Holland Jachtbouw Perini Navi Royal Huisman Vitters Shipyard Alloy Yachts

Bank of America Private Wealth Management

Rybovich Superyacht Marina & Refit

North Sails

Dubois Yachts

Doyle Sailmakers

Burgess Yachts

Z Marine Private Client Yacht Insurance Broker

Port de Gustavia



August 24 - 26, 2012

home |  st barths |  newport25th anniversary book |  about the bucket |  sponsors |  press |  contact


Newport Bucket: International Super Yacht Rule and Application


For a Rating Application, application instructions, and a complete description of the ISYR, visit www.BucketRule.com Any questions on ISYR handicapping should be directed to Jim Teeters at jim@tytech.org or +1 401 862 3681.

THE INTERNATIONAL SUPER YACHT RULE (ISYR) – Handicapping Superyachts - Jim Teeters

Regatta Goals – Events using the ISYR are focused on providing fun, safe racing among large luxury yachts and promoting the ideal of Corinthian competition.  A specific goal of the rule itself is that “Any well sailed boat should have a reasonable shot at the podium in every race.”

Regatta Racing – All races are pursuit races, the slowest boat is first off the line.  The rest of the fleet starts at time intervals determined by each boat’s predicted elapsed time around the course.  The first boat to finish wins.  There are no post-race handicap calculations to see who won.  Sailors know how they are doing at all times.

Superyacht racing fleets are typically highly diverse – from high performance hulls to heavy luxury cruising yachts.  Inherent in all designs is some compromise to racing efficiency.

The ISYR itself is designed to fit the events to meet the above goals:

  • The start sequence depends on the length of race, strength of wind, course angles.
  • A table of boat speed polars for each boat is used to predict the elapsed time around the course, leg by leg.  The total predicted elapsed time differences define the start sequence.
  • The polar tables are initially derived from velocity prediction software using boat data declared by captains, supplemented with that from design offices.  Therefore, the more accurate and complete data provided by the yacht, the more accurate her rating will be.
  • The polars are adjusted based on declared compromises and on observations of actual performance.  Polar tables are refined over several regattas as necessary.
  • Does sandbagging pay?  No.  You may get some rating relief but it will take quite a few poor results (without obvious mistakes) before you get into the hunt. 
  • Ratings do not change after every race!  For the vast majority of boats the changes in the start sequence are entirely due to changes in wind speed and direction and to changes to the layout of the course.
  • There are immediate rating changes for gross anomalies, but these are primarily for boats relatively new to the system and for which we have little design data.
  • Daily weather is derived from a number of forecasting sources, including local observation.
  • New in 2011: at the morning meeting we will provide several possible start sequences, each customized to a particular wind speed.  The appropriate sequence will be chosen after the race committee is on station to monitor actual conditions.
  • Also new in 2011: any yachts receiving rating changes will be identified.

Safety: Courses for Classes.  For the first time, in 2010, we created customized courses for each class.  This provided separation between the different types of boats, reducing congestion on the race course.  The faster boats were given longer courses with different marks.  They started earlier than in past years to compensate for that longer course, the start adjustment calculated from the polar tables.  All boats still had common start and finish lines with the first boat the winner.  A major side benefit: the faster boats had more time on the water (read more fun).

How well is the rule doing?  Every year sees tighter finishes.  In St Barths in 2009 we had 32 of 34 boats finish within 20, 13, 19 minutes in races 1, 2 and 3!  In 2010, with a highly unpredictable wind, the results were still closer than that seen in the events not using the Bucket Rule.  Perhaps just as important, we always have a good mix of boat types on the podium.

The ISYR is an inclusive system permitting a wide variety of designs to succeed.  It is not a grand prix rule that rewards the best design and the biggest budget.  The rule is successful because it “spreads the joy” among all those that prepare their boats and sail well.

Download 2012 Rating Application:

2012 Bucket Rating Application PDF

2012 Bucket Rating Application Excel file




Pendennis logo

The Yacht Report

Dohle Yachts

Camper & Nicholsons International

Future Fibres

Newport Shipyard