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Characteristics of a healthy PHRF fleet

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  • Characteristics of a healthy PHRF fleet



    A nice piece from our friends at Scuttlebutt, with a nice photo to illustrate!


    Stan Honey has serious cred at the navigation table. He’s won the Volvo Ocean Race and he’s set the fastest circumnavigation record. Now, he’s preparing for line honor assaults on the newly launched 100 foot Super-maxi ‘Comanche’.

    But when Stan is home in Northern California, his view on the sport is local, assisting the PHRF fleet with handicapping decisions, a role he has had for 20 years. Here Stan shares some thought on managing the health of PHRF racing…


    IT is important for local handicap committee members to be active racers too. Knowing how well each boat is prepared, and how well it is raced, are key determinants in evaluating a boat’s PHRF rating. The baseline most committees follow is to rate boats assuming that they have good sails, a clean bottom, and are well-sailed. You can’t credit a boat’s rating for being poorly prepared. . Most PHRF committees try not to rate the sailors, specifically they try to avoid giving a boat a rating credit for not sailing well. Of course some yacht clubs do have a “golf” type handicap for the sailors which can be terrific to encourage participation. When used, a “golf” type handicap is typically an additional factor added to the base PHRF rating.

    In a healthy PHRF fleet, the racers develop the impression that the best place to invest their time and money is in their sails, a good bottom, and in improving their sailing skill. Having people focus on their sails, boat prep, and skill through practice leads to a fairly healthy racing environment and an enjoyable experience for most folks.

    One of the things that can make a fleet less healthy and present a challenge to the local PHRF committee, is when some competitors regularly make changes to customize their boat for specific upcoming races, such as re-rating with a longer pole for a downwind race or with a smaller jib for a typically windy race. Some boats have even tried to get a rating with a reef in. When this type of “gaming your rating” works, it sends an unfortunate message to other members of the fleet that you need to play this game in order to win, and few want to invest their time this way. To many, investing energy in this “gaming” seems like a distraction from sailing. When competitors make these sort of optimizing changes, the PHRF committee has to rate the change in such a way to communicate that all fleet members do not have to engage in this behavior in order to be competitive.

    Another thing that is difficult for a local fleet is when a new boat comes in, particularly a very high performance boat, where the local board is unfamiliar with the boat and thus has no observed performance on which to base a rating. It is discouraging for the fleet if that boat immediately dominates. The fleet will then concluded that you need a racy new boat to win in PHRF, and interest in the fleet will sag. It is also of course discouraging for the owner of the new boat if they are giving an overly punitive rating and they can’t compete. So the PHRF committee has to get the rating close for a new boat, but has zero empirical data to use.

    The US Sailing Offshore Office helps with this problem. Most new racing boats will have an ORR rating, and the ORR vpp (velocity prediction program) does a very good job of calculating the performance of a wide variety of boats from measurements. Dan Nowlan in the US Sailing Offshore Office can calculate both a national reference PHRF rating for the boat and also provide other ORR based estimates of the boat’s performance in various conditions. The local PHRF committee can use the national reference PHRF rating to get close, and can also customize this reference rating for their local conditions. These US Sailing Offshore tools are enormously useful to PHRF committees, allowing them to provide a completely unfamiliar boat with a rating that is both fair to the existing fleet and to the new boat. In Northern California, we often advise owners of new high performance boats to get an ORR rating so that we can give them a close PHRF rating right away.

    This situation solves the problem for the owner of the new boat, and for the existing fleet. Instead of sailing for a number of races with a punitive rating, or instead of the fleet getting crushed by a new boat, while the local committee collects empirical performance data, the new boat can have a fair rating right away by taking advantage of the ORR vpp.

    This allows the local PHRF fleets to enjoy the benefit of low cost ratings with empirical adjustments made by a committee of local sailors, but it also allows the occasional, new, high-performance boat to “parachute” into a local fleet and race with a fair rating.

    - See more at: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/20...tlebutt+4229+-
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



    h2oshots.com Photo Gallery

  • #2
    A healthy PHRF Fleet

    http://www.pressure-drop.us/forums/s...thy-PHRF-fleet

    I wonder if Stan has helped look back at the transgressions of the PHRF Past.
    How many boats sit because of past Local and Regional PHRF Board SLAMS on ratings because of someone with power and influence.

    The only fair way to make ratings work is to remove the Human (power grab) Influence.


    What an ass kissing article photo boy.

    Comment


    • #3
      With any handicapped program, there will be happy people, and unhappy people.

      Period.

      You want fair? Go one design!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by DaveT View Post
        http://www.pressure-drop.us/forums/s...thy-PHRF-fleet

        I wonder if Stan has helped look back at the transgressions of the PHRF Past.
        How many boats sit because of past Local and Regional PHRF Board SLAMS on ratings because of someone with power and influence.

        The only fair way to make ratings work is to remove the Human (power grab) Influence.


        What an ass kissing article photo boy.
        Why you CONSTANTLY start new threads over existing threads, instead of just replying to those already going, blows me away.

        But to answer your question, I did not write the article.

        Stan Honey did.

        Craig Leweck and Sailing Scuttlebutt published it and used one of our photos to illustrate.

        So your bitch, this time, is WHAT exactly?????
        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



        h2oshots.com Photo Gallery

        Comment


        • #5
          I thought about responding to Stan Honey's "A Healthy PHRF Fleet" posting last evening, but decided to pass. I had already read it on "Scuttlebutt's" website. Now I can't. The NCPHRF Committee is comprised of a group of experienced sailors who sail among us. Several are professionals, several amateurs, all are dedicated to making PHRF racing in Northern California available for most of the boats that participate in all level of racing from beer canners through the PacCup/SSS Transpac to international regattas. Stan is one of those PHRF folks and knows how the NCPHRF Committee works. I believe it is one of the best PHRF Committee in the nation. Since I only sail in races where my NC PHRF Rating is used, I can't comment on the other hundred or so PHRF Committees around the country, some serving a small lake's sailing community.

