Over the Easter period whilst many of us were hiding inside tucking into hot cross buns and eating our boats weight in chocolate, up at Pwllheli, the RYA’s new handicap scheme for cruiser racing, ‘NHC’, was getting a work out in freezing cold and windy conditions.
Following a talk by Mike Urwin, RORC Technical Director, in the region, Pwllheli Sailing Club made the decision to run its Easter racing under both IRC and NHC with racing being dual scored under each scheme.
With a snow covered Snowdonia forming the backdrop, some sailors were put off by the force seven conditions but a healthy fleet including some new comers ventured out. The smiles on the faces of the sailors as they returned to the club bar certainly confirmed that a blast was had by all, but what of the results and handicaps?
Stephen Tudor, Honoury Secretary for the club commented: 'It is early days to see how the new NHC pans out but for the purposes of this weekend it was perfect. It provided a quick handicap that could be used by all and we all certainly enjoyed the weekend using it.
'Pwllheli will continue to run dual scored IRC and NHC racing throughout 2013 and it is anticipated that the RYA’s National Handicap for Cruisers will encourage new entrants to racing in Pwllheli.'
Bas Edmonds, RYA Technical Manager, noted: 'It is great to see that after a winter of hard work developing NHC it is starting to be used, and from the outset, at the start of the season, it is proving successful.
'Pwllheli Sailing club has really embraced the concept that both the RYA and the RORC Rating Office are promoting, which is a two tiered handicap scheme, which caters for those beginning their racing careers and those wishing to take it more seriously.
'As sailing seasons around the country are being kicked off we expect to see a rise in the number of NHC races being sailed and hopefully more happy sailors in the clubs,' Bas concluded.