PHRF is not run by self-interested clowns

ryley

Super Anarchist
5,459
638
Boston, MA
When PHRF NORCAL states that they don't have any means to suggest such an adjustment, but PHRF NE uses 15 sec for lack of any other does that make sense? 

It's supposed to be fun. 
PHRF NORCAL could easily incorporate the same non-spinnaker adjustments that PHRF-NE uses - they're not secret, in fact they are in this document right here: http://www.phrfne.org/uploaded_files/handicap_adjustments_nov_3_changes.pdf - essentially the amount of adjustment is based on the type of rig you have. it's not rocket surgery.

 

Curious

Anarchist
798
383
SoCal has done this for decades.  It is called ORCA (Offshore Racing Catamaran Association.  It does include trimarans despite the outdated acronym).

I believe NorCal has the same with BAMA (Bay Area Multihull Association).

Many PHRF regattas include a start for ORCA.  Except for dwindling participation, a widespread problem it seems, ORCA has done well in SoCal.  As with any other committee that has operated for decades, one can't please everyone.  But, ORCA has a long history of participation in well known regattas including the N2E.  
Yep, and Florida has the same setup as well. Areas like that seem to get more multis than the ones where people just complain because they can't race a Farrier against a J/30. The thing is that there's no evidence that PHRF hates multis.

 

Alex W

Super Anarchist
3,321
310
Seattle, WA
When a local club decides to just toss the non spinnaker boat (me) into a spinnaker class with no rating adjustment is that reasonable? 
If your standard rating is without a spinnaker then there shouldn't be any adjustment if you are put into a class with spinnakers.  Rating shouldn't change based on what class you are placed in, just based on what configuration you are sailing the boat in.  It sounds like the alternative would be to have you race in a class by yourself, which isn't very fun.

Is PHRF-NW they give boats two ratings, FS and NFS.  If you never carry a spinnaker then I think you'd only get the NFS rating.

Racing NFS against FS boats certainly isn't as much fun, especially if it is a one way downwind race.

 

LionessRacing

Super Anarchist
4,346
582
Myrtle Beach,
We race non Spinnaker except for the annual Octoberfest FUN race where we use ALL of the halyards on ALL of the masts  to get extra "rating" credit for most sails flown concurrently, otherwise takes too many crew to be worthwhile. (Other rating credits for that one include Lederhosen, dirndls, gratuitous flashing etc. )

I know about the 15 sec  "cruising credit",  because I used to race out of Portsmouth, NH and did the Monhegan, Corinthian 200, Figawi, PHRF NE's etc. That being said, PHRF NORCAL states that they don't think its feasible to combine w/ & w/o and they are the local governing body who set the ratings etc.

As an aside: we will be experimenting, and if successful will be changing our rating to shove the 1962 spinnaker pole 5' out in front as a sprit, and take 3x 10% of J penalty for an over-length pole on a non spinnaker boat, and fly the ancient 180% light genoa as our downwind/Code Zero equivalent. Previewed that with the committee, and had a positive determination on the rating impact...  I suspect that there's a few members who have a sense of humor. 

We raced off Berkeley pier 12/1 and with only 155% Genoa, Main and Mizzen beat everyone out there on a W/L except the Melges 24 under PHRF TOT.  (Nailing the start, and getting the 20 Degree Right hand shift to being nearly able to lay the rhumbline with 15 kts TWS helped a lot.) 

But as you will notice we are a fleet of 1, so we were also concurrently DFL, and having FUN while we do it. 

 
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Rantifarian

Rantifarian
There certainly is self interest among PHRF committees. Just look at the number of sail makers, boat builders, boat designers, and other sailing industry figures that serve on PHRF committees. Then there are the long  serving members, on the handicappers committee for 25-30 years. Some are no longer active racers They are the ones who control the committee, keeping new blood out. Ever wonder why PHRF hates sport boats, multi hulls?
 
Who else is more qualified to handicap boats than designers, builders and sail makers? Their lives revolve around boats, they see more and in more detail than any owner.

 
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ryley

Super Anarchist
5,459
638
Boston, MA
There certainly is self interest among PHRF committees. Just look at the number of sail makers, boat builders, boat designers, and other sailing industry figures that serve on PHRF committees. Then there are the long  serving members, on the handicappers committee for 25-30 years. Some are no longer active racers
To be fair, I think any rating system needs sailmakers, boat builders, and designers on the committees - they do have the knowledge of what makes a boat fast and ostensibly know how to rate one against another. But your other point about transparency and inner circles is also I think valid, although your ECSA argument is less so. Compared to other areas, like PHRF-NE, ECSA is an open book. At least they have open meetings, even if they're hard to find. Ask me some time what happened when a fleet captain representing his yacht club (since no one else was available) attended a PHRF-NE meeting. You'd think Putin himself was sitting with the Joint Chiefs.

 

sailorman44

Member
281
71
CT/FL
The best remedy if you are unhappy with the way PHRF is run, in your neighborhood, is to volunteer for the committee which runs it.

FB- Doug
That sounds like a reasonable thing to do until you really examine what is actually involved.

