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It’s time to replace PHRF once and for all!


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It's way past time to move on from PHRF for those of us that are relatively serious about racing.  As much as we spend on boats, racing sails, gear, etc. we should not be relying on an outdated and relatively arbitrary rating system like PHRF.  It's time to move up to a Measurement-based VPP rating system.  I have been doing some research on the different rating systems and this is what I think:

ORC is the answer because:

- ratings are objective, based purely on measurements and VPP science, and there are no appeals for ratings (unlike PHRF and ORR-EZ).  ORR-EZ allows owner declared values just like PHRF.

- ratings are calculated for different courses and wind speeds, making results closer and more accurate (unlike PHRF)

- rules, certificates and data are completely open source for full transparency (unlike ORR, IRC or PHRF).  ORR claims they keep their system proprietary in order to discourage attempts to design boats “to the rule”.  The reality is the rich guys will hire the smart guys and will figure out how to “game the system”, meanwhile the rest of us will be left wondering why we traded one closed system for another.  With ORC, I don’t have to hire rating rules specialist to tell me how to make my boat go as fast as possible.  I can go to ORC Sailor Services and look at other similar boat configurations/ratings and/or run test certs to see what the optimum configuration is for my boat.  In my opinion, this levels the playing field for me because I don’t have unlimited resources like some of the other boats we race against.

- the ORC Sailor Services website has over 125K measurement records in its database which are readily available for review and comparison: free login at www.orc.org/sailorservices (not available from either ORR, IRC or PHRF)

- ORC Sailor Services allows you to run test certs (for around $18) so you can determine any difference in speed/rating for different SPL, sprits, sails, crew weight, etc. (not available from PHRF.  ORR and IRC offer this but at a higher cost).  Good luck trying to get your local PHRF committee to tell you what your ratings hit will be while you consider changing your Sprit length, for example.  

- ORC is recognized as an international rating system by World Sailing, issues >10,000 certificates yearly in 40 countries and is thus well-funded, completely open, and invests heavily each year in research to improve its VPP (not true for ORR, IRC or PHRF).  ORC is twice as big as IRC and 10-15 times bigger than ORR (size matters) and is run by FULL-TIME Professional staff!  In other words, ORC is here to stay and that can't be said definitively for the other systems.  My guess is "in the end there will only be one" and my money is on ORC.

- ORC Club certificates are issued by US Sailing and are inexpensive( $100).

-ORC International certificates (ORCi) are significantly cheaper than ORR and IRC.  I have a First 44.7 and an ORCi cert will cost me less than $1k.  A full ORR cert will cost over $3k.  That’s ridiculous.

There is now interest in trying the ORC system in San Diego.   The first step is getting at least 10 boats measured and certified, followed by an analysis of historical race result data to show the end-users how the system performs better than PHRF in local regattas and races.  The second step is working with OAs to create an ORC class or two.  Once skippers see how impartial, transparent, and user-friendly the system is, they will not look back.

ORC has agreed to provide 2 US Sailing certified measurers to conduct measurements in San Diego over a weekend sometime in late October or November (dates TBD).

For those interested, the cost to participate is as follows:

- ORC Club certificate with partial measurements (eg, sails, freeboard, deck and rig): $50 ($300+ value) plus $100 to US Sailing for the Club cert.

- ORCi Cert with the above measurements plus an inclination for stability for $15/ft (normally $20/ft) plus $8/ft to US Sailing for the cert.  Measurements are sufficient for a full ORR cert if doing TRanspac or another ORR event.

- all participants will receive a complementary ORC Speed Guide of polars and Target Speed output for W/L racing for their boat ($90 value)

Please let me know if you are interested in having your boat measured during this event.  Once we've got 10 boats we'll figure out which weekend to host this event.

Greg Price

AEOLOS
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Regatta participation has been decreasing, so maybe the first step should be to contact all the boats owners who did Beer Cans and Hot Rums and ask how many would be interested in joining ORC.  There has to be a critical mass for this change to be worth it.

Otherwise it may be cutting thinner slices of an already shrinking pie.

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- ratings are calculated for different courses and wind speeds, making results closer and more accurate (unlike PHRF)

And this is not subjective? 

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It is very easy to take a race that you sailed and use the ORR-ez ratings to see how the race would have scored otherwise.

I like using Sailwave. You can go to the ORRez website https://offshoreracingassociation.org/orr-ez and look up the valid list and see how many boats (class or type) in your fleet have a similar boat already rated. Next you have to look at the wind range for the race.You can look back at past years and see if boats go ratings earlier. I paid the $100 for my boat to get a rating.

After you set up the Sailwave file, it is pretty simple to see what might change. Probably not much because those who make mistakes are always the losers.

 

Zap26 56267 ORR-EZ.pdf

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Handicaps are bullshit.

You want to know is you are any good find or organise a one-design race.

In every handicap system there are still people trying to find 'the weapon' that will give them an advantage.  I have won and lost in big handicap fleets.  When I won I took it with a combination of;

  1. I was not first over the line and I'm feeling a bit sheepish at stealing this trophy
  2. Handicaps are arbitrary and it just happened that the course and breeze suited us that day, but thanks anyway

Compared to winning in one-design, handicap wins are nice, but I find little bragging rights about them.

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Good luck getting some small club in the midwest on a lake to adopt ANYTHING but their age-old PHRF system.  I support the move to ORC, but seriously doubt most of the crusty crabs I compete with would go for it.  There are two versions of PHRF: time on distance (the most widely used system) and time on time.  The Time on Time is more scientific since it allows for several coefficients based upon wind strength.  Problem is ToT takes more math to compute the ToD.

My .02 worth

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5 minutes ago, astro said:

Handicaps are bullshit.

You want to know is you are any good find or organise a one-design race.

