PHRF as a Handicap vs a Rating...

LionessRacing

Super Anarchist
4,346
583
Myrtle Beach,
Local sailing association will be having it's skippers organizational meeting Saturday, and I am told that they use PHRF ratings as essentially a handicap. You win too often and your rating will be adjusted. As this is for fun and a reason to get out, I'm not worried about the scoring, as long as we sail well. As it's the only racing in the area we'll participate and have a good time doing it. 

Question:

Anyone have a system that they've experienced that is used for this that would be consistent and "objective" to avoid personalities entering into the numbers? 

E.G. something like if your corrected time is less than the top 20% of the fleet you subsequently get a handicap adjustment to reduce the difference by 50%? Overtime that should level out the well sailed/prepared boats while leaving the less competitive ones alone? Optionally you can take the bottom 20% and modulate their ratings towards the middle as well. 

 

dacapo

Super Anarchist
13,458
1,474
NY
Golf Handicapping for PHRF by John Collins:

PHRF obviously works best when there is a small handicap range in each class. That is fine if you have many boats. If, however, you have few boats with sailors of wide ranging abilities and boats with a wide range of speeds, the racing will be dominated by one or two boats. This leads to unhappiness. A possible remedy, at the local club level, is to institute golf handicapping. PHRF golf handicapping works just the way that golf handicapping works. The PHRF handicap is adjusted after each race, or regatta, based on the race performance. This should only be attempted in small fleets. It should not be used for large regattas or for large fleets sailing in several areas. The way it works is to pick a reference boat, say the boat that corrected out 40 percent of the way down the fleet. Then figure out the seconds per mile that the other boats either beat or lost to this boat. Take a small fraction of this delta, say 10 percent, and lower the faster boat’s handicaps by this amount and raise the slower boats. By taking a small percentage you do not make radical changes to a boat’s handicap. If the boat corrected significantly faster or slower than the reference boat, say by 50 seconds per mile, do nothing with these boats. There has to be a reason for this large delta like luck, or bad luck. You don’t want to contaminate your adjustments with such races. The golf handicap scheme is very simple to apply, at the local level. It can help a small fleet Over time it will tend to even things out. It will still allow the good guy to win overall. - See more at: http://www.ussailing.org/racing/offshore-big-boats/phrf/golf-handicaps/#sthash.v2Yq8etO.dpuf

 

Brass

Super Anarchist
2,752
169
There are two Australian proprietary systems available that do performance based, rolling average handicaps, which we call Performance Handicapping Systems (PHS)

https://www.sailsys.com.au/

and

https://topyacht.com.au/web/

If you don't want to shell out, Rolling Average PHS is pretty easy to do on a spreadsheet. I can send you details if you want.

Alternatively, you can use 'picnic' minute handicapping:

  1. give each boat a handicap in minutes (which you can calculate from your TOD PHRF and the race length)
  2. for each race, 1st place has 3 minutes added to her handicap, 2nd place has 2 minutes added to her handicap, and 3rd place has one minute added to her handicap (for extra elaboration, particularly if you have a fleet with numerous boats that don't sail well to their PHRF, last place can have 3 minutes subtracted from her handicap, second last 2 minutes, and third last 1 minute.
  3. You can give a booby prize like a bottle of club champagne to the last boat in each race, to soften the blow.
  4. It needs to be understood that this system is for fun and is intended to  distribute the prizes, not to reflect how well sailed or prepared boats are.


 

LionessRacing

Super Anarchist
4,346
583
Myrtle Beach,
Thanks for the suggestions, if you feel comfortable sharing that it would save me some work, and being able to say this is a system used in Oz may make it more palatable. (I'm trying to avoid becoming the race committee at my first meeting, have had the "Give it to the New guy" happen 2x before...) 

 The consensus seems to be to only adjust the "normal" not the extreme performances, and to do so in a damped manner to not totally negate good sailing, or to disregard poor. An Extreme performance being that which is perhaps the 50 sec/ mile above from the median ?The goal is to reduce the ongoing differences, and require the good sailor to be consistently good to win.  

Viewed statistically we would be reducing the sigma of the corrected times, over a long time period, essentially calibrating out some percentage of the consistent differences. 

