Join Date: Nov 2000
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Its kind of complicated and not as exacting as one would expect. Its also based on regional results so a boat on San Francisco bay would probably have a slightly different PHRF rating from one on the East Coast.
One thing I do know, if you sail an OK boat, but there is a huge fleet of owners that are terrible sailors, then there is a good chance you''ll get a very favorable rating since some of the handicapping is done by determining averages of speeds and time to travel "x" miles on a course. If you sailed a WizBangSail 34 and everyone that entered races and took an average of 200 seconds to go a mile and you could do it typically in 150, then you are doing good!
From the NE PHRF Site.
"How are handicaps determined? There are a number of factors taken into account. We compare the new boat to others that we are familiar with. We look for boats of the same type, based on sail area to displacement ratios. You really can''t compare an ultralight to an around the world cruiser. We then make adjustments based on the differences.
We look to see if the boat has raced in another PHRF group. If so, the Chief Handicapper of that group will be contacted to get his opinion.
We look to measurement rules. Here you have to be careful as measurement rules are type forming. If the boat wasn''t designed to the rule, then this has to be taken into account. Since measurement rules evolve over the years, the age in the rule must also be considered.
There are a number of formulae that can be used to give you an idea of where to start from using basic boat parameters. These tend to be crude and are good only for getting a ballpark idea of what the handicap might be.
All of these factors are considered and a handicap is determined. It can then be adjusted, based on race performance. This is the difficult part as the quality of the racing program has to be taken into consideration. Just because a boat finishes last all the time or, on the other hand, wins many races, does not necessarily mean that the handicap is wrong.
The overall philosophy is that, for new boats, we should error on the side of being a bit harsh. For instance, if we are trying to decide between a handicap of 111 or 108 for a new boat, we will always pick the 108 for a starting place. It is always easier to raise a handicap than to lower one. "