Schakel’s Unofficial Fleet Rankings

To add to Sailonline’s own already extensive and somewhat confusing collection of rankings, let me introduce a radically new perspective on sailing performance on SOL: Schakel’s Unofficial Fleet Rankings (SUFR).

Contrary to Sailonline’s low point-based SYC member rankings and all of its series rankings, SUFR is a high point scoring system that is based on 10 of the most recent races*. As such, it accurately identifies sailors that have been performing consistently well over recent months. And because both SYC members and non-SYC members are included, you’ll find you will be competing for your rank against a larger number of boats.

Your score for each race is the total number of entries in the race plus 1 minus your final race rankings, provided you finish. If you are registered in a race but do not finish, you are awarded 1 point. If you are not registered, you receive no points.

This effectively ‘weighs’ each race as more entries result in a more points being awarded, which is fitting since the longer ocean races generally attract more people anyway. Also, it may very well fuel the motivation to finish.

The first edition of SUFR is based on the results of the following races:

    Round Turkey
    Palermo – Monte Carlo
    Tiree to Coll
    Hawaiian ZigZag
    SSanz 3
    Maui – PK
    Strutton – Cape

View the rankings by clicking on the SUFR item in the left-hand column or by clicking here.

Feel free to discuss/comment or report errors here or in chat.

* Excluded from these rankings are all timed races, as well as other non-standard races, such as the Carib Rum Run.

8 thoughts on “Schakel’s Unofficial Fleet Rankings

  1. Schakel,

    I have long been of the opinion that the commonly used low-point scoring system is unfair as a method of determining and rewarding sailing ability. It gives equal points for winning against 2 or 3 boats as against a fleet of 20-30+ boats.

    In club racing where there is a season-long series of races with mostly the same group of sailors, it rewards the more able sailors who attend the events only occasionally, vs the less able sailors who race every race, because the “throw-out” system lets them discard some of the races they do not attend.

    In short, I would favour the “high-point” scoring system, with NO throw-outs.

    Your proposal for scoring the SOL races does seem more realistic. I am not a SOL member, for a number of reasons, and have never been in favour of any ‘elitist’ system, such as is in effect in the present SOL scoring system. I race primarily for the sake of exercising my own brain.


  2. Race A: A 1st place out of 2 boats, gives you 1 point in a low point scoring system.
    Race B: A 1st place out of 200 boats, gives you 200 points in high point scoring system, and 1 in low point scoring system.
    Race C: A 200st place out of 400 boats, gives you 200 points in a high point scoring system.
    (I might be a off by one or two points, but that doesn’t really matter)

    So the low point scoring system assumes that the ~200 extra boats in race B (compared to race A) are all worse than the 2 boats in race A: it doesn’t matter whether those ~200 other boats compete or not, you get the same points for a 1st place either way. This is weird indeed.

    The high point scoring system assumes that the 200 extra boats in race C (compared to race B) are all better than the 200 boats in race B: with every extra participant you can drop one more place without losing points. This is just as weird.

    I would be interested in a proportional scoring system. Your score is based on you percentile rank, so a 5th place out of 10 boats gives you exactly as many points as a 500th place out of 1000 boats. Seems intuitive. Depending on how you implement it, a 1st out of 10 could give you the same points as a 100th out of 1000, or a 1st out of 1000, or maybe something in between. I can work out the math if anyone is interested.

    You would probably need some die-hard statistics for a completely fair ranking, if that’s even possible. I guess another important thing is that all competitors understand the ranking system, so die-hard statistics would be ruled out.

    Very interesting topic, great to see experiments with other scoring systems :)

    • Well, focusing on low point vs high point scoring in your average race situations, as opposed to the extremes you outlined here, with the former a win gets you the same single point regardless how many contestant entered, while with the latter more competition brings greater rewards. As it happens, presumably due to time zone differences, in general long ocean races on SOL will draw a larger crowd, will require much more time and so the rewards should reflect it.And I agree it must be easy to work out.

  3. Rod has a very good point. Your system gives a more accurate ranking over a number of races. I was only in 5 of the races used in your trial run, but still came in within the top 50.
    I also thought it weird that overall rankings gave equal weight to small sprint races with a few dozen racers compared to longer ocean races.
    I like it…a lot.

  4. bonknhoot here en een goede dag. If I remember rightly the big Dutch keelboat classes (Regenboog, 16m2) were using this system in the 60s for their season rankings. As I said in chat, it is fairer, but should continue to be best 10 of 30, IMO.

  5. Some further thoughts, heer Schakel. Starters rather than entrants might be an even better base. not sure why TRs should not be included. if it becomes a SOL standard, rankings should still be for SYC members only (there has to be some incentive other than good naturedness for making a contribution to running costs). IMO again.

  6. Yes, starters would better, but using just the entries and excluding timed races was done here mainly for practical reasons. I do not have access to the Sailonline database. This was done by web scraping using a python script, somewhat limiting the options as to what I was able to do within a reasonable amount of time.

    As for a SYC members only ranking, if Sailonline wants to run with it on their site it’s their call. AFAIAC, the point is moot anyway. Most races, although admittedly not all, are all SYC-member affairs.

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