J/22's (race boats) rate 180 while J/34c's rate 120 (cruising boat). What PHRF handicaps describe is your boats performance potential compared to another, usings seconds per nautical mile as the standard. In other words, if your boat rating 180 sails against my boat rating 120 for one mile, I would have to beat you by 60 seconds actual time to be even with you after corrected time. It gets a bit complicated after this as many clubs use time on time instead of time on distance, but the base numbers are still used. It is also a good yardstick to compare different boats potential when looking to purchase.
Jboat J/37c (new to me Jan 2011); J/22 #1003
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