PHRF Policies



(Revised 3/00)

The U.S. Performance Handicap Racing Fleet (PHRF) rating system is intended to provide equitable handicaps (ratings) for a wide variety of single hull cruising sailboats. Ratings are based on the speed potential of the boat, determined as far as possible on observation and analysis of previous racing experience, It is the objective of PHRF rating that any well configured, well equipped, well maintained and well sailed boat has a good chance of winning.

At this time, there are approximately 1000 different boats rated by PHRF in the U.S., with a total membership of the order of 5000 or more. Race results from the entire U.S. may be used by the LBSA Rating Committee to assist in assigning a rating. In addition, the LBSA Rating Committee is maintains a constant search (through race results or other data) for boats, which may require a change of rating in order to permit them to compete fairly with the balance of the fleet.

The success of this rating system depends on:

*The skill, dedication and integrity of the Rating Committee in analyzing the race results in the area, as well as assessing the boats speed potential from all other available information; This includes discussions with handicappers in other areas in the U.S.

*The cooperation and integrity of the owners and builders in providing accurate and complete information on the boat configuration and measurements, and any changes thereto

*The accurate reporting of race results by Race Committees to the Rating Committee with data needed to evaluate the suitability of the particular race for boat speed analysis
*The administration of a timely and equitable appeal procedure

Once a boat has been configured for racing performance, success will depend on the skill of the skipper and crew. PHRF rates a boat that is well equipped and maintained with good sails.

PHRF base ratings are made on the assumption that:

A. the spinnaker pole length is equal to “J”

B. the spinnaker maximum width is 180% of “J”

C. the spinnaker luff length shall not exceed .95 (l2+J2)

D. the boat is in racing condition

E. the boat has a folding or feathering propeller, or a retractable outboard motor

F. the hull and appendages are unmodified

G. genoa less than or equal to 155% of LP

Adjustments can be made to the base rating if the foregoing conditions are not met. As a guide, typical adjustments for non-standard boats are:

 -LP larger than 155 but less than 165%  -3 sec
 -LP larger than 165 but less than 175%  -6 sec
 -SMG larger than 180% of J              -3 sec
 -SPL larger than J                      -3 sec
 -exposed 2-bladed propeller             +3 sec
 -exposed 3-bladed propeller             +6 sec
 -no spinnaker Fractional                +11 sec
 -no spinnaker Masthead                  +14 sec

Since PHRF assumes that a boat is equipped to race, no credit in rating will be given to partially equipped boats, unusually heavy boats (as live aboards) or boats with unusual windage (as with a dinghy on davits).


1. Staysail – Staysail clew shall not extend past rated LP line of the boat.

2. Bloopers – Defined as a headsail. Can sail with no penalty if within the LP measurement of the genoa.

3. Flasher, Cruising Spinnaker, Double headsails – Rated as if with a spinnaker.


1. Ratings are determined and assigned to members of LBSA by the Ratings Chairman.

2. It is the responsibility of the owner to make the Ratings Chairman aware of all differences or modifications from original factory specifications at the time of initial rating application.

3. PHRF ratings can be verified through the Ratings Chairman.


1. A boat’s rating may be adjusted by the Ratings Chairman in response to modifications to the boat. It is the owner’s responsibility to report to the Ratings Chairman any modification made to the boat after the initial rating assignment.

2. Any modification to a boat shall render the existing rating invalid until the Ratings Chairman is notified of the modification. The existing rating will remain invalid until it is adjusted or it is verified that no adjustment is necessary.


1. Ratings may be adjusted at any time by vote of the Rating Committee. Owners of boats whose ratings are so adjusted will be notified of the adjustment.

2. The Ratings Committee Chairman will chair the LBSA Rating Committee and may provide input and vote on adjustments. Rating Committee members in the same fleet as a boat whose rating is being considered may provide input and vote on adjustments.


1. If an association member purchases a new boat, his membership will be transferred to that boat and a rating will be assigned to him by the Ratings Chairman for that boat.

2. A non-member who purchases a rated boat must obtain his own membership before racing the boat.

3. A member may obtain a rating for more than one yacht during the year. Each rating shall be accompanied by an application and dues.

4. Since the system rates boats, rather than skippers, the rating applies even when the boat is raced by a different skipper or with the owner ashore.

5. Members shall use the rating for their boat in effect on the day of the race when racing under PHRF ratings. Ratings subject to appeal will remain in effect during the appeal process.


1. Any member may appeal any rating.

2. The member must submit his appeal in writing to the PHRF Committee Chairman and submit evidence to substantiate the appeal.

3. Any member appealing his own rating shall have the right to present his case in person or writing at the appeal hearing. Notification of time and place of appeal hearing shall be made by the Measurer in a timely manner.

4. Any member having an appeal lodged against his boat by another member shall be notified of the appeal as soon as possible by the PHRF Committee Chairman. Such member shall have the right to defend his case in person or writing at the appeal hearing. Notification of time and place of appeal hearing shall be made by the PHRF Committee Chairman in a timely manner.

5. Appeals shall be decided by vote of the Rating Committee. The Ratings Chairman will chair the Rating Committee and may provide input. Rating Committee members in the same fleet as a boat whose rating is under appeal may provide input.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s