 

sailorman44

Member
281
71
CT/FL
The Off Soundings Club adjusts PHRF handicap ratings. Called the Burden of Winning, the first three finishers of a class in a series are assessed a 15%, 10% and 5% adjustment to their time correction factor. The penalty is worked off 5% per year the following years but are cumulative, ie you win get, a 15% penalty, next year you finish second, get an additional 10% penalty but have worked off 5% so end up with a 20% penalty. There are boats winning with a 25% penalty. Just goes to show that a very good sailor will always beat a pretty good sailor.

 

El Borracho

Sam’s friend
6,445
2,459
Pacific Rim
We did a fun handicap race once. Added one rule: Gave the boats a sealed envelope containing one additional secret rule to be opened and read at exactly a mid-afternoon given time. The rule said "Turn around now. Retrace the course back to the start line." The fast well sailed boats get hammered. Can only do that trick once a decade or so...

 

JohnMB

Super Anarchist
2,796
577
Evanston
Senator Seditious Maximus said:
The handicapped PHRF system has an official name: Participation Trophy
...and is probably therefore a useful tool to incentivize participation....

I sailed at one club where each race was scored with both the 'golf' handicap and with Portsmouth yardstick (yes it was a dinghy club).

 

ryley

Super Anarchist
5,460
638
Boston, MA
The Off Soundings Club adjusts PHRF handicap ratings. Called the Burden of Winning, the first three finishers of a class in a series are assessed a 15%, 10% and 5% adjustment to their time correction factor. The penalty is worked off 5% per year the following years but are cumulative, ie you win get, a 15% penalty, next year you finish second, get an additional 10% penalty but have worked off 5% so end up with a 20% penalty. There are boats winning with a 25% penalty. Just goes to show that a very good sailor will always beat a pretty good sailor.
yes but the BoW doesn't apply to the perpetuals - those are straight up PHRF. And Ed Purcell used to win with a 45% penalty, which proves your point ;)  

 

Parma

Super Anarchist
2,977
394
here
I did the math once and concluded that a really well sailed (we're talking top level AC, Olympic & Int'l professional competitors using state of the art instrumentation & calculation) in the best prepared, most premium optimized boat has a 20 second advantage over the average sailed & prepped boat of the same type.

What's a board to do? Golf handicap or not? It really came down to a question of participation vs "fairness", cash & time vs. fun & being careful not to turn PH into a measurement rule.

Lots of issues, but lots of solutuions too.

 

silent bob

Super Anarchist
8,611
1,227
New Jersey
So, the guy that prepares his boat, gets fresh sails, and sails well, gets punished.  The guy that doesn’t prepare his boat, has blown out sails, and sails poorly, gets credit.  Sounds like the Democratic Party!  Steal from the rich and give to the poor!  

 

ryley

Super Anarchist
5,460
638
Boston, MA
I did the math once and concluded that a really well sailed (we're talking top level AC, Olympic & Int'l professional competitors using state of the art instrumentation & calculation) in the best prepared, most premium optimized boat has a 20 second advantage over the average sailed & prepped boat of the same type.

What's a board to do? Golf handicap or not? It really came down to a question of participation vs "fairness", cash & time vs. fun & being careful not to turn PH into a measurement rule.

Lots of issues, but lots of solutuions too.
it all depends on the goal of the racing. Wed. Night racing in marblehead has golf handicaps and people are rushing out of work to get there on time. Thursday nights in Beverly don't golf handicap and people are rushing out of work to get there on time. But the vibe on the two nights is very different, with the Wed night entirely non-spin.

 

Parma

Super Anarchist
2,977
394
here
So, the guy that prepares his boat, gets fresh sails, and sails well, gets punished.  The guy that doesn’t prepare his boat, has blown out sails, and sails poorly, gets credit.  Sounds like the Democratic Party!  Steal from the rich and give to the poor!  
I once had a guy call me and say “Lookit, I just spent over $1 million on my boat and have paid professionals aboard so I expect a fair rating” which I took to mean that if he didn’t win the rating was probably not fair.

What do you do?

Later I had a guy call me and say “Lookit, me and my friends are all in our 80s and we just want to sail together one more time before we die. (Yes he really said that) The boat has 2 kayaks, one dinghy on davits, solar panels, a magma and smaller sails so we can handle it. Can you rate us semi-fairly?”

What do you do?

 

El Borracho

Sam’s friend
6,445
2,459
Pacific Rim
In PHRF the fun must be on the water. Bring a great fun crew, the best sandwiches, a great attitude, do the best you can, bring cheer to the clubhouse, and applaud the winners. 