In every handicap system there are still people trying to find 'the weapon' that will give them an advantage.  I have won and lost in big handicap fleets.  When I won I took it with a combination of;

  1. I was not first over the line and I'm feeling a bit sheepish at stealing this trophy
  2. Handicaps are arbitrary and it just happened that the course and breeze suited us that day, but thanks anyway

Compared to winning in one-design, handicap wins are nice, but I find little bragging rights about them.

OD is always the real test.

But PHRF and ORR is not arbitrary. Lots of history and thought and discussion go into issuing ratings like PHRF. Maybe you area has a good ole boys club. But the 4 years I spend on the Regional SO Cal board, there was lots of discussion and there were times when we would not grant a change until the owner had more race data.

Everyone complains but no one volunteers to help out. It really is a lot of work to make it right. Try it some time.

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I'll wade in here.

I agree totally that PHRF is bush league.  It has its place as an entry level system where people can test the racing scene to see if it's for them.  If it is and they want to level up, then it's time for a measurement/VPP system.

And yeah, One-Design is the real proof, yada, yada, yada.  But there's no way in hell I'm buying a J/24.  Looking around at the racing scene, I think there's a lot of people who agree with me.

I have a ORR-ez rating and race with it when I am able.  Weasel134 seems sold on ORC, and that's great.  ORR is great, too.  So is IRC, depending on your venue.  The result is that racing is closer, fairer, and when you show up with your HotStuff 34 or PerfCruiser 26 you've got a decent chance to get some silver.

I've sat in on some of the discussions in my area of Chesapeake Bay, and any mention of a rating system other than PHRF is met with hostility.  They trot out an amazingly predictable set of excuses:  too expensive, too complicated, you can't tell how you're doing against competitors, yada, yada, yada.  The loudest voices in the room are, get this, the folks that are the top of the PHRF fleet.  Yeah, the same guys saying it's too expensive are the same ones paying $3000 a year just for a place for the boat to sit, and an additional $3000 - $8000 on sails and pristine bottoms.  They can't pay an extra $60 on a better rating?  I say Bullshit!  Besides, if you want to really spend real money, start racing your boat offshore like me.

But I get it.  People have invested a huge amount of money and resources in the last 40 years taking advantage of system that only worked before 1977.  They will try to scupper any potential threat to their happy place.  Change will only happen with advocacy, and the Chesapeake Bay has ORC and ORR representatives that are doing a good job getting the word out and creating converts.

Long may it continue.

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There will always be a place for handicap systems. A lot of us either don’t want to or can’t afford to (or both) sail any of the existing OD fleets in our area.

We’ve had our non-OD boat 26 years and counting. How many 30’ and up one design fleets that exist today can you still see putting together a starting line in another 26 years? In the Chesapeake: J/105, perhaps. Melges 32 is done. Farr 30 is done. J/111? Maybe, I hope so. Alberg 30 almost certainly will still be around.

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1 hour ago, Alaris said:

Alberg 30 almost certainly will still be around.

Off topic but how's the Alberg 30 fleet doing these days in the Chesapeake? I remember sailing with my grandfather in the early 90s and it was a blast, even in that brick of a boat. A bunch of retired naval officers cursing each other out at the bottom mark in any class will make for an interesting sailing experience, and that OD in the Chesapeake seemed to have it's fair share back then. 

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10 minutes ago, PB2207 said:

Off topic but how's the Alberg 30 fleet doing these days in the Chesapeake? I remember sailing with my grandfather in the early 90s and it was a blast, even in that brick of a boat. A bunch of retired naval officers cursing each other out at the bottom mark in any class will make for an interesting sailing experience, and that OD in the Chesapeake seemed to have it's fair share back then. 

They’re still alive and well from the looks of it. I see them all the time when I’m out racing or cruising. Prolific little things.

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The problem with any change to ORC/ORR or whatever is that there will be winners and losers.  Some boats will have a less favourable rating than they did before.  Those people will quit racing their boats.  So, you can have PHRF with the current whining, or less people sailing.  Choose your poison.

 

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standards.png

PHRF is like Winston Churchill's quote about democracy: it's the worst system in the world except for all the other ones that have been tried.  The fact is that a huge chunk of racing is weeknight beer can racing where expensive individual measurement systems aren't worth the time, effort, or cost.

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PHRF is fine... ORC is fine... ORR is fine... as long as class splits are narrow.  But no systemcan rate a melges 32 against an Alberg 30, and anyone selling that as a feature is a liar. 
 

My concern is that by splitting an already diminished fleet across three rating systems is only hurting racing.  

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Club racing needs a system that encourages local fleets to participate.  Let's see what 2021 brings. Most participation and data from 2020 should not be recognized and , in my humble opinion, not be used to change local rating systems at this time. Tap the brakes and stew over your PHRF rating..or the challenge of the implementation of ORCi or ORR and how that might play out for your results in 2021. Better get to work! 

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46 minutes ago, Pollination said:

Club racing needs a system that encourages local fleets to participate.  Let's see what 2021 brings. Most participation and data from 2020 should not be recognized and , in my humble opinion, not be used to change local rating systems at this time. Tap the brakes and stew over your PHRF rating..or the challenge of the implementation of ORCi or ORR and how that might play out for your results in 2021. Better get to work! 

Just got my ORR rating today. Using it for the ocean, but also as a basis for PHRF adjustment.

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ORC has its own limitations.

ALL that is not measured is subject to cheating/equipment race. Hull surface finish, sails quality...

Even , in the > 10.000 certificates , how many have MWT Mast Weight and MWG Mast center of Gravity height really measured ?

And do not forget that ORC VPP only handles two degrees of freedom : Heel angle equilibrium and resistance/propulsion. Side force balance/ leeway angle is NOT handled.

 

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Hello! 

I am going to put an opinion from the other side of the pond...

Situation in Spain was weird for a couple of years, there was a rating called RN or RI later, which basically a formula with some of the parameters of the boat, all easy to use, open excel to make changes and tests... worked semi nice, lots of boats, the more you measure the better is your rating, or at least more accurate, but can sail without any measurement because they got extensive DataBase with basic models etc.. no VPP though, just formula.
This was all organized from the RANC, the national cruising association. Even did 3 COPA DEL REY with it.
Price was about 8€/m, so around 100€ per year.

