Q: How much does the Q change the relative handicap between boats?

A: If your favorite competitor has a rating 6 seconds per mile different than you, your effective handicap difference will change the equivalent of about 1.1 seconds per mile (for a 5 mile at 5 knot race this might be 2 boat lengths).  Where the real improvement will take place is in divisions forced to have large rating spreads. The difference scales with the rating spread so boats separated by 60 seconds per mile would see an 11 second per mile effective rating change. While this effective rating change may seem large, the actual effect on the scored positions is actually surprisingly small.