PHRF Handicap Analysis on Lake Ontario – A Perspective
By Steve Corona (author of present Race Analysis Program)
The performance handicapping movement for boat racing actually started on the West Coast over 50 years ago but was organized, as we know it about 25 years ago as a response to the performance, high cost and complexity of measurement handicap systems. It was originally not meant for “Grand Prix” racing events but rather was designed to allow individual clubs to easily and inexpensively rate and race boats of different sizes and shapes within their own organization. Over the years the popularity of the system has expanded (wisely or not) to some of the largest sailing events. PHRF is expected to be a “waterfall” system; handicaps are determined at the lowest level (generally the club or small geographical area) where performance can be continuously observed and handicaps adjusted in response to that performance. Elevation to “higher authority” was necessary only to coordinate handicaps in larger geographical areas for interclub racings. Quantification of boat performance, in the form of “on the water” observations or race data analysis, is implied in both the name and spirit of the system.