Then it comes the RFEV, spanish sailing federation and realizes they are not getting any money about it and decides that all national championships and bla bla must be done in ORC (through them obviously).

There were several years of conflict and now its mostly ORC around Spain. Same people sailing, and if there are less people sailing is due to other reasons.

 

My opinion is that participation does not relate to the rating system, at least in my zone, Catalan Coast.

For modest clubs it goes with stock Club certificates and more racy people get their ORCi, but lots of people play it with the club version and they get their wins.
In Barcelona specially, for those who do not have rating or have not an updated one we take theirs or a similar boat and apply a penalty on their time (not apealable).

So far so good and demonstrates that rating should not be an obstacle for participation, BUUT having a more scientific and fair base for all it its better IMHO.


On personal side I was initially against the change from RI to ORC because it complicated things... but in the end it has been a very good move overall, and allows us to move around and use an international Rating system, and get people form around the world in the big regatas like COPA DEL REY, in inshore or several of the offshore races like 300millas a3.


So in general go for it guys!

 

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13 hours ago, Weasel134 said:

Annapolis YC recently adopted ORC and their participation has increased 25% since.  ORC results are generally much tighter than PHRF so more boats have a chance to do well, hence increased participation.

As soon as they learn the game, some "rule beater ORC bandits" will appear, then participation will start to decrease. Been there done that (Italy).

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Furko,

Lets keep the rule effectiveness separate from cheating!

The problem (in summary) with orc is that it attempts to predict everything, whereas e.g, irc assumes efficient design and tries to predict only the major factors. If irc added real measured vcg it would take a huge step forward.

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US Sailing has been using VPP for National Reference Ratings for a decent number of boats. You can read about it, and see the ratings, along with all the regionally-reported ratings.

https://www.ussailing.org/competition/offshore/phrf/phrf-handicaps/

It has made life much smoother for our PHRF committee. I know that in our area, anything besides PHRF would be too expensive for all but a handful of boats. We provide PHRF for free here.

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1 hour ago, Frogman56 said:

Furko,

Lets keep the rule effectiveness separate from cheating!

The problem (in summary) with orc is that it attempts to predict everything, whereas e.g, irc assumes efficient design and tries to predict only the major factors. If irc added real measured vcg it would take a huge step forward.

A rule beater bandit is not a cheater.

A rule beater bandit is a boat that understand the rule and implementes features that are not as slow as the rule thinks they are in the conditions they race in on the courses they use.

It may not be fun racing with those features and it may not be fun racing against boats with those features.

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3 hours ago, Furkolkjaaf said:

As soon as they learn the game, some "rule beater ORC bandits" will appear, then participation will start to decrease. Been there done that (Italy).

This is exactly what is happening in Annapolis...  new ORC-optimized designs like the Italia are cleaning house, winning or in top 3 in most races.  They have great crew too, which matters too of course. 

(And old phrf rule beaters are instead racing in the phrf division... which means smaller less competitive classes for both)

(Also some interesting results with older boats suddenly are outperforming orc, maybe because that vpp rule has focused more on modern design features?)

 

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NO rule yet devised can rate EVERY boat fairly in all, (or even any) set of conditions.

IMS tried,  and while better than the option at the time, failed, and was thought too difficult to administer.  Also many Grand Prix sailors disliked knowing what the delta would be between boats while racing,  which meant less certainty to on board calls of how you were going.

The newer rules are aiming to provide the same unattainable outcome,  some do it better than others,  and while mostly results are similar under different rating systems,  some favour particular types of boats,  in different conditions.

In Oz it is not uncommon for boats to carry 2 or even 3 ratings under different systems and many races allow them to be scored in each division in the same race.

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5 hours ago, badia420 said:

Hello! 

I am going to put an opinion from the other side of the pond...

Situation in Spain was weird for a couple of years, there was a rating called RN or RI later, which basically a formula with some of the parameters of the boat, all easy to use, open excel to make changes and tests... worked semi nice, lots of boats, the more you measure the better is your rating, or at least more accurate, but can sail without any measurement because they got extensive DataBase with basic models etc.. no VPP though, just formula.
This was all organized from the RANC, the national cruising association. Even did 3 COPA DEL REY with it.
Price was about 8€/m, so around 100€ per year.

Then it comes the RFEV, spanish sailing federation and realizes they are not getting any money about it and decides that all national championships and bla bla must be done in ORC (through them obviously).

There were several years of conflict and now its mostly ORC around Spain. Same people sailing, and if there are less people sailing is due to other reasons.

 

My opinion is that participation does not relate to the rating system, at least in my zone, Catalan Coast.

For modest clubs it goes with stock Club certificates and more racy people get their ORCi, but lots of people play it with the club version and they get their wins.
In Barcelona specially, for those who do not have rating or have not an updated one we take theirs or a similar boat and apply a penalty on their time (not apealable).

So far so good and demonstrates that rating should not be an obstacle for participation, BUUT having a more scientific and fair base for all it its better IMHO.


On personal side I was initially against the change from RI to ORC because it complicated things... but in the end it has been a very good move overall, and allows us to move around and use an international Rating system, and get people form around the world in the big regatas like COPA DEL REY, in inshore or several of the offshore races like 300millas a3.


So in general go for it guys!

Good feedback!  Thanks. 

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15 hours ago, SamLowry said:

PHRF is bush league

Bush league?  So the vast majority of racing in the US is inferior?  Inferior to what?  Sailing is already expensive, even at the club level.  Why ask people to cough up more money?  The habitual PHRF rating whiners won't buy a new sail much less PAY for a rating.

