Champlain PHRF Information
the U.S. PHRF National Terms of
1. are not
measurement ratings. Each handicap
reflects an estimate of a sailboat's
speed potential determined as far as
possible on knowledge of previous racing
experience supported by a consensus of
the effect of differential hull and rig
arrived at through an empirical process
based upon observation and analysis of
race results. It is the intent of the
performance handicapping process to
produce a relative measure of speed such
that any well maintained and well-sailed
boat has a good chance of winning a
race. Therefore, performance handicaps
are adjusted on the basis of the boat
types performance so that each
well-sailed boat has an equal
opportunity to win. This is the
fundamental concept of performance
handicapping for offshore
3. are not
intended to reflect skipper and crew
capability. Handicaps are not adjusted
to encourage a poor or careless skipper,
and conversely no handicap adjustment is
made to penalize proficiency. The
intensity of competition and the influx
of new and aggressive sailors require
each skipper to maintain consistently
high performance in order to place well.
assigned locally or regionally by a
Performance Handicap Racing Fleet (PHRF).
Each local or regional PHRF organization
issues and validates handicap
certificates according to the rule and
associated regulations described in this
document. Some PHRF organizations may
also sponsor and manage races, but this
is nota requirement for a certificate
The PHRF Rule and Boat
The PHRF is
an open rule. There are few national
hull or sail restrictions other than
those consistent with standards of
safety for offshore monohulls. This
means that monohulls must be
self-righting. There are no other
fundamental limitations on ingenuity
other than those contained in the US
SAILING (formerly USYRU) rules. Class
restrictions may be applied locally but
are not a matter for national policy.
Well-designed and constructed boats are
expected not to be made obsolete by
newer designs under PHRF. PHRF does not
use measurement to determine by formula
base handicaps, because any formula once
established can be beaten by a clever
designer. As faster designs appear, they
are handicapped accordingly. Therefore,
one of the major benefits of the PHRF
system is to provide handicaps such that
older boats can race competitively with
the latest designs.
discourages "rule beating." If a skipper
modified his boat, PHRF will attempt to
compensate for the new speed potential.
The use of taller masts, longer
spinnaker poles, extra ballast, gutted
interiors or other modifications
intended to increase speed are
compensated for by the ratingassigned.
assumes that a boat is equipped to race.
It does not attempt to rate a partially
equipped boat, or a boat which differs
from others in its class, in that it is
unusually heavy, out of balance, or has
unusual windage (as from a dinghy on
davits). However, if the base hull and
rig differ from others in its class, it
will, of course be rated uniquely.
ratings are expressed in seconds per
nautical mile to be deducted from
elapsed time to produce corrected times.
The higher rating indicates the slower
boat. PHRF time allowances are not
related to other systems.
handicaps are made on the assumption
spinnaker pole length is no longer than
2. the spinnaker maximum girth is 180%
of "J" or less,*
3. the spinnaker maximum length is equal
to 95% of the length of the jibstay
i.e., .95 ,
4. the genoa LP is between 153% of "J"
5. the boat is in racing condition,
6. the boat has a folding or feathering
propeller, a two bladed solid propeller
in an aperture or a retractable outboard
motor (on board at all times), and
7. the hull and appendages are
8. the boat complies with Coast Guard
*except if rated under a one-design rule
Changes To Design OR
may experiment with different ways of
improving the performance of his boat.
If there are changes to the hull, rig,
sails or other factors upon which the
existing rating is based, they must be
reported to the handicapper for
evaluation. Any discrepencies between
the information on the rating
application and the boat, as raced, are
grounds for protest and disqualification
for the entire season. If possible
deviations on the part of the owner
become apparent, other contestants are
urged to appeal to the area handicapper.
handicap of an individual boat is
expressed in seconds per nautical mile.
The smallest increment of performance
normally used for rating is 3 sec/mi.
Observations of numerous races show that
it is impossible to spot a boat's
potential speed or performance more
accurately than this because of the
multiple factors involved. Differences
in skipper and crew skill represent a
much larger factor than 3 sec/mi.
headsail size has so much to do with
boat speed, PHRF uses this factor as a
means of handicapping. Once a boat is
rated with a large headsail, this rating
must be used, even though the wind
conditions may preclude use of the sail.
A skipper is not allowed to have his
boat rerated frequently by choosing his
headsail to fit expected conditions.
A new boat
in an established class is given the
rating for the class. Adjustments are
made for any deviation from the class.
If adjustments are made, an indication
is made in the handicap record that the
boat is not a standard class boat.
classes and one-of-a-kind boats, the
rating is determined on the basis of
comparison with similar boats with
established ratings. Comparison is made
considering type of design and principal
dimensions. The rating is assigned
conservatively, and is adjusted as
performance data becomes available.
utilizes analytical methods to calculate
race results and to collect statistics
by boat class. Other handicapping
systems (IOR, IMS, etc.) race results
also are used to gain a maximum data
base. Each class is handicapped against
the performance of the fleet as a whole
and the handicap raised or lowered as
required for good racing. However,
winning races does not automatically
lead to an adjustment of the handicap.
appeals of rating are to be made to the
local Board of Handicappers and are
considered in their meetings. A skipper
may appeal his own or others' ratings.
The appellant sets forth his views in
writing and documents his case with
supporting information. The written
appeal must include a $20 appeal fee.
The written appeal and fee are then
submitted to the PHRF chairman, who will
schedule a hearing that will include the
PHRF committee, the appellant and any
other interested parties. Within two
weeks of the hearing, the appellant will
receive, in writing, the PHRF
committee's decision. When the appellant
is not satisfied with the resolution of
the appeal, a national appeal may be
invoked when both the local fleet and
appellant agree to abide by the national