C-Suffix Sail Numbers and Clyde Handicaps

Application Forms

  • Sail No
  • Handicap

Search Database

  • Look up classes
  • Look up boats

The CYCA is authorised (ref RYA Prescription G2 to Appendix G of the Racing Rules of Sailing) to issue C- suffix sail numbers. These are internationally-valid and may optionally be preceded by "GBR". Numbers are normally issued in sequence. Out-of-sequence "cherished" numbers may be issued, when available, at an additional charge. The Sail Number Application Form may be downloaded via the link, and available numbers can be discussed with the office.

Where a new vessel has been assigned a "Builder's Number", the office will endeavour to find a suitable number (at the standard fee) which minimises the cost of sail alteration.

Handicaps will only be issued for monohull yachts with valid sail numbers. Owners should apply using the form, which may be downloaded here, and should return it to the office with a cheque for the fee due. Payment can also be made by Bank Transfer - details can be found on the form.

The PDF forms can be downloaded and completed manually and posted, or scanned and emailed; OR they can be completed as fillable forms, saved and returned by email. Recent versions of Adobe Reader, for example, include "Add Text" functionality.

At the risk of stating the obvious, one-designs do not require handicaps when racing one-design. See footnote (a) regarding handicaps for one-designs racing in a handicap class.

Handicaps are valid for the duration of ownership, and a further fee is only due if modifications are to be made. One Year Certificates are available as "tasters" and Dual Handicaps (with/without foresail furling) are available too.


  • Full handicap £55
  • Dual Handicaps £60
  • One-Design £10 - only for Recognised one-design classes - see also footnote (a)
  • Handicap Change £15
  • Replacement Certificate £5

Handicaps are managed by a Handicap Committee comprising racing helmsmen, sailmakers and other professionals in the leisure marine business. Handicaps are primarily assigned by "class" or "type", with new designs assessed based on weight, rig and hull/keel shape. The CYCA handicap database currently recognises over 1,200 classes or types of boat.

For more on the Handicap Manual and Annual Review processes, click here.


  • "Yachting Life" Article - 2007
  • "Yachting Life" Article - 2008
  • TCF / Min per Hr Conversion Table
  • Ahead Behind Table

Handicaps are assigned in “Minutes per hour”, which provides a very approximate guide as to how far/behind boats need to be in a race of a given duration. Formulae are:

- Corrected time = Elapsed time x Time Correction Factor.
- TCF= (60 – Handicap in mins per hour) ÷ 60

Individual boats, however, may vary from the standard due to furling sails, fixed blade propellers, etc. Furling headsails are subject to the conditions set out in the Handicap Application Form and must be:

  • tacked on to the furling drum gear only, which will normally be fitted above deck level

  • capable of being rolled/unrolled without the need to attach or detach any fitting or require any sail folding

Although other headsails may be carried on board, the furling headsail must be the only headsail used for racing. As an exception, a storm jib may be used in the interest of safety and good seamanship. No changing of headsails is allowed during racing, with the exception of the storm jib provision. The same furling headsail must be used for all races in an event or series. Note that self-tacking jibs and similar small jibs which are only furled for “storage” (e.g. off the wind) are not eligible for furling allowance.

Since December 2009 a variable allowance has been available on top of the base furling headsail allowance based on "Furling Drum Height" (FDH) as a percentage of Forestay Length.

The limitation on Furling Headsail allowance, requiring an LP/J ratio of 130% or more, was removed in December 2011.

Allowances are given for major variations from standard, as follows:

Non-standard featureCodeMin/hr
EngineInboard where standard is outboard or noneI0.25
PropellerFixed two blade ("standard" is folding/feathering)20.25
Fixed three blade ("standard" as above)30.50
Fixed 3-blade prop in keel aperture ("standard" is fixed 2-blade)K0.25
ForesailFurling (and only foresail used except Storm Jib) F0.25
+ additional FDH allowanceGvariable
MainsailIn-mast furling, no battensM0.75
In-mast furling, vertical battensV0.25
In-Boom FurlingB0.25
Bow ThrusterNon-retractable / No bafflesT0.50
OtherSpecial adjustment for this boat+/- nn x 0.05

Handicaps are then stored and displayed with a codification structured as follows:

SStandard - no variationsFor example, one-design classes
NNon-standard - variations as showne.g. "N2F" indicates 2-blade fixed prop and a furling headsail - as per table above
OOne-off - with or without variationsMost one-offs have no variations but this coding may be used when a new type is introduced, in anticipation of differently configured variants
CCrusing only - no handicapDefault, used when a C-suffix sail number is issued, or when change of ownership is advised


Explanatory Material

  • One Design "Recognition" Criteria

Clubs organising racing under CYCA Handicaps should note that:

(a) all yachts wishing to compete under CYCA Handicap should have a current valid certificate. For rigidly-controlled one-designs, with classes qualifying for this designation being agreed by the Executive from time to time, certificates will be issued on payment of the current fee. Enforcement of these requirements ensures that the cost of the system is borne by all of those benefiting from it, and that CYCA Subscriptions payable by Clubs are kept to a minimum. The CYCA reserves the right to refuse to issue a handicap to a boat with an unusual design.

(b) consistent with IRC rule 14 (Manual Power), containing rule 14.1 which states " RRS 52, Manual Power, shall not apply", racing under CYCA Handicap will permit the use of Stored Power for winches etc provided that the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions have adequately made clear that RRS 52 will not apply. Such use of Stored Power will NOT form the basis for any allowances from standard.


  • Handicap Manual (HM) Introduction
  • HM1 - All Boats by Name (1st 4 pages)
  • HM2 - One-offs by Handicap
  • HM3 - Boats by Class (1st 4 pages)
  • HM4 - Cruising/Lapsed (1st 4 pages)
  • HM5 - All Boats by Sail No (1st 4 pages)
  • HM6 - Classes by Name (1st 4 pages)
  • HM7 - Classes by H'cap (1st 4 pages)

Handicap Manual

For clubs organising racing under CYCA Handicapping, the Association offers a season-long "Handicap Manual Process". This was traditionally in the form of a hard-copy manual issued in April, with Monthly Update Lists provided during the season - or "on demand" when required.

Due to increased printing and postage costs, and reduced demand, this option was withdrawn in 2013.

The Association therefore now offers two modes of operation:

1. No Fee: Clubs obtain the information they require from the website using the Boat/Class look-up facility.

2. £15 Fee: Clubs subscribe to an "electronic manual" service whereby an up-to-date manual is issued as a set of PDFs every month, or "on demand", and print only what they require. The PDFs will in total be about 1MB and easily sent by email. A monthly update list will also be sent by email to identify, cumulatively, changes made since the Datum Date at the start of the season.

Sample sections of the manual can be accessed via the links here. Note that the data in these samples is deliberately NOT CURRENT and is INCOMPLETE. They should not be used in lieu of an official version obtained by subscription. These samples are included only to illustrate what is provided via this option.

Results Analysis and Feedback

Any handicapping process requires feedback to identify anomalies. The Association would like to encourage structured feedback from clubs, as feedback from owners tends to focus only on handicaps which are perceived by them to be "tight".

For clubs using HAL's Racing Results, versions since 2009 have included structured analyses for ANY handicapping system. These can be sent on to the system's owners in whatever format they would prefer. The CYCA Handicap Committee will accept any form of feedback provided it is based on data.

HRR is free. Clubs interested should access Hopford Associates' website, from which the system can be downloaded. It is already extensively used by CYCA constituent clubs, and the CYCA Hon Secretary can provide further information if required.

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