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I like ORC better than PHRF.  We had to get ORC measured this year b/c our little OD fleet was half out of the water due to COVID so they banged a bunch of local-to-Annapolis classes into ORC (rather than PHRF).  The initial measurement cost a few bucks in sailmaker time and paying for the rating of course, but it was quick and it's accurate.  Properly administered it's a better handicap system - for our waterline and as a displacement boat, a J/35 is a rocketship upwind and we get fucked in any reaching race or planing downwind race by newer ULDB with similar PHRF ratings. A J/35 that beats, say, a J/80 on a 30 mile downwind sled ride in 20+ kts is either being sailed way beyond its rating, or pounding on a J/80 that isn't well-sailed.  (I've been doing a steady 11-12 knots with lots of fun surfing and have been passed by a J/80 throwing a roostertail in mid-20's winds... not an excuse, just reality... and when we murder that boat going upwind it's just because of the displacement hull design, not because we're sailing better).  ORC gives the handicap system a better chance of being in the ballpark.  

ORR-EZ is a good system too as it's ORC-lite, and it's around as cheap as PHRF, and usually gives the *very casual* racer a nice way to get into handicap racing without $400 in loft time.  While some of them scare the bejeezus out of me on a crowded start box, I love to death the guys coming out in a Bavaria 38 and going at it.  Per a short distance race pickle dish winner a couple years ago - "we didn't even remove the china or the silverware, because the race rules told us not to."  I fuckin' love that guy.  Seriously, I hugged him when he said that.  The handle of rum I'd drunk a third of may have had something to do with it, but that's the spirit and that's how you get people to race a few times a year, and maybe think about jumping on a serious boat, or racing on J/22s or Harbor 20's or something OD when they aren't rolling out the family truckster for a Memorial Day destination race.   And just between us girls, our next boat is going to be a cruiser/racer, instead of a racer/cruiser, and it's probably going to be a weekend weapon rather than a Wednesdays plus weekend weapon.  There is a lot to be said for not taking it too seriously as the knees grow creaky, the back aches, and one starts craving fresh enchiladas for the midnight meal rather than defrosted.

That said, I'll stand by the contention that if it ain't OD, it ain't serious racing until you get into some serious long distance, multi-day races where the varying design choices average themselves out due to variable conditions.   There are challenges other than boat design and the handicap system in those races though, and we don't all have to do the identical things all the time.  That's one nice thing about sailing.  

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In the Vancouver area there's been a gradual change over to ORC from PHRF. I'm not an expert by any means because I have a 5ksb that rates 200 PHRF but:

Division 1 and 2 (PHRF 0-100ish) have been changed over to ORC and split into <600 GPH and 600-640 GPH Divisions. Division 3 and 7 (why we skip 4,5,6 I don't know) are 100-173 and 174-275).

Most SIs and NORs allow Div 3 and 7 boats holding an ORC cert to race in Div 2. Nobody elects to do this, especially for distance races, because there's no way to finish the race in the time limit sailing the long courses the Div 1 and 2 boats do.

A couple Div 2 boats were sold or haven't raced since the ORC change and others continued to perform as they did before. They would clean up under PHRF but couldn't make a podium under ORC. Seemed to me the boats that were cleaning up in PHRF were correcting over many boats quite often or their leads were extending when they took line honours. Sat down with sailwave one afternoon with old results and under ORC the well-sailed boats that were winning continued to place more/less the same but the ones with massive corrections were much more 'in the fray'.

I'm new to the scene here so someone that's been around for a while will probably correct 50% of what I said but it's how it appears to me.

 

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All the BS about a "Measurement-based system" being the "sine qua non" is just that...BS. History is littered with measurement-based systems. Remember IOR? IMS?

So let's all be honest and recognize that THERE IS NO PERFECT HANDICAPPING SYSTEM! Not ORR. Not ORC. Not PHRF either. 

Is one superior to the other? Recently I did an analysis of ratings of almost 50 boats in our region (Pacific Northwest) that had both PHRF and ORC certificates and plotted the ORC rating against the PHRF rating. The PHRF ratings of these boats ranged between -100 and +150. The result was a straight line and the correlation coefficient (R-squared) were excellent (0.98). This was true when comparing the ORC values for GPH, Offshore and W/L against PHRF.

I also did a analysis of races in our region from over a 3 year period comparing results using ORC and PHRF ratings. With occasional, and relatively minor changes (like the swap of a place...like 3rd and 4th between two boats) the results were identical.

So, I pose this question for discussion: Is a purely measurement-based system (like ORC) really vastly superior to PHRF? 

ORC will be better initially with unique designs that PHRF has no experience with, but the flexibility of PHRF allows that system to dial in on a fair handicap relatively quickly.

For the average racer (ie, non Grand Prix) PHRF is easier to deal with. Less expensive. Less hassle. The ability to appeal a rating (ever try to appeal an ORC rating?)

So, again, let's be honest. There is no perfect handicapping system. In my view the only perfect way to race is one-design. As regards handicapping systems maybe it's time to quit the belly-aching about how bad PHRF is and get out on the water and sail our boats. 

And for all of you that think because there are measurements taken and rigid formulas used to come up with a number that a handicap is necessarily more accurate...well go ahead and go down that road and have fun racing, too. Just don't look down your noses at those who choose PHRF as the way to enjoy handicap racing.

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ORC was adopted/imposed here in cape town, south africa, a few years ago in an attempt to lose the bar bitching about the local PHRF system.
IRC was used in a very limited extent only by the hardcore racers.

ORC was initially skeptically received due to the multiple handicap numbers available, occasionally poorly applied by the race committee, but all in all it seems to be going better due to the results appearing to be more "fair".

it has evened out the fleets, some previously inexplicably successful boats are now having to scrap for their positions, and as mentioned by the OP, there are always the hardcore gang tweaking test certificates for every combination of sails / crew weight etc tuned for particular seasonal weather...

on the up side, it has quietened down the moaning about apparently subjective PHRF ratings.
on the down side, try to get the beer race fleet to keep their ORC certificates current will remain an issue, given the worthlessness of our currency

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10 minutes ago, dlynch said:

All the BS about a "Measurement-based system" being the "sine qua non" is just that...BS. History is littered with measurement-based systems. Remember IOR? IMS?