 
Look at the by-laws of your handicap committee. You will find that new members to the committee are elected to the committee by the existing committee members. Now look at how many members of the committee have been on the committee for more than 10 years. These are the people who run the committee and you can be sure that they are very careful about who they let in. They certainly don't want someone who is proactive and might the rock the boat.
 
Volunteer for the handicap committee and you will probably get "thanks but no thanks".
 

sailorman44

Member
281
71
CT/FL
Who else is more qualified to handicap boats than designers, builders and sail makers? Their lives revolve around boats, they see more and in more detail than any owner.
Yes boat designers and sail makers do have a professional understanding of the technical issues of boat performance and I certainly consult with my sail maker when I think about making a change on my boat. The question is,when they are on a handicap committee, how objective are they? 

 
Sail makers  make a living selling sails. I once had a sail maker handicapper tell me that there was nothing wrong with my rating that new sails wouldn't fix(my sails were excellent). Go back and look at the Western Long Island Sound PHRF thread from a couple of years ago. One of the big complaints was a sail maker on the handicap committee who was thought to be helping out his customers with their handicap reviews.


 


 
Some years ago, Larry White, the long time Coast Guard Academy sailing coach  was writing a sailing column in the local paper. One of his columns was about the local handicap committee trying to rate a newly introduced production boat. The boat designer was on the handicap committee. Speed  trials were run using an older boat from the same designer. The older boat was a very popular model, very fast and very well sailed. The older boat was found to be slightly faster upwind and the new boat faster down wind. When the handicap committee issued the certificate the new boat was rated 99. The older boat rated 72. I don't know if the boat designer recused himself from the vote but I'll bet he had a lot of input into the discussion.
 

Steam Flyer

Sophisticated Yet Humble
42,535
8,710
Eastern NC
That sounds like a reasonable thing to do until you really examine what is actually involved.

 
Look at the by-laws of your handicap committee. You will find that new members to the committee are elected to the committee by the existing committee members. Now look at how many members of the committee have been on the committee for more than 10 years. These are the people who run the committee and you can be sure that they are very careful about who they let in. They certainly don't want someone who is proactive and might the rock the boat.
 
Volunteer for the handicap committee and you will probably get "thanks but no thanks".


Not all regions have the same rules. Most of the ones I've been active in are elected but nobody ever volunteers; so anybody who wants to can get selected.

And if it a closed loop, good-old-boy club, just be nice and see how it goes. Doesn't hurt to try.

FB- Doug

 

LionessRacing

Super Anarchist
4,346
582
Myrtle Beach,
If you can think of a more thankless inside, non physical job than serving on a committee for any aspect of a rich man's sport, let me know. 

If the committee did a perfect job of rating all the boats, for all the conditions, so that the only differences were: 

  • Boat preparation
  • Sail quality
  • Sailor quality
  • Skipper quality

They'd still be abused because those that didn't prepare and achieve parity would bitch. 

 

sailorman44

Member
281
71
CT/FL
To be fair, I think any rating system needs sailmakers, boat builders, and designers on the committees - they do have the knowledge of what makes a boat fast and ostensibly know how to rate one against another. But your other point about transparency and inner circles is also I think valid, although your ECSA argument is less so. Compared to other areas, like PHRF-NE, ECSA is an open book. At least they have open meetings, even if they're hard to find. Ask me some time what happened when a fleet captain representing his yacht club (since no one else was available) attended a PHRF-NE meeting. You'd think Putin himself was sitting with the Joint Chiefs.
PHRF must be fair and must be seen to be fair.

 Handicap committees don't do enough to let the member sailors know what they are doing on their behalf. I few terse lines on a web sight that nobody knows about doesn't do it. Like letting sailors know about changes to adjustment rules before retroactively springing it on them. Suddenly a sail that was legal last season and that you have been using for 6 years is no longer legal.
 
ECSA is one of the better handicap committees. They are active, they review the ratings on 20-25 boats each year, over and above the ones where a rating review is requested. The meetings are open. They report "Recent Council Actions" on the ECSA website.
 
That's not to say that that it couldn't be Improved. ECSA maintains a members email list. Send out the recent actions to the membership, let them know what you are doing. Let them know [SIZE=medium]about changes to the rating adjustment rules you are thinking about and why you think they are needed. Tell us what you are doing for us![/SIZE]
 
[SIZE=medium]The committee has brought in some new members, but mostly when someone dies or retires to Florida. Three quarters of the handicappers have been on the committee for more than ten years, some for more than thirty. Thank you for your service, it's time for new blood[/SIZE]
 
PHRF must be fair and must be seen to be fair.

 Handicap committees don't do enough to let the member sailors know what they are doing on their behalf. I few terse lines on a web sight that nobody knows about doesn't do it. Like letting sailors know about changes to adjustment rules before retroactively springing it on them. Suddenly a sail that was legal last season and that you have been using for 6 years is no longer legal.
 
ECSA is one of the better handicap committees. They are active, they review the ratings on 20-25 boats each year, over and above the ones where a rating review is requested. The meetings are open. They report "Recent Council Actions" on the ECSA website.
 
