2012 Changes - Read Here !

PHRF-LO announces significant changes

in its handicapping system for

the 2012 racing season



  • Currently, there are approximately 1,400 different sailboat classes in our database and over 1600 certificates are issued each year.
  • PHRF-LO has the largest fleet in the World and is unique in the extent of performance analysis it does each year.
  • The primary goal of this new system is to place the No Flying Sails handicap (NFS) into an objective relationship to the Flying Sail handicap (FS) using scientific methods.


  • Originally the NFS handicap was derived from the FS handicap by adding 15, 18 or 21 seconds based on genoa size. This was found to be too simplistic and did not truly represent performance.
  • About 10 years ago the NFS handicap was severed from the FS handicap which allowed it to be adjusted independently.
  • Many anomalies developed and many handicaps became unrealistic compared to FS.
  • The dual databases doubled the workload of the Central Council.
  • 70% of the classes remained at their previous levels while others changed significantly.


  • PHRF-LO contracted US Sailing’s Offshore Office to develop algorithms based on their Velocity Prediction Program and a representative database of Lake Ontario yacht classes.
  • These new scientific formulae are based on class measurements and result in objective estimates of boat performance.
  • As a result we now have modified adjustment tables for genoa size and fixed blade props and also, most significantly, objective deltas (differences) between FS and NFS handicaps for all classes.

What this Means:

  • This project has been nearly two years in the making and has required a huge effort by Central Council and others to bring it to fruition.
  • The average of NFS handicaps is moving up so comparisons with the old relationships to FS are not valid. For some classes both the FS and the NFS handicaps have changed based on the performance data that is always consulted.
  • With the new system, some owners will feel like they’re benefitting, while others may feel like they are being penalized. Neither is really true, it is a new objective measurement and should support fairer racing.


  • The whole purpose to this process is to improve the fairness of yacht racing and to reduce the reliance on subjective assessments.