So let's all be honest and recognize that THERE IS NO PERFECT HANDICAPPING SYSTEM! Not ORR. Not ORC. Not PHRF either. 

Is one superior to the other? Recently I did an analysis of ratings of almost 50 boats in our region (Pacific Northwest) that had both PHRF and ORC certificates and plotted the ORC rating against the PHRF rating. The PHRF ratings of these boats ranged between -100 and +150. The result was a straight line and the correlation coefficient (R-squared) were excellent (0.98). This was true when comparing the ORC values for GPH, Offshore and W/L against PHRF.

I also did a analysis of races in our region from over a 3 year period comparing results using ORC and PHRF ratings. With occasional, and relatively minor changes (like the swap of a place...like 3rd and 4th between two boats) the results were identical.

So, I pose this question for discussion: Is a purely measurement-based system (like ORC) really vastly superior to PHRF? 

ORC will be better initially with unique designs that PHRF has no experience with, but the flexibility of PHRF allows that system to dial in on a fair handicap relatively quickly.

For the average racer (ie, non Grand Prix) PHRF is easier to deal with. Less expensive. Less hassle. The ability to appeal a rating (ever try to appeal an ORC rating?)

So, again, let's be honest. There is no perfect handicapping system. In my view the only perfect way to race is one-design. As regards handicapping systems maybe it's time to quit the belly-aching about how bad PHRF is and get out on the water and sail our boats. 

And for all of you that think because there are measurements taken and rigid formulas used to come up with a number that a handicap is necessarily more accurate...well go ahead and go down that road and have fun racing, too. Just don't look down your noses at those who choose PHRF as the way to enjoy handicap racing.

+1    even if we do not have PHRF over here....

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3 hours ago, Frogman56 said:

Furko referenced the infamous Italian orc cheater with disguised internal water tanks and some other nonsense, with the owners and affiliates copping long bans for their efforts.

well, actually - that's not the first problem that came to my mind....rather what european bloke was pointing out. 

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No handicap system for sailboat racing will ever, ever be accurate, be it based on observed performance or measurements, until it factors in the thickness of the owner's wallet. Period.

 

Same goes with one-design, so stop the "one design is where it's at" nonsense. It's not one-design if one guy has a net worth of $500,000 and one guy has a net worth of $5,000,000. Those two guys might be racing the same boats, but the guy with the extra zero is going to win more often than not. Just look at the J/70 class. Or the Melges 24 class before. Or the J/22-24-35-44-80-88-92-105-109-111-122 classes, which all sported one-design fleets, for a while. Same song, different number, and the fat checkbooks dominate every time.

 

In the US, for handicapping dissimilar boats, the last next great thing was IRC, which is now dead in the States. Before that it was IMS. Before that it was IOR. What makes anyone think that ORC will be any different?

 

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27 minutes ago, sailforbeer said:

Same goes with one-design, so stop the "one design is where it's at" nonsense. It's not one-design if one guy has a net worth of $500,000 and one guy has a net worth of $5,000,000. Those two guys might be racing the same boats, but the guy with the extra zero is going to win more often than not. Just look at the J/70 class. Or the Melges 24 class before. Or the J/22-24-35-44-80-88-92-105-109-111-122 classes, which all sported one-design fleets, for a while. Same song, different number, and the fat checkbooks dominate every time.

The amount of money being spent in the J/70 class is truly eye watering

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PHRF is not as "arbitrary" as one might think the data shows good boats finish well regardless of the rating rule. The problem with PHRF other than your mate's on the PHRF board is "gaming the system" to get a boat that has a "favorable" rating for the local conditions. For example, The Schock 35 and Santana 35. As good as both boats are, here in SoCal the Schock is the way to go less than 12 knots 70-80% of the time. If I'm in the bay area? I'd take the Santana any day 20 knots 70-80% of the time and the Schock will fall over up there... 

Both OOR, ORC and OOR-EZ solve the "gaming" problem. The trouble with OOR and ORC is the requirement to weigh the boats that cost $$$ just to get a certificate chases away the budget punter who want to have some fun with his boat.

OOR-EZ seems to solve this problem as it does allow "declared" inputs based on existing data.

I'd be up for OOR-EZ you need to get CRA (in SD) to make the change to make it stick...   

 

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If we think its difficult for an RC to run PHRF TOT (vs straight TOD), how do you expect a pickup RC to run ORC with all the multi variables in a given race?

"...ORC ratings are calculated for different courses and wind speeds, making results closer and more accurate (unlike PHRF)"

 

And OD is not the great saviuor: Harbor20 and J24 with keels needing to be relocated and straightened to be competive. The fastest M24s have always been those that have had 'accidents' and had internal structural work. J70s with tens of thousands of dollars of bottom work, for boats allowing only superficial sanding. And don't get me started on FT10s. Etc. Etc. Etc.  Rotate boats and lets see how even OD is.......

 

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Getting rid of of the PHRF raring system, is not the issue, getting rid of the committee members who have been on some committee for a lifetime need to go. 

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56 minutes ago, DarkHorse said:

And OD is not the great saviuor: Harbor20 and J24 with keels needing to be relocated and straightened to be competive. The fastest M24s have always been those that have had 'accidents' and had internal structural work. J70s with tens of thousands of dollars of bottom work, for boats allowing only superficial sanding. And don't get me started on FT10s. Etc. Etc. Etc.  Rotate boats and lets see how even OD is.......

 

It started much earlier. Even back in the nineties, you needed two hulls per season to stay competitive in the 420... 

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Handicap racing isn't real racing?  Please.  That's a crock of shit.  I have been in regattas where races are decided by seconds of corrected time.  At a regatta in February, in a mixed fleet of 11 older race boats, 4 boats won at least one race, 7 had podium finishes.  Several of our races had tighter boat for boat finishes than some of the OD classes.  

