Tactics and Time Correction Factor | Tecla

Tactics and Time Correction Factor

What a race! Starting of in light airs sailing into strong winds even gale force winds. It didn’t take long for the race to become interesting! Right after the start the fleet split up in to two. One part going around the outer Hebrides the other taking their chances on the inside! The bigger square rigged ships like the Europa, Sorlandet, and the Statsraad Lehmkuhl left the Hebrides to Starboard making some room for them self’s and picking up some fresher winds! They are big ships and are not at their best in close quarters. Not like the Jolie Brise, Tecla, or Maybe.

These smaller B class ships took the advantage of the shorter route. Not without the danger of being becalmed in these treasures waters, full of uncharted rocks, eddies and over falls. Ships are not allowed to use their engines during the race! Unless of course safety is at stake! Soon the first ships were becalmed, while at sea the bigger ships started to pick up speed due to consisted winds. In the Minch the winds were baffling. Some ships made good progress while others decided to drop anchor, and wait for more favourable winds.

The fleet came together again west of the Orkney’s, were it was hard to say what had been the better tactic! Next decision would be on what side to pass the Shetlands. Going around the windward side keeping your wind and speed but also the accompanying waves? Or around the lee, with a nice flat sea but maybe not the wright wind when it funnels around the islands?


We will see. Fact is the first ship is already in, while the back of the fleet still has to do a good 400 nml!! Well done Ocean Spirit of Moray! Now how can these ships of different design and size compete together? The answer you will find below.

How can a traditional Danish gaff-rigged fishing boat built in 1895 ever compete with the state-of-the-art maxi ocean-racer built of exotic materials?  How can the largest square-rigger in commission today of over 3,000 tons, race together with either of these craft and stand an equal chance of winning?  It is all due to the magic of the Rule of Rating. In fact it is not so magic, but more of a mathematical formula which has been refined and developed since The Tall Ships Races began.  Its success is due to the fact that it has been kept a secret; and only known to the few who have been instrumental in its development.  Therefore no competitor has been able to exploit any loopholes that there might be. A rule of rating is not the same as a handicap system, which is used in a lot of other sailing races and has a subjective human interpretation.  A vessel’s ‘form’ or recorded performance will be taken directly into account with a handicap system, whereas a rule of rating relies purely on a set of dimensions and other relevant data being fed into a formula to give a Time Correction Factor (TCF).  In round terms the slowest vessel in The Tall Ships Races fleet has a TCF of 0.500 and the fastest yacht would have a TCF of just over 1.000.  This figure is simply multiplied to a vessel’s Elapsed Time (Real Time) which produces its Corrected Time and this is how the slowest vessel can theoretically win the race on Corrected Time.  This is how the results for each of The Tall Ships Races are calculated. The Rule of Rating has been remarkably successful in allowing such a diverse racing fleet to compete on an equal footing, and is in itself part of a winning formula which does so much to foster friendship each year amongst a truly international fleet”


If you would like to follow the fleet real-time, go to http://www.sailtraininginternational.org/events/2015-the-tall-ships-races/yellow-brick or www.marinetraffic.com. So far it has been a very exiting race, hope the fleet will make some progress tonight. The winds look like they are going to swing in to the South East later South! What a nice run, wish I was there!

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