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post #11 of 25 Old 11-03-2010
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Originally Posted by CBinRI View Post
I recently used comparative ratings in a thread by a fellow who was considering a Sabre 42 and an Island Packet 36. The reason why I did so was not to show that one was better than another but just to show that one was much faster than the other. It's just a healthy baseline to know that a boat is rated at 30 seconds a mile faster, or whatever it is. These ratings aren't perfect but they are useful baselines to use for comparison purposes.
Yep. I'm not saying the numbers aren't illustrative of relative sailing performance. My point is really that you seldom see someone asking that question when comparing a Catalina 36 and say a B36 from Beneteau's Oceanus series which would be comparable boats. It seems more common someone is considering a First 36 or a Han Christian 36. Clearly if one of these boats fit them, the other would not.

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post #12 of 25 Old 11-03-2010
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And it can be a helpful baseline for new folks who don't really have the knowledge to understand the differences (hull form, rig, etc...) between the Sabre and the IP you mention. In the beginning, we're all in that "a boat's a boat, isn't it? I mean what's the difference? They're all slow" phase.
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post #13 of 25 Old 11-04-2010 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by puddinlegs View Post
And it can be a helpful baseline for new folks who don't really have the knowledge to understand the differences (hull form, rig, etc...) between the Sabre and the IP you mention. In the beginning, we're all in that "a boat's a boat, isn't it? I mean what's the difference? They're all slow" phase.
And that is what I am sort of trying to use the PHRF numbers for, a baseline. Just didn't really know what the numbers meant. Of course as everyone has said, boats are a trade off as to what you are going to use them for. Me? I want to have a cruiser that I can take anywhere if the mood strikes but not have the journey take longer than need be. Speed is not a bad thing, durability is not a bad thing, getting both is a compromise. As is most things in life. So much more to consider but, you need a starting point. All kinds of other numbers to interpret, including one of the big ones, $$.

EDIT: Let me add that the cruiser/sail away boat is a few years off. Going to hopefully have a trailer sailer by this time next year. But the goal is to get something about 37' and get the heck out of Dodge.....

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Last edited by cb32863; 11-04-2010 at 08:29 AM.
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post #14 of 25 Old 11-04-2010
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Here's an attempt to clarify just what the numbers mean.. there's a reference earlier in the thread to "seconds per mile".. The PHRF number is in 'seconds' and translates to 'seconds per mile' against a competing boat.

For example, a boat rating 120, racing against a boat rating 100 on a 10 mile course can be up to 10x20= 200 seconds behind the faster boat and still 'win' the race. That same boat racing another rated 220 would have to finish more than 10x100=1000 seconds (nearly 17 minutes) ahead to 'win'.

The idea being that if the corrected times were equal, the boats would be even. It's meant to be an equalizer. Trouble is it's based on the assumption that the boat is perfectly prepped, clean, perfectly sailed including tactics.

One bad tack, or bad decision in a race can negate all that, as can boats that can plane, for example, which tends to blow away their rating based on the measurements used.

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post #15 of 25 Old 11-04-2010
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Well, I must say I still don't get the value of these ratings for a cruising boat. A difference of 30 seconds would translate to falling 5 minutes behind the other boat every hour given a generous 10 knot speed. If you consider that a more realistic cruising average speed is more like 5 knots, the slower boat would lose only an hour in an entire day's worth of sailing.

I am not disputing that a slow boat might feel like a ball and chain around ones ankle after a while. I am just trying to understand how to interpret the numbers. Clearly we have more at stake than a week long transit taking an extra 7 hours. Is it that the faster boat can still sail in conditions where the slower one has to resort to motoring? It is unlikely that the rating would apply linearly at all speeds. Maybe the performance difference gets dramatically worse at lighter winds? There has to be more to the numbers.
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post #16 of 25 Old 11-04-2010
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Well, I must say I still don't get the value of these ratings for a cruising boat. A difference of 30 seconds would translate to falling 5 minutes behind the other boat every hour given a generous 10 knot speed. If you consider that a more realistic cruising average speed is more like 5 knots, the slower boat would lose only an hour in an entire day's worth of sailing.