Regardless of class (OD or handicap) the best prepared boats and crews usually win.  In some classes that requires a decent chunk of change.  Others not so much.  I took a rating hit this season at my club.  I still won our series.  I have a Capri 25, so maintaining it is relatively cheap. But it still matters. The biggest problem with ANY sailboat racing is when someone who hasn't put the time or effort in thinks they should be winning.  It's a competition and participants should be aware that being successful in that competition requires preparation and work.  

PHRF allows the masses to race their boats and have their ratings (hopefully) not be the limiting barrier to entry.  But every club is different.  Some may have the resources to make the switch.  My club does not.  It would take a monumental effort to change handicap rules.  In the meantime we'll continue to do what we can to provide fun and fair racing to all boat owners and crews that want to participate.  Once we can actually congregate on shore again, let the rum flow and the stories spin.  Prepare your boat and crew.  Or don't.  But go out and have a good time regardless of the results.

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2 hours ago, climenuts said:

In the Vancouver area  ... Most SIs and NORs allow Div 3 and 7 boats holding an ORC cert to race in Div 2. Nobody elects to do this, especially for distance races, because there's no way to finish the race in the time limit sailing the long courses the Div 1 and 2 boats do.

That's not actually the case.

Div 2 was previously PHRF 60-99 (and indeed is still "also classed as PHRF 60-99"), but it's now officially ORC 600-640, with an additional fuzz-factor rule noting that "boats rating faster than ORC GPH 600 who also rate slower than or equal to PHRF-BC 60 may elect to race in Div 2."

Meanwhile Div 3 is PHRF-BC 100-173.

So any boat with an ORC cert that has a GPH of 640 or faster can race in Div 2. This would indeed allow several of the boats at the pointy end of the Div 3 fleet to make the jump if they desired (provided they got/renewed their ORC certs), but it doesn't allow any old boat with an ORC cert to race in Div 2 (at GPH 657.0 I can't race in Div 2 for example, and yes, I did ask nicely).

If there's ever going to be hope of having a third, slower-than-640 ORC division locally, we'll need a couple more of the mid-pack Div 3 boats to get measured in and create some traction. And we'd probably need to run it as a dual-scoring system under the existing PHRF Div 3 race structure for at least the foreseeable future -- otherwise we'd end up with two hopelessly small Div 3 fleets of 3-4 boats each.

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IIRC regions of New Zealand have (or at least had) a PHRF rating system, but the database for results was MASSIVE and the ratings would change very often in comparison to US PHRF values. I think the most accurate rating system is the one that adapts ratings to have fair racing in a timely manner.

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21 hours ago, JimBowie said:

Good luck getting some small club in the midwest on a lake to adopt ANYTHING but their age-old PHRF system.  I support the move to ORC, but seriously doubt most of the crusty crabs I compete with would go for it.  There are two versions of PHRF: time on distance (the most widely used system) and time on time.  The Time on Time is more scientific since it allows for several coefficients based upon wind strength.  Problem is ToT takes more math to compute the ToD.

My .02 worth

Agreed. Our club still won't give up MORC (or apparently their silver) to move to PHRF entirely. At this rate we'll invite you to our ORC worlds in 2120, but you'll be too busy since y'all are racing in between Pluto and Cerberus in light-sail powered spacecraft.

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20 minutes ago, krikkitman said:

That's not actually the case.

Div 2 was previously PHRF 60-99 (and indeed is still "also classed as PHRF 60-99"), but it's now officially ORC 600-640, with an additional fuzz-factor rule noting that "boats rating faster than ORC GPH 600 who also rate slower than or equal to PHRF-BC 60 may elect to race in Div 2."

Meanwhile Div 3 is PHRF-BC 100-173.

So any boat with an ORC cert that has a GPH of 640 or faster can race in Div 2. This would indeed allow several of the boats at the pointy end of the Div 3 fleet to make the jump if they desired (provided they got/renewed their ORC certs), but it doesn't allow any old boat with an ORC cert to race in Div 2 (at GPH 657.0 I can't race in Div 2 for example, and yes, I did ask nicely).

If there's ever going to be hope of having a third, slower-than-640 ORC division locally, we'll need a couple more of the mid-pack Div 3 boats to get measured in and create some traction. And we'd probably need to run it as a dual-scoring system under the existing PHRF Div 3 race structure for at least the foreseeable future -- otherwise we'd end up with two hopelessly small Div 3 fleets of 3-4 boats each.

Before I made that comment I tried to convert the 640 GPH into a PHRF rating and somehow got 280 PHRF and figured that made it for everyone...

Our friend on Salacious may be willing to get an ORC cert for it with enough convincing. Thoughts @Goatish?

Luckily the PHRF setup doesn't seem to be as contentious down at the bottom of the speed spectrum :)

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2 hours ago, Movable Ballast said:

PHRF is not as "arbitrary" as one might think the data shows good boats finish well regardless of the rating rule. The problem with PHRF other than your mate's on the PHRF board is "gaming the system" to get a boat that has a "favorable" rating for the local conditions. For example, The Schock 35 and Santana 35. As good as both boats are, here in SoCal the Schock is the way to go less than 12 knots 70-80% of the time. If I'm in the bay area? I'd take the Santana any day 20 knots 70-80% of the time and the Schock will fall over up there... 

Both OOR, ORC and OOR-EZ solve the "gaming" problem. The trouble with OOR and ORC is the requirement to weigh the boats that cost $$$ just to get a certificate chases away the budget punter who want to have some fun with his boat.

OOR-EZ seems to solve this problem as it does allow "declared" inputs based on existing data.

I'd be up for OOR-EZ you need to get CRA (in SD) to make the change to make it stick...   

