What Is the Formula for PHRF?

In the world of sailing, the Performance Handicap Racing Fleet (PHRF) rating system plays a crucial role in leveling the playing field among different sailboats of varying speeds and sizes. But what exactly is the formula for PHRF, and how does it determine a boat's rating? The essence lies in a bit of mathematics, where PHRF is essentially the rating in seconds per mile that sailors use to calculate a boat's corrected time (CT) in a race. This CT is obtained by subtracting the time allowance (TA), determined by the boat's PHRF rating, from it’s actual time to sail the race, known as the elapsed time (ET). This formula allows for fair competition regardless of the boat's design and characteristics, ensuring an exciting and balanced sailing experience for all involved.

What Is PHRF Time on Distance?

PHRF (Performance Handicap Racing Fleet) is a rating system widely used in sailboat racing to level the playing field for boats of different sizes and designs. One element of this rating system is PHRF time on distance, which is a way to measure the performance of a boat based on it’s handicap.

The PHRF rating is published as a handicap number, expressed in seconds or minutes per nautical mile of the rhumb line racecourse distance. For example, a boat with a rating of 180 sec/mile means that for every rhumb line mile of the racecourse, the contestant is given 180 seconds of credit towards their finish time.

This time credit is essentially a compensation for the boats inherent advantages or disadvantages compared to other boats. A boat with a lower rating will have a shorter overall finish time, while a boat with a higher rating will have a longer overall finish time. The idea is to equalize the performance potential of different boats, allowing fair competition among participants.

It’s important to note that PHRF ratings aren’t fixed and can be adjusted over time. This is done to account for any modifications or improvements made to a boat that may affect it’s performance. Adjustments are made based on observations and data collected during races, ensuring that the rating system remains fair and current.

By assigning handicap numbers based on seconds or minutes per nautical mile, the system levels the playing field for boats of different sizes and designs.

The Newport 33, a boat with a pilot house cabin and 5.17 ft draft, has a PHRF rating of 174 on average, with a high of 183 and a low of 17The boat has a displacement of 9,700 lb and carries 4,000 lb of ballast.

What Is the PHRF Rating of the Newport 33?

The PHRF rating of the Newport 33 can vary depending on certain factors. However, the boat typically has a PHRF racing average handicap of 174, with a high of 174 and a low of 18This rating is determined by a formula that takes into account various aspects of the boat, such as it’s speed potential, size, and design.

The Newport 33, particularly the model with a pilot house cabin and draft of 5.17 ft (1.58 m), has a displacement of 9,700 lb (4,400 kg). Displacement refers to the weight of the boat, including all the materials and equipment on board. In addition, it carries 4,000 lb (1,814 kg) of ballast, which helps provide stability and balance while sailing.

The PHRF system aims to level the playing field in sailboat racing by assigning handicap ratings to different types of boats. This allows boats of varying sizes and designs to compete against each other on an equal basis.

It’s important to note that PHRF ratings can vary depending on the location and the specific race conditions. Therefore, it’s crucial for sailors to be aware of the specific PHRF ratings used in their racing area to ensure fair competition.

How Is the PHRF Rating Determined for Sailboats?

The PHRF rating for sailboats is determined by a formula that takes into account various factors that can affect a boat’s speed potential. These factors include the boat’s length, sail area, weight, hull shape, and rig type. The formula compares a boat’s speed potential to a baseline boat and assigns a rating in seconds per mile. A lower PHRF rating indicates a faster boat, while a higher rating indicates a slower boat. The goal is to level the playing field for different types of sailboats in racing by adjusting the elapsed time based on the boat’s rating.


This calculation yields the corrected time, which is used to determine the boat's performance relative to other vessels in the race. While the formula may entail some mathematical computation, it provides a standardized means of assessing boat performance across different classes and conditions. By understanding and implementing the PHRF formula, sailors can compete on a level playing field and accurately gauge their racing achievements.

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