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IOM European Championships Torrevieja 2023 - The SHRS system

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

The Simple Heat Racing System was used at this event for the first time to get feedback from the competitors. Unlike HMS, there are a series of qualifying races and then the fleet is divided in Gold , Silver, Bronze and Copper fleets. In this case the split was made on Wednesday after 16 races or 4pm whichever was sooner. We achieved 15 qualifying races and then 10 Finals races.

In the qualifying races the fleet is shuffled. e.g 1st place stays in current heat, 2nd place goes to the next heat, 3rd to the next but one and so on.

The easiest way to look at this is to do a SWOT, Strength and Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis



Pack in more races because protests will not delay racing

Everybody gets to race against everyone else

Competitors more relaxed and therefore less shouty without the threat of demotion

Less stress for race organisers as they can get competitors on water ready for next race so only 1-3 min gap between races


Once fleets are divided after qualifying there is no scope for progression

No prizes for Silver, Bronze Copper winners

Qualifying racing stopped one race short of 3rd discard

Competitors do not get to race against others of similar abilities


Extend the qualifying to the last day so all have skin in the game to the near end

Use finals day for a shoot out. Consider double points.

Have prizes for winners of all fleets so there is something to race for


Competitors leave before the end as there is nothing to race for


HMS allows all competitors to have a chance to get into A heat and race until the end of the competition with skin in the game so to speak, but it is prone to delays if there are protests affecting those promoted or demoted.

SHMS allows the race management team to pack in more races as there is no need to wait for the heat board to be updated or protest resolution. Next heat boats can be put on the water ready for start the next race as soon as the last boat has finished from the previous heat.

My main complaint of the system is that the qualifying period is too short.

If SHMS ran up to the last but one day and the final races counted single or even better double points with prizes for all fleets, then I think it is a formula for the future. If the qualifying period is limited to 10-15 races then personally I think it is a flawed system. Of course there should be scope to flex the qualifying period if there is a chance poor conditions stopping racing on the last day.

Personally I go to an event to race and the more races we can get in the better. The SHRS satisfies that requirement but it needs the mods I suggest above. I wonder if others will rue the lack of opportunity to sail against the best sailors all the time provided by the HMS. SHRS still requires the level of precision and consistency from the competitors but whichever system is used the same competitors will win or fill the top ten places.

There is scope for change but one needs to see the feedback from the event, however that is canvassed.

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