That's not to say that that it couldn't be Improved. ECSA maintains a members email list. Send out the recent actions to the membership, let them know what you are doing. Let them know [SIZE=medium]about changes to the rating adjustment rules you are thinking about and why you think they are needed. Tell us what you are doing for us![/SIZE]
 
[SIZE=medium]The committee has brought in some new members, but mostly when someone dies or retires to Florida. Three quarters of the handicappers have been on the committee for more than ten years, some for more than thirty. Thank you for your service, it's time for new blood[/SIZE]
Anyone on the board should have their rating locked for a period of time.before and after serving 

 

Joakim

Super Anarchist
1,441
87
Finland
Boats with identica LWL, beam, disp, sail area, etc etc will not necessarily be the same speed. a 36 point difference seems like a lot, but assume one is a early 1960s boat with a draggy keel-centerboard and a stumpy mast, the other a modern boat..... what would that mean?
36 point is only about 5% (depending on the actual rating). This kind of difference doesn't really need that radical differences in design. E.g. same sail area with a 150% genoa vs. a bit higher rig with just a 100% jib has a big effect. Actually that alone can cause about that much change. I just tested in a VPP putting a 9/10 rig and sails (102% jib) from a 1999 design to a boat from designed in 1981 with 7/8 and 150% genua. The change was 37 sec/M with a larger spinnaker and 32 sec/M with the original size spinnaker. The new rig had just slightly more sail area (22.4 m2 main + 16.7 m2 jib vs. 20.2 m2 main + 17.2 m2 genoa).

Add to that a bit more efficient appendages and small changes in hull form it's easy to get 36 sec/m differences and even more without any different in the listed parameters.

I have done a numerical fit to our local LYS rating system. It includes many more parameters (P, E, J, I, sail areas, LOA, LWL, disp, draft etc.). Still it doesn't explain the difference between say 80's design and a more more design or a difference between a cruiser and a cruiser/racer without adding some kind of a "hull factor" or a "design year". Using a desing year you need to adjust modern cruisers as much older than their real date or some desings like J/24 to much newer than their real data in order to get a good fit to actual LYS number.

bgytr told later that the boats had similar hull form etc. I'm just trying to make a point that it isn't easy to give a rating based on basic dimensions and the same basic dimensions doesn't have to mean the same rating.

 

Steam Flyer

Sophisticated Yet Humble
42,535
8,710
Eastern NC
PHRF must be fair and must be seen to be fair.

 Handicap committees don't do enough to let the member sailors know what they are doing on their behalf. ....    ...    ...
BINGO!!

The problem is that of course PHRF isn't fair. Such a simplistic rating system is going to favor some boats (especially in that boat's favored conditions) no matter what, and the better sailors with well-prepped boats are going to better. Sore losers are going to be sore, no matter what.

The fact that it's going downhill, seems to inicate to me that a more open, friendlier, more welcoming attitude ought to be the way forward; the strengths of PHRF can be emphasized instead of the sore-loser griping.

FB- Doug

 

port tack

Member
429
12
Gulf Coast
If you can think of a more thankless inside, non physical job than serving on a committee for any aspect of a rich man's sport, let me know. 

If the committee did a perfect job of rating all the boats, for all the conditions, so that the only differences were: 

  • Boat preparation
  • Sail quality
  • Sailor quality
  • Skipper quality

They'd still be abused because those that didn't prepare and achieve parity would bitch. 
So here is the problem, as seen above. 1.  Sailor Quality.   Joe Weds night can't understand why he gets beat by the guys and gals that travel and sail one design.  They figure its got to be the rating.  Tough Job, I help do it and I can't wait to get off of the committee.

 

sailorman44

Member
281
71
CT/FL
So here is the problem, as seen above. 1.  Sailor Quality.   Joe Weds night can't understand why he gets beat by the guys and gals that travel and sail one design.  They figure its got to be the rating.  Tough Job, I help do it and I can't wait to get off of the committee.
 
PHRF rates the boat NOT the sailor. PHRF assumes that all boats are well prepared and well sailed. So they say, however,
 
PHRF does take into consideration sailing ability, boat preparation and sail quality. The PHRF concept is based on observing  the relative performance of boats in the racing fleet and all these factors contribute to performance. The reality is that as ratings were developed they were based of the performance of winning boats not the mid fleet and tail end Charlies. So the criteria was set by the boats with the best sailors, the best sails,and the best preparation. If you want to win this is the level yon have to aspire to.
 
When a sailor goes before the handicap committee to protest his rating you better believe that the first thing the committee considers is his sailing ability, boat preparation, and sail inventory.
 
Sailing ability is by far the most important. [SIZE=medium]All other things being equal a really good sailor will always beat a pretty good sailor. All things are not always equal so the pretty good sailor wins once in a while. [/SIZE]
 
[SIZE=medium]Some have advocated a golf style handicap to level the playing field. Hard to do as the performance handicap has to be applied to a crew not an individual, and the makeup of the crew is always changing on most boats.[/SIZE]
 
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