LYS is an acronym for Leading Yard Stick, formerly Lidingö Yard Stick. LYS is an empirically based handicapping system used in yacht racing in the Nordic countries. The handicap system was developed in 1970 by the Swedish yacht designer Lars-Olof Norlin. He based the system on regatta results from the Round Lidingö Race. His own design, Allegro 27, was used as the benchmark and is by definition assigned a LYS value of 1.00.
Every yacht model has a LYS number based on results in regattas or, for new models, based on a velocity prediction program (VPP) as in IMS and some other hadicapping systems. The LYS number is multiplied with the measured time in order to get the handicap corrected time. Thus, a yacht with LYS 1.30 needs to sail at least 30% faster than a yacht with LYS 1.00 to win over it. Trimarans of the type open OMRA 60, designed for racing only, have LYS values above 3.0.
As the system is empirically based the LYS number for each individual model might be subject for evaluation and eventually change. This particularly applies to new models based on VPP. The system enables yachts of all sizes and types to compete with each other. LYS 1.00 would equal an average boatspeed of 4.5 knots in a circular at 5.0 m/s.
The numbers are agreed on by an internordic group. The group is responsible for maintaining a standard list, and agree on LYS values for models that are not yet on the list. If there are sufficient numbers of a specific model, the model will become a standard model.
The standard list is under constant review and change, and an updated list can be found at norlys.org.
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