There's actually not too much science behind how a high tech modern race boat can be scored against a 1970s classic in the same race. Each boat is placed into a fleet based on their PHRF handicap, a performance based rating number allocated by Yachting New Zealand.
This system is made possible only with club participation and sportsmanlike self-regulation. It’s similar to a golf handicap in the sense that the better you become, the harsher you are ranked in comparison to others.
A boat’s total race time is simply multiplied by their PHRF handicap to give a ‘corrected time’ figure. This corrected time is then how boats rank on the leader board
“There are two components to a boat’s PHRF rating.” Andrew Clouston from Yachting New Zealand explains where the number comes from.
“Firstly, there is a designated numerical range for the boat design in which the handicap must remain. Secondly, the boat’s race history of the last 24 months are assessed to scale their rating within that range” he says.
The Yachting New Zealand PHRF committee review each boat’s handicap three times each year, the 15th September review being one that PIC Coastal Classic competitors keep a keen eye on. It’s a big job, and Yachting New Zealand applaud the work that this volunteer committee undertake to support the sport and help everyone sail on an even playing field.
“We're happy to receive requests from boat owners to assess their handicap at other times of the year or a competitors which looks a little off” Andrew says. “And if the PIC Coastal Classic is the only race the boat does each year, YNZ now offers a one off event certificate for a reduced price”.
Other handicapping systems are also used for scoring the PIC Coastal Classic, such as the IRC system which purely measures on physical characteristics of the boat, and ‘line honours’ which is the traditional, simple, whoever gets there first, wins.
Multihulls are handicapped on a separate system administered by the New Zealand Multihull Yacht Club, organisers of the PIC Coastal Classic.
Have you got your handicap sorted?
Now is the time to get your PHRF application in to Yachting New Zealand- often the processing time is up to two weeks, so we urge you not to leave it any longer. A few useful facts:
The Yachting New Zealand PHRF committee review each boat’s handicap a minimum of three times each year, the 15th September (TODAY!)
If you are a boat owner who has never had a PHRF certificate before and your boat is registered with YNZ, you could qualify for a free PHRF certificate.
There is a special 'one off' event certificate available at a reduced price- if this is the only race you do each year (and if you change your mind, the upgrade to a full certificate is easy).
The application form is online right here so we've done the hard work of googleing it for you :)