It stands for Performance Handicap Racing Fleet, not Performance Handicap Racing Formula. PHRF is a "class" under the Racing Rules of Sailing and competitors in it must comply with class rules.

A key provision of those class rules is that a competitor be a PHRF member.

Here's how it works:

You join SAIL and get a certificate with your boat's handicap rating. There may be more than one rating, if you race the boat in different ways (e.g., with & without a spinnaker, in one-design configuration or not). You may opt not to join SAIL; the PHRF fee for non-SAIL members is $20.

These fees are -- if not the lowest -- among the lowest costs for PHRF in the US and have been at these rates for many years.

In determining your handicap rating, the PHRF Committee will consider your boat's predicted (or actual) performance in conditions  pertaining to the Rocky Mountain region. It will look at ratings for similar boats across the country and use velocity prediction programs if appropriate.

PHRF is not a static rating system; it is performance based. In other words we compare how one yacht performs compared to another and adjust the ratings so every yacht has an equal chance to win. If you  feel that a rating is incorrect, then you can appeal any yacht‘s rating or another yacht’s rating.  The SAIL PHRF Committee with representatives from all the clubs can make a fair non-biased adjustment to the rating.

Having SAIL PHRF issue ratings insures that a yacht will have the same rating anywhere in our region they choose to race.  This is a requirement of SAIL for all participants in the Open Regattas on the SAIL Tour.   

PHRF rules are part of the set of rules (.i.e., "class rules") that govern a race, and a yacht can be protested for breaking them just as a yacht can be protested for breaking the RRS.  For a protest to be valid, the protesting party must hold a SAIL PHRF Certificate.  If you are tired of being beaten by a yacht with that extra long spinnaker pole or oversized headsail, PHRF can make adjustments to a rating to allow for non standard modifications to a yacht.  Everyone wants a level playing field when they race; requiring SAIL PHRF Certificates helps insure that no one has unfair advantage. 

What's new?  

PHRF is pushing to get everyone who races PHRF at any level to join the fleet and get a current certificate. (This is an absolute requirement in most regions of the US; you are not allowed to race PHRF without a valid certificate.)

SAIL is encouraging all clubs to require SAIL PHRF Certificate to participate in all races at their lake.  Having the SAIL PHRF Committee issue and manage rating certificates removes that obligation from the local club’s race committee and puts it into the hands of a unbiased third party. 

PHRF Committee

PHRF requires ongoing administration, which is performed by the PHRF Committee of SAIL.

Each member club of SAIL is entitled to a representative on the committee that administers PHRF racing and is encouraged to appoint one. The current members are

If any of you want to help out, please contact me. The more involvement, the better the ratings.

We will be using email this year to handle all new certificate requests and appeal hearings. When we receive an application or appeal, I will send it to all committee members for comment. I will consolidate all the comments and send out a request for vote. I think this will facilitate a much easier and timely issuance of ratings.

Of course, if you have any comments on improving the fleet, let me know.

Bob Gesumaria, SAIL PHRF Committee