I am not disputing that a slow boat might feel like a ball and chain around ones ankle after a while. I am just trying to understand how to interpret the numbers. Clearly we have more at stake than a week long transit taking an extra 7 hours. Is it that the faster boat can still sail in conditions where the slower one has to resort to motoring? It is unlikely that the rating would apply linearly at all speeds. Maybe the performance difference gets dramatically worse at lighter winds? There has to be more to the numbers.
its not meant as a measure of preformance w/o competition, but rather more of a 'handicapping' system to allow unequal boats the ability to race on a more level playing field.

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post #17 of 25 Old 11-04-2010
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Originally Posted by cb32863 View Post
So just to throw this out there, looking at base ratings for New England. Is a value of 174 good for a 37 foot boat?
The CS-36T (36' 6") rates at 123 base for New England and I don't consider these boats all that fast. 174 for a 37' boat is pretty darn slow IMHO..

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post #18 of 25 Old 11-04-2010
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cb, the PHRF numbers represent a specific speed difference, over a specific course, in a specific locale which has specific wind conditions, with a specific crew and sails in use. Among other factors, which I'd bet your local PHRF committee members would enjoy spending an hour explaining to you, in person or on the phone. The USSA.ORG webs site probably also has a good explanation of what the phrf numbers are based on.

You can shortcut it somewhat to just mean "a lower number generally means a faster boat" and if you ignore anything within a 10-point spread as being "the same, really" they become more meaningful.

Among the finer points...Bubblehead mentioned an Ohlson 911s. What you won't see in the PHRF numbers is that in order to hit those numbers, that boat requires some fine sail handling and it is very easy to be unable to hit them. While other boats with a wider tolerance for sail trim, are easy to sail "to the numbers".

Like EPA numbers for MPG on cars, they're just one part of the whole story. And when you get into real purebred racing boats with low PHRF numbers? You may also find they have puny little engines, to keep the weight down. Or delicate rigs, that can break in rough weather. Even the America's Cup instructions may specify no racing in over 10 knots of wind--because they don't want to break boats.

Its just numbers, just one way to compare the speed of boats, in specific limited conditions. Not fair, not complete, just a place to start handicapping for racers.
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post #19 of 25 Old 11-04-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Among the finer points...Bubblehead mentioned an Ohlson 911s. What you won't see in the PHRF numbers is that in order to hit those numbers, that boat requires some fine sail handling and it is very easy to be unable to hit them.

Hey, I never said it was easy to sail to your rating.

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post #20 of 25 Old 11-04-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cb32863 View Post
And that is what I am sort of trying to use the PHRF numbers for, a baseline. Just didn't really know what the numbers meant. Of course as everyone has said, boats are a trade off as to what you are going to use them for. Me? I want to have a cruiser that I can take anywhere if the mood strikes but not have the journey take longer than need be. Speed is not a bad thing, durability is not a bad thing, getting both is a compromise. As is most things in life. So much more to consider but, you need a starting point. All kinds of other numbers to interpret, including one of the big ones, $$.

EDIT: Let me add that the cruiser/sail away boat is a few years off. Going to hopefully have a trailer sailer by this time next year. But the goal is to get something about 37' and get the heck out of Dodge.....
As your evaluate & shop for that cruiser, also keep in mind that the typical PHRF number has a spinakker factor built into the sail plan.

We had the trailer sailer for a couple years but it was too tender on Lake Michigan for the Admiral's liking. Now we have a Beneteau Oceanis 352 (35' length & 12.5' beam) and it is the family cruiser. The boat is rated at 144 with spinnaker and 168 with just Jib `n Main.

If you are looking to the PHRF rating system to give you a numeric value that represents potential speed ... make sure you use the number that best represents how you will actually sail the boat (with or without spinnaker).

Paul
`99 Beneteau Oceanis 352, #282 WiTCHCRAFT
Milwaukee, WI
Sailing Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes
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