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Regatta field with different boat classes , such as B. Drachen , Laser , Dyas , Star at the Hamburg Sailing Club (HSC)

Yardstick (after yard stick, from the English derived from Elle) is a calculation system for sailing regattas that goes back to the Englishman Zillwood Milledge , which allows dinghies or yachts of different designs to compete against each other in a regatta. Each boat class is assigned an empirically determined yardstick number that reflects the performance of the boat. In a regatta, the sailed time is measured for all participants and converted with the number of yard sticks using the following formula:

Example: A corsair has the yardstick number 103, a VB dinghy (people's boat) has the yardstick number 122. If the VB dinghy needs 60 minutes to reach the finish, the corsair must be at the finish after 50 minutes in order to be placed in front of the people's boat .

So the smaller the yardstick number of a boat class, the faster the boats in that class are.

The cruiser department of the German Sailing Association publishes a list of general German yardstick numbers as well as area-related yardstick numbers .

Comparable findings or other types of ships not included in the lists in Germany are provided by the lists of the English Association ( Portsmouth Yardstick of the RYA) or the Lingdö yardstick system LYS, which is widespread in Scandinavia .

Compensation factors according to ORC or International Measuring System (IMS) provide more exact results, but they are more complicated to determine than the number of yard sticks and require regular, sometimes costly, measurements.

If all boats start at the same time, the placement is determined at the end with the help of the yardstick numbers. An alternative to this is the kangaroo start .


For two-hull boats there is a separate list with the catstick numbers . This was developed by Klaus J. Enzmann and Normann Strack and is recommended by the German Sailing Association (DSV) as the best system for evaluating mixed catamaran regattas.

The catstick system knows three catstick numbers for each type of boat, for weak, medium and strong winds. The formula therefore makes it possible to take different wind strengths into account during a race. Although this is considered fairer, it also means more work for the race director for the calculation.

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