made" certainly - the mildly difficult part is resolving the nested dependency of heat size depending on the number promoted and vice versa number promoted depending on the heat size - but I'm pretty sure it's easily resolvable)...

Of course, there are others on this forum far more experienced in running large events - I'd love to hear what they think of this...

Marko Majic
CAN 16

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Olivier Cohen
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Post by Olivier Cohen » 27 Sep 2006, 11:37

My opinion is that 6 up and 6 down is a good idea, but that 76 max is a bad idea for big events. It will increase entrance cost(already huge today for WC), or reduce income for events organizers.

You have also to think about smaller events.

Max with 2 fleets 36=>34
3 52=> 48
4 68=> 62

It will reduce the number of skippers in these events, so the possibility for newcomers to be qualified.

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Post by RoyL » 28 Sep 2006, 03:40

I've sailed the six up/six down system a number of times.

It dramatically changes the character of the racing.

Basically, under this system, virtually everybody goes down and everybody goes up.

This is very different from the usual complaint about HMS--that it is much harder to get out of a lower fleet than to stay in a higher one.

There is certainly not the obsession to finish in the top four or to avoid the bottom four at all costs. Fact is with six up or six down you expect to move fleets.

Overall, I think it is a great system.

NOR NCA Officer
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Post by ole_peder » 28 Sep 2006, 16:05

In Norway we had 30 skippers in one race and had 6 going up and six going down.

I thing that most skippers felt it was easier to get back in the A- fleet after going down.

In a two heat race ther are bigger risk to sail every race due to there are more skippers going down. As long as the organizer counts for that some skippers are in every race it's ok.

In Continental championships I certainly mean that it is an advantage with six up and six down. The the lack of starting fees is not much and the cost is another discussion.

I personally have been in one WC an one EC finnishing 5 in the E heat 75 % of the races, just occasionally going up in D.

Well, maybe I am not better but compared to national races EC and WC are so much harder, and specially the first races are difficult. Sailing safe doesn't bring you among the 4 best even in the E fleet

I go for 6 up and 6 down
Ole Peder Bjørsom
Chairman NOR NCA

ralph kelley
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6 up and down

Post by ralph kelley » 02 Oct 2006, 16:11

I have been in communication with my friend who has been doing all the work to keep our HMS Excel scoring program current with HMS 2006 as well as providing an option to the standard 4 up and down. The updated program now has a default of 6 up and down, but the program has the capability to simply alter that number.

During the debugging phase, it came out that the 6 up and down works fine with a 2 heat race, but when one gets to a higher number of contestants and more heats, the number of contestants in each heat can change substantially. As a result, with a fixed promotion-demotion number, the percentage of contestants in any one heat getting promoted or demoted can be quite variable. The contestants may not like this aspect of the 6 up and down alterntive.

They (Henry Farley in the UK and Herman van Beek in the USA) are studying the situation further and will report their findings later this year. I expect that they will offer recommendations of promotion-demotion numbers for various size regattas as a result of this study.

In the meantime, if anyone wants the updated Excel program we'll be glad to send it out. (It works using Excel 2000 or 2003, but not '97). Contact me at kelley_r_d at sbcglobal dot net. It is a large file (500KB zip)

Regardless, while our experience in 6 up and down 2 heat events is positive and the contestants in our USA regattas seem very pleased. Of course, for somebody sailing at the mid fleet level, they get lots of heats to sail as they shuttle back and forth between the top of the B fleet and the bottom of the next A fleet heat, back to the B and so forth.


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