The demise of the RYA's Portsmouth Number handicapping system for cruising yachts led to a very real problem. The RYA themselves tried to introduce an individual performance based alternative, which, for a variety of reasons was felt to be unsuitable in the PoFSA area. A simple alternative was sought which might assist the achievement of fair racing as required by the Racing Rules of Sailing, by setting a boat’s handicap in a fair, open and transparent manner. This alternative is termed the Falmouth Area Yardstick, or FAY.
The Yardstick is calculated from a small set of fairly simple measurements; namely, Sail Area, Displacement, Waterline Length, Draft and Keel Type. In the case of 2- or 3- bilge craft, Beam is also required.
The Yardstick is provided and then published by the PoFSA Handicap Committee after submitting the FAY Application Form.
A full description of the handicap policy may be found here.
The Yardstick is applied in the same way that the Portsmouth Number was applied.
The yardstick is applied to all Village Regattas, to Falmouth Week, and by the majority of the Clubs. Portsmouth Numbers are still applied to racing dinghies, IRC is used for some of the larger yachts, and some classes compete as one-designs, but for handicapped cruising yachts, FAY is the commonly used system.
A Port list is published for all 'known' boats in the area. Note that the FAY used in Regattas and Falmouth Week may be adjusted by individual clubs for their own racing.