Attention PHRF fleets, US Sailing is here to help you

Published on March 20th, 2014

During the 2014 Sailing Leadership Forum on February 6-8, there was a session titled ‘Success with PHRF: Growing your Fleet’. During the presentation, members of the audience would describe a problem occurring in their local PHRF fleet. Invariably, the solution referred to an existing US Sailing service.

“One of our goals,” commented presenter and US Sailing board member Dave Ullman, “is to do a better job at communicating what US Sailing can do for the local PHRF fleets. US Sailing has the ability to absorb an enormous amount of the pressure and problems that local fleets face.”

Scuttlebutt reached out to US Sailing Offshore Director Dan Nowlan, who provided the following list of what the Offshore office currently does in support of the PHRF fleets.

On-line PHRF Certificate Processing –
US Sailing has developed the capability to provide on-line PHRF certificate processing. This service includes initial registration and handicap issuance, certificate renewal, handicap adjustment for configuration change and data storage. All PHRF certificate transactions can take place using this system.

How does this work? US Sailing will host and maintain the fleet’s database. As part of this service, we collect certificate fees and make quarterly payments to the fleet for funds collected on their behalf.

For fleet members we provide the capability of on-line certificate processing. That means they will be able to renew on-line, make changes to existing certificates and to submit the input data required for the handicapping of new boats. Finalized certificates are issued electronically once payment has been received.

The fleet retains control of establishing handicaps and handicap appeals.

To cover our internal costs we ask that each certificate holder and the fleet be current members of US Sailing. There are no other costs associated for this basic service.

Should a fleet be interested in additional services like handicapping advice, we would be happy to discuss that.

Currently two fleets have signed up for this service; PHRF Mid-Atlantic and PHRF of Hawaii. Mid Atlantic uses the basic service and the Hawaii fleet has asked us to also be responsible for issuing handicaps and hearing appeals.

Summary of Handicaps used by fleets –
Annually we collect from the fleets the handicaps that are using for standard production boats and produce print copied that we send to the fleets for use by their handicappers and put on-line for US Sailing members. Click here for the monohulls section. There is also a multihull section. Access to both sections are available on-line at

National Appeals –
For member fleets we offer a national appeals process. After a certificate holder has exhausted the local appeal route, he or she may file an appeal with the US Sailing PHRF committee. A panel of senior handicappers from major fleets hears those appeals. Should they over turn the local ruling, the fleets agree to honor that change for two years.

Technical Studies –
Several fleets have hired us (at a modest cost) to use ORR technology to provide guidance on issues facing their fleets. Here is a list of the more recent studies:
– Non-spinnaker vs. spinnaker handicaps
– The impact of fixed propellers
– Keel draft study
– Impact on handicap of modern asymmetric spinnakers vs. symmetric (just started this one for PHRF New England and Lake Michigan)

Handicap Guidance for New Designs –

Use ORR technology to compare with existing boats of similar performance characteristics.

Provided ORR certificates when requested –
– Some fleets use ORR ratings as an input to their handicap decision making process
– Some racers use those ratings to support appeals arguments.

Click here for the Offshore section of the US Sailing website.

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