          Criticism of the committee's work usually comes down to some sort of prejudice on their part, sometimes professional, sometimes personal. I challenge anyone to come forward who feels this way with the specifics, naming names, pointing out examples. I suppose I could be in line since when I agreed to purchase my Wyliecat 30 the PHRF was 135 and the day I signed the papers it was 129. I hadn't even done more than a demonstration sail, let along raced the boat! I'm sure some member of the PHRF Committee found out about my decision to buy the boat, had a grudge against me, and took it out on the entire Wyliecat fleet. Of course when my boat was new its handicap was 141, so maybe every Wyliecat owner had someone on the committee with a grudge?

          I invite anyone interested to visit the YRA website and read the minutes of the NCPHRF Committee meetings in which decisions affecting handicaps are published. If you read them over time, you'll see an attempt to handicap a new design and then adjustments as that design racks up a record of winning or losing. You'll also see individual boats being re-handicapped when changes are made to it. Recently when the PacCup decided to have boats weighed you'll see Dick Horn's report to the committee and the adjustments that were made; not all Cal 40s weigh the same it turns out. Some cases are there because a competitor approached the committee with evidence in the form of race results, either good or bad, and asked for a review. They don't always result in a change.

          Your boat gets knocked with an additional handicap, you're pissed. Your competitor who consistently beats you gets an additional handicap, you're not so much pissed. I've been sailing both boats.

          Did I mention NCPHRF committee members are volunteers or that the YRA Executive Secretary prepares a notebook-size folder for them to study prior to each meeting or that their total pay for their services is the pizza they eat during the meeting? I suggest if you have a valid beef that you follow the procedure and ask for a review. I have a close sailing friend who gets reviewed from time to time. He keeps meticulous records on who wins, by how much, in what kind of race. He sails a one-of-a-kind-there-will-never-be-a-Sister-Ship-boat and he's been reviewed a number of times. When he's called in, he's prepared, although recently he finally got knocked -- and his sails are built by someone on the committee. By the way he's still winning races, but not by as much. I sail against him so I should know.

          As a disclaimer (most of you know who I am) I was involved in YRA management for many years, including two terms as Chairman. I'm far from a neutral voice when it comes to thinking the NCPHRF Committee does good work, but I'm not a lonely voice.

          Comment


          • #6
            Dave sails in So-Cal and deals with a different PHRF region. He also seems to complain about a lot of things.

            I agree with Mr. WylieGuy - we have a well-qualified and even-handed committee here. My only beef has been that they tend to "protect" the existing fleet by rating many/most new designs more harshly than in other parts of the country. (The J/88 is a current example.) Stan pretty much admits this in the article. The problem with doing this is it discourages the sale of new boats into the handicapped fleet, which is aging and shrinking. New boats are expensive so it's also hard to sell enough in one place to race one-design. Consequently there are also fewer one-design fleets as boats age.

            My philosophy would be different: Give a new design as good a rating as everywhere else (and usually what its designer computed with the VPP), then let the other skippers use the existing appeal structure if the new boat starts winning a lot. Meantime more new boats get sold and they have a chance to get enough in one place for one-design racing.

            There are probably reasons why the committee doesn't want to do it this way but those guys don't tend to post on these forums.

            Comment


            • #7
              Conversely, one can buy a boat that gets a great rating if sail well. The Cal 20, Merit 25, Wylie Wabbitt, Express 27, Moore 24 are all good example of that.

              Comment


              • #8
                Agreed, but there are a lot of folks who want something newer than 30 years old (or 50 years in the case of the Cal). They should be able to get a fair rating too.

                Comment


                • #9
                  It's not to late to buy expensive Christmas gifts for your local PHRF committee members!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I want to buy Kame a sprit kit for GOLDEN MOON

                    :-)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Photoboy View Post
                      Why you CONSTANTLY start new threads over existing threads, instead of just replying to those already going, blows me away.

                      But to answer your question, I did not write the article.

                      Stan Honey did.

                      Craig Leweck and Sailing Scuttlebutt published it and used one of our photos to illustrate.

                      So your bitch, this time, is WHAT exactly?????
                      I did not see you had already started a thread.

                      My bitch, PHRF Local and Regional Boards have done many wrongs and never gone back to fix them.

                      Originally posted by BobJ View Post
                      Dave sails in So-Cal and deals with a different PHRF region. He also seems to complain about a lot of things.

                      I agree with Mr. WylieGuy - we have a well-qualified and even-handed committee here. My only beef has been that they tend to "protect" the existing fleet by rating many/most new designs more harshly than in other parts of the country. (The J/88 is a current example.) Stan pretty much admits this in the article. The problem with doing this is it discourages the sale of new boats into the handicapped fleet, which is aging and shrinking. New boats are expensive so it's also hard to sell enough in one place to race one-design. Consequently there are also fewer one-design fleets as boats age.

                      My philosophy would be different: Give a new design as good a rating as everywhere else (and usually what its designer computed with the VPP), then let the other skippers use the existing appeal structure if the new boat starts winning a lot. Meantime more new boats get sold and they have a chance to get enough in one place for one-design racing.

                      There are probably reasons why the committee doesn't want to do it this way but those guys don't tend to post on these forums.
                      It's good you have an even handed committee.

                      and I only voice my opinion because no one seems to care down here.
                      in the past the regional board has changed ratings without hearings or notice to the owner.
                      Now they want 2 years of racing data to fix a wrong. That can kill a boat's resale value.

                      Comment

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