Masters rowers have a love/hate relationship with handicaps. Almost everyone would prefer to have narrow enough age groups and compete on an equal footing within those groups. But in informal events you might not have very many competitors in certain classes and it is more fun if you can find a fun and easy way to enable everyone to have a shot at everyone else.
The good folks at Riverside Boat Club came up with a great way to do this for a scrimmage series that they run every fall in the run up to the Head of the Charles. These invitation events, called the Head of the Kevin use a dual scoring system. Everyone has a raw time on the course, and they also get a score based on how close they came to the course standard time for their specific age and gender group.
What is a Course Standard Time? This is similar to the concept of Gold Medal Standards that you may have seen in the scoring of olympic qualification regattas. You will often see a “%GMS”, which is how close a specific crew is to the Gold Medal time for that particular boat class. The same basic principle is applied in the Head of the Kevin, where the record HOCR times for each boat class and event were used as the course standard for our scoring.
This system allows rowers of different ages and genders to compete to see who get closest to the course standard for their event. It also allows singles to match up with double, quads, fours and eights. Any class of boat that has a course standard time can be included. In effect, everyone is competing with the best boats in their own class.
We adapted the HOK system for the rowsandall challenge software. An organizer can upload course standard times for every rower classification and boat type. The race software will compare your time against the course standard time, and give you a score based on that. If someone were to organize an event over the Head of the Hooch course, they could load in the course standards for that race.
You can also reuse standards from other courses, even if they vary in length from the standards. The software will adjust the standards to the length of the course in the challenge automatically. But if the challenge is a very different length than the standard times, they won’t be very useful. You could use the Charles River Standards for another 5K head race, but your shouldn’t use them for a 1k sprint challenge
All you need to do as a racer is to register for the correct event and the challenge scoring system does the rest. The race registration allows you to choose events because we want to allow people to “race down” if they prefer and register for an open event event, even if they qualify for a age group event.
For the Charles River GPS Speed Orders, we have the following classes, and course standard times.
How does it work?
If two rowers in the Men’s Grand Master 1x post rows that are timed at 19:26, and 20:32.3, both of them are compared to the course standard time of 18:15 using this formula
A few more examples to show how this works across events.
- A rower in WSM1x posts 23:58.0. Course standard is 20:20. Point score: 83.75%
- A rower in MGV1x, post 23:40.0. Course standard is 22:40. Point score: 94.03%
So, please be sure that you register for the right event. That way your score will be valid to compete across all entrants.