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Old 09-24-2012
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Re: Race rating (TMF, TCF) for Farr IMS 40.7

PHRF ratings vary because the local committees who issue the handicaps adjust them (theoretically) based on local results, which are affected by local conditions. A really heavy boat with small sails will probably not do well in an area with light wind, such as Chesapeake Bay or Long Island Sound: a light boat with big sails will tend to beat it. The local PHRF handicapping committee takes this into account when they issue a rating. In the North Sea, where 20 knots is a lull, the heavier boat will be much more competitive, as the lighter boat has to reef down, and is stopped when it hits the big waves that the heavier boat simply pushes aside. IRC ignores this obvious fact of sailboat racing by assigning a single rating to any boat, anywhere. It then pretends to be scientific and precise by extending the ratings to four decimal places, despite not actually being capable of being that accurate. (If you multiply what LOOKS like a substantial rating difference of .129 between two boats out by the time or distance involved, it comes out to be a tiiny fraction of seconds over the course of the whole race. The decimal places are meaningless in the actual determination of results. They just look REALLY cool.) Then a secret committee changes the secret IRC rule, and the owners who just spent thousands (or tens of thousands) to optimize their boat find out they can't buy trophies by tweaking the rule - they need to buy a new boat. PHRF tends to be consistently popular over a wider range of racers worldwide because it seems to work reasonably well without enabling those with the deepest pockets to buy trophies at the expense of those who sail well.

Last edited by paulk; 09-24-2012 at 11:05 PM.
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