 

Bump-n-Grind

Get off my lawn.
14,415
3,232
Chesapeake Bay/Vail
We did a fun handicap race once. Added one rule: Gave the boats a sealed envelope containing one additional secret rule to be opened and read at exactly a mid-afternoon given time. The rule said "Turn around now. Retrace the course back to the start line." The fast well sailed boats get hammered. Can only do that trick once a decade or so...
that almost has the effect of turning it into a pursuit race.. I like it... 

I think pursuit races are fun. Particularly if you're bringing some newbs out on the boat. Somebody that doesn't really know much about the boats that race is gonna get an endorphin buzz every time you pass someone... The Boatyard CRAB regatta in Annapolis is a very popular race. I've entered it almost every year since inception. I do it 1H sometimes but usually try to fill my boat up with friends that don't sail. I think there's a higher number of repeat customers from those pursuit races than others...

YMMV

 

SailingTips.Ca

Feigns Knowledge
773
328
Victoria, BC
Local sailing association will be having it's skippers organizational meeting Saturday, and I am told that they use PHRF ratings as essentially a handicap. You win too often and your rating will be adjusted. As this is for fun and a reason to get out, I'm not worried about the scoring, as long as we sail well. As it's the only racing in the area we'll participate and have a good time doing it. 

Question:

Anyone have a system that they've experienced that is used for this that would be consistent and "objective" to avoid personalities entering into the numbers? 

E.G. something like if your corrected time is less than the top 20% of the fleet you subsequently get a handicap adjustment to reduce the difference by 50%? Overtime that should level out the well sailed/prepared boats while leaving the less competitive ones alone? Optionally you can take the bottom 20% and modulate their ratings towards the middle as well. 
My sailing club quite successfully used a club rating system based on PHRF which was the average of:

  1. Actual PHRF rating
  2. Observed BCR for the past six months i.e. PHRF rating the boat would have needed to tie for first place
  3. Observed BCR2 for the past six months i.e. PHRF rating the boat would have needed to tie for second place

Each boat's club rating was re-calculated twice per year, but you could also use a sliding window.

The system was very successful, but works best when there is consistent participation of the majority of the fleet.

We have since switched to a pursuit format for weekly races, which has proven very popular and is easier to administer, but if we ever went back to a common start I would seriously consider using the same club rating system again.  

Edit: Credit to @Airwick for coming up with the club rating system above.

 
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Delta Dog

Member
363
17
Nor Cal
The Off Soundings Club adjusts PHRF handicap ratings. Called the Burden of Winning, the first three finishers of a class in a series are assessed a 15%, 10% and 5% adjustment to their time correction factor. The penalty is worked off 5% per year the following years but are cumulative, ie you win get, a 15% penalty, next year you finish second, get an additional 10% penalty but have worked off 5% so end up with a 20% penalty. There are boats winning with a 25% penalty. Just goes to show that a very good sailor will always beat a pretty good sailor.
I've listened to PHRF bashing for years but always encourge those who complain at a 6 sec / mile PHRF adjustment to look at the time spreads in many 1 design fleets.   If you simple take SF Bay fleets like J-105 or Express 27, the top boats will beat the tail enders by 30 sec to 1 minute per mile.   The best sailors win most of the time and typically by margins that would have PHRF boats screaming for rating adjustments.

Beyond the very top levels of the sport, rating just don't have that much to do with who wins and who doesn't.   Sailing well on the other hand...

 

Meat Wad

Super Anarchist
Sail your boat as fast as possible over the shortest distance possible and you will win every time.

In PHRF you are racing the Clock, even though there are other boats out there. Given a certain distance you are given an offset. The boats that sails in less time than the offset usually wins.

 

Rambler

Super Anarchist
1,043
636
East Coast OZ
As noted above, PHS systems (As opposed to PHRF) are commonly used in Australia.

However, they are almost always used in conjunction with what is often called "championship" races, based strictly on ratings (or over the line if its a one design race).

At the end of the season there will be a trophy for each tally, with the championship one recognised as more noteworthy.

Often not all races are Championhips, maybe one in three. And championship races also usually have a PHS calculation in conjunction with them.

And yes, some people dismiss PHS as just a trophy for turning up (because that's often how you win it). But the majority like it.

 
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