 

Yes ORC does use the  weight of the boat as an input, but the vast majority of boats are not weighed with a scale.  Float measurements are taken at the stem and stern with the boat in the water and then the weight is calculated.  To do this ORC needs to have the computerized drawings of the hull which can be gotten for most boats.  For the OOR-EZ you don't even need to do that. 

I would be interested to know if anybody has physically weighed their boat in the last two years for ORC?

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17 hours ago, Salona said:

PHRF is fine... ORC is fine... ORR is fine... as long as class splits are narrow.  But no systemcan rate a melges 32 against an Alberg 30, and anyone selling that as a feature is a liar. 
 

My concern is that by splitting an already diminished fleet across three rating systems is only hurting racing.  

I've been told that rating bands (fleets) should be in within 30 sec/mile range. in a small area with small fleets this is difficult at best.

I think the best thing is having honest and knowledgeable people running the system and setting up the scoring.

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1 hour ago, climenuts said:

Before I made that comment I tried to convert the 640 GPH into a PHRF rating and somehow got 280 PHRF and figured that made it for everyone...

The approximate rule of thumb I found somewhere here on SA said "ORC GPH -- 530 = PHRF equivalent"

That was after I'd done a ridiculous amount of comparative math that showed pretty much exactly the same result.

I could probably send you the math if you want -- I think I still have it kicking around somewhere -- but I figure if simple subtraction gives pretty much exactly the same results, why not just use that?

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What about doing it like so much of our society has devolved to. Every boat get's a rating that the skipper self-identifies with. They then race under that rating. The podium now has equally high steps and is super wide to accommodate ll of the competitors. Every skipper self identifies with what place they earned and gets the according trophy. No more grousing. Except for the real top 3 in each category.

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PHRF can’t fail as there is nothing lower. Beercan races aren’t won by cheaters, but the race is on to condemn consistent winners who have the time on water and the mods allowed under the rule to sail area.
 

I did a turbo for PHRF and it won easily thanks to advice from a PHRF constant champ. 
 

No one is willing to spend the money on a rating their boats but they will bitch about the PHRF cheaters killing them. It never ends!

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Depends if PHRF is season long, with significant single events sharing the rating... Or a regatta where its estimated on day 1... People then sandbag a few races to get their handicaps down for the important races.

 

Problem with IRC is that because of cheating etc, some countries now insist on weighing every year, which is a lot of hassle and cost for boats and owners just to enter in an IRC division of PHRF series.... I'm sure then people change sails, and pole length after the cert :)

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6 hours ago, DarkHorse said:

If we think its difficult for an RC to run PHRF TOT (vs straight TOD), how do you expect a pickup RC to run ORC with all the multi variables in a given race?

"...ORC ratings are calculated for different courses and wind speeds, making results closer and more accurate (unlike PHRF)"

 

And OD is not the great saviuor: Harbor20 and J24 with keels needing to be relocated and straightened to be competive. The fastest M24s have always been those that have had 'accidents' and had internal structural work. J70s with tens of thousands of dollars of bottom work, for boats allowing only superficial sanding. And don't get me started on FT10s. Etc. Etc. Etc.  Rotate boats and lets see how even OD is.......

 

Why would you want an RC to run a ToT PHRF race when PHRF is a ToD formula?   One approximation multiplied by another approximation does not improve accuracy.

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48 minutes ago, Left Shift said:

Why would you want an RC to run a ToT PHRF race when PHRF is a ToD formula?   One approximation multiplied by another approximation does not improve accuracy.

Direct from the US PHRF Handbook:
"NRR will also encourage the switch from Time on Distance (ToD) to Time on Time (ToT). This departure from the traditional PHRF format will increase accuracy and fairness. When racing under ToD, the ratings stay the same as wind speed increases or decreases. Hence, when the wind drops, the fast boats always enjoy a rating advantage and conversely small boats enjoy a rating advantage when the wind builds.
It has been shown through analysis that a medium air strength derived ToT rating will produce accurate club level racing scoring in light air. That fact is what drives us to promote ToT NRR as the base format.
Another benefit to ToT scoring is the reduction of work for a race committee. There is no need to measure course distances to determine the corrected times. This further increases the accuracy of the ratings since there is no error when setting a course distance plus it makes putting on races easier."

See 
https://www.ussailing.org/competition/offshore/phrf/phrf-handicaps/

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15 minutes ago, krikkitman said:

Direct from the US PHRF Handbook:
"NRR will also encourage the switch from Time on Distance (ToD) to Time on Time (ToT). This departure from the traditional PHRF format will increase accuracy and fairness. When racing under ToD, the ratings stay the same as wind speed increases or decreases. Hence, when the wind drops, the fast boats always enjoy a rating advantage and conversely small boats enjoy a rating advantage when the wind builds.
It has been shown through analysis that a medium air strength derived ToT rating will produce accurate club level racing scoring in light air. That fact is what drives us to promote ToT NRR as the base format.
Another benefit to ToT scoring is the reduction of work for a race committee. There is no need to measure course distances to determine the corrected times. This further increases the accuracy of the ratings since there is no error when setting a course distance plus it makes putting on races easier."

See 
https://www.ussailing.org/competition/offshore/phrf/phrf-handicaps/

Yeah, I know all that.  It's been in PHRF handbooks for decades.  It got momentum going in the 70s and people still are pushing it.  ToT had one benefit.  The RC didn't have to know how long the course was, which is an irrelevant concern in the era of GPS.   It also tried to address light air sport boats clumsily.  But ToT has several huge flaws. 

1st is the math referred to in my post.  ToT is based on a middle of the fleet speed as it's conversion factor.  The further you get from the middle, the less accurate the conversion is.   For a minus rated boat, it becomes as distorted as tRump's world view.   Approximation (PHRF rating) x approximation (Time factor basis) = greater error.

2nd, it is a whole lot easier to make tactical decisions by estimating distance than by tracking time separations. 

3rd, if you hit a dead stop the clock keeps ticking and the time correction factors balloon.  

