Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mindless Musing from Someone with Excess Time...

Given that we have now completed all our scheduled distance races for the first half of the 2010 season we decided to take a look at the age old question - which scoring method results in fairer racing in our club - Time on Time (TOT) or Time on Distance (TOD)?

Now for all you closet theorists out there it is time to put away your favorite stories and take a hard look at the numbers - yes we know that half of you have already gone back to watching TV, but keep reading and you might learn something...


For this analysis we re-scored all AYC distance races since 2007 where there were more than two finishers using both TOT and TOD.  When doing this analysis we found that nearly all races fell into one of four general patterns:


  1. There was little difference between TOT and TOD scoring
  2. Both TOT and TOD scoring favored faster boats
  3. Both TOT and TOD scoring favored slower boats
  4. TOT and TOD scoring diverged
As an illustration of the first pattern (little or no difference), take a look at the following graph from the 2010 Smith Island Race - there was no bias towards slow or fast boats under TOT, but a slight bias towards slower boats under TOD:























To illustrate the second pattern (where both TOT and TOD favored faster boats), take a look at the following graph from the 2009 Sinclair Island Race.  Both TOT and TOD scoring favor faster boats.






















To illustrate the third pattern (where both TOT and TOD favored slower boats), take a look at the following graph from the 2009 Foul Weather Race.  Both TOT and TOD scoring favor slower boats:
























Finally, to illustrate the fourth pattern (where TOT and TOD scoring diverge), consider the 2009 Smith Island Race where TOT favored faster boats and TOD favored slower boats:






















Now that you are totally confused we need to turn to some relatively simple statistical regression analysis tools to sort out this mess - and the results are somewhat surprising:

When analyzing these races (all AYC club distance races run since 2007 where more than two boats finished), TOT scoring has an 8.4% bias in favor of slower boats while TOD scoring has an 0.1% bias in favor of slower boats.  

To summarize, at least for club distance racing at AYC in our local waters with our local fleet, TOD scoring seems to produce less biased results - so there you have it...

PS - we will continue to analyze the numbers and give you an update at the end of the season!

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