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  • The Portsmouth Yardstick or Portsmouth handicap scheme is a system of handicapping used primarily in small-boat yacht racing. The handicap is applied to the time taken to sail any course, and the corrected time can be used to compare widely different sailboats on even terms. Portsmouth Numbers are continually updated with empirical data from race results worldwide. Numbers are provided for differing wind speeds, plus a composite number that can be used when the wind speed is variable or unknown. The Portsmouth numbers are administered in the United States by the Portsmouth Numbers Committee, and in the United Kingdom by the Royal Yachting Association, based on annual input from a large number of affiliated sailing clubs. While the two systems are similar, the US version uses handicap numbers scaled to 100, while the RYA version changed to a scaling of 1000 in the 1990s.