ToT is fine when you are sailing in moderate consistent breeze, but then, so is ToD.  

 

If PHRF really wanted to address the problem cited in its rationale, it would work to become a two or three number system as a ToD formula.   Instead they try to fake it with ToT.

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We use ToT almost exclusively for PHRF, and have for years. When I was recruited for our PHRF committee, I wanted to fix some things, and we did. Complaints dropped, appeals dropped. Most of the conflicts I dealt with came from folks with the biggest budgets who didn't think they were beating as many people as they deserved to beat. Joe and Jane public were happy that we could provide a provisional rating in days, so they could take the leap into racing.

Other issues can be addressed with class splits, for which we add displacement as part of the equation, but those are outside of the PHRF Committee.

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I can do this all day. Two or three number rating systems would kill every low-budget region. Our PHRF committee operates on zero budget, all volunteer, and we have great participation per-capita. Look at the population of western Vermont, upstate New York, and a slice of QC, and look at the registrants for one club:

https://lcyc.info/racing/registration

Cheers

PS, every PHRF region is different. Stop lumping them all together. Volunteer.

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26 minutes ago, Left Shift said:

If PHRF really wanted to address the problem cited in its rationale, it would work to become a two or three number system as a ToD formula.

All of which brings us back full circle to ORC . Sounds good to me.

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Any reputable PHRF administration doesn't allow for "gaming the system to get their friends a good rating." And if there is any hint of that it is not only incumbent on the Board of Directors (which is separate from the Handicapper's Council) to step in and deal with that. And even more importantly are the members, who all have the RIGHT and OBLIGATION to question the validity of any given boats handicap.

Go try and do that with ORC, or ORR, or IRC, or....

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8 hours ago, Roller Skates said:

Agreed. Our club still won't give up MORC (or apparently their silver) to move to PHRF entirely. At this rate we'll invite you to our ORC worlds in 2120, but you'll be too busy since y'all are racing in between Pluto and Cerberus in light-sail powered spacecraft.

I'm calling BS. ToT or ToD...all you really need is an Excel spreadsheet...neither one is difficult to figure results. 

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Some parts of this discussion seem weird, looking from the land of OZ:

1. Weighing a boat should only cost a few hundred bucks, provided not done one at a time.

2. ORC will always be more type forming than IRC

3. The total cost for an initial IRC rating, valid for many years but with annual reval, is not be more than around AUD 1k. For a 36 footer in club race mode...i.e. twilight plus weekend, kept on a marina, the owners annual costs are not much less than 25k.

Who would not pay a few percent per annum for a decent system?

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For Orr and orc to flourish, the rules must be used by the RCs properly.  It's more straightforward if you're doing WL, the conditions tend to be static for the majority of boats so the RC can pick a wind strength that hopefully satisfies the large bulk of the fleet.  Distance races are more tricky.  We recently had a 35 mile point to point race on the Chesapeake that was 32 miles dead downwind, and 3 miles with the TWA at about 115ish.  The RC used a coastal rating formulation that assumes all wind angles equally, because that's how they worded the SIs before the race.

Trouble is, some of the boats are very fast off wind relative to other wind angles compared to competitors, ie a Melges 32.  They beat the next boat on corrected time by 6 odd minutes.  The 3rd place boat was 8 mins behind the 2nd place boat on corrected.  I recomputed the standings using the downwind ratings from the certificates published on yachtscoring, and the results were very different, with the 1st place boat winning by 20secs, and the gap from 2nd to 3rd being 27secs.  The Melges32 moved to 6th place.

It's clear from using the downwind rating just how accurate ORC can be if used right.  Conditions across the Bay for the race were as consistent as I've seen for any point to point race in my 50+ years of racing, and there were very few tactical decisions to make.  If the RCs don't take the effort to use the correct rating numbers it's all junk anyway.

We had quite a bit of back and forth after the race with organizers, and hopefully we will get better implementation of the rule in future races.  If that doesn't change, I forsee ORC losing participants very soon.  My conversations with long-time Bay racers who I've raced with my whole life is they are right on the edge of bagging ORC unless this changes quickly.  Hopefully it does, because it has the potential to be way better than phrf, which is garbage.

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12 hours ago, robalex117 said:

Yes ORC does use the  weight of the boat as an input, but the vast majority of boats are not weighed with a scale.  Float measurements are taken at the stem and stern with the boat in the water and then the weight is calculated.  To do this ORC needs to have the computerized drawings of the hull which can be gotten for most boats.  For the OOR-EZ you don't even need to do that. 

I would be interested to know if anybody has physically weighed their boat in the last two years for ORC?

It's likely more accurate using the float measurements and hull lines than a scale on a lift to get the weight of a boat.  Calibration of a weight scale requires use of a lot of standard weights that have been verified to have any confidence, and that sure as hell is not likely to ever happen.

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6 minutes ago, Frogman56 said:

Oops bg, weighing should be done with certified cell, accurate and repeatable to 0.1%!

Ya but the cell should be calibrated for every measurement.  Who's gonna do that?  As an R&D engineer, I would not trust any black box measurement device without calibrating immediately before and after the measurement.  I've seen too many fuck ups in my career on such "wonderous" company-promised devices to ever trust them.

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?

10 boats to weigh, 10 cells needed?

But seriously, the tower and mobile crane guys rely day to day on this tech, of course there will be some fucups, but probably less than calculated disp. from in water measures?

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28 minutes ago, Frogman56 said:

?

10 boats to weigh, 10 cells needed?

But seriously, the tower and mobile crane guys rely day to day on this tech, of course there will be some fucups, but probably less than calculated disp. from in water measures?

I would trust that the hull lines are more accurate than any load cell from my experience.  Sample the water to get density, use a tape measure and you're done.  I'd bet within a few pounds using that method.  At 62 to 64 pounds per cubic feet of water, what's the most you'll be off by? 15 pounds probably.  Fuck load more accurate than some load cell.

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