Changing a Boat’s Handicap Mid-Season

Normally a PHRF handicap is issued to a boat for the entire season, however, on occasion a boat may need to, or wish to, request a change to their handicap mid-season. Such a request could be the result of:

  • a boat acquiring a new (or used) sail,
  • a boat destroying or damaging beyond use a sail that they were using,
  • a boat acquiring a new propeller,
  • other changes to a boat that affect its PHRF handicap, or
  • an owner or crew deciding that their original choice of sails was not optimum.

It should be recognized that mid-season handicap changes generate significant work for the club handicappers, scorers, and race committee, and so should be minimized as much as possible, and boats should never request more than one PHRF handicap change within a season.

Changes to a boat’s handicap should always be requested well in advance of the start of a new series (i.e. normally 2 or more weeks beforehand) to ensure adequate time to effect the changes and notify the affected parties. If a change is not completed prior to the start of the series, then the boat shall use the lower of her new or old handicap for the entire series. This means that a boat that is switching to a smaller sail, for example, must use the handicap for the larger sail if the change to her handicap is not processed prior to the start of the new series. Conversely, if a boat switches to a larger sail part way through a series, or even for the last race of a series, then her results will be retroactively re-calculated with her new, lower, handicap.

A similar situation applies to series that mix flying sails (aka “PHRF”) and non-flying sails (aka “JAM”) within the same series. Such series include Monday evening Womens racing, most of the up-river racing including the Interclub Long Distance series, and the Frostbite series. For such racing, boats must choose at the beginning of the series whether they are going to race FS (aka “PHRF”) or NFS (aka “JAM”), and they must stick with that for the entire series. This does not mean that the boat must always fly their spinnaker if they are racing “PHRF”, but it does mean that if they fly their spinnaker even once in the series, then they are ineligible for the “JAM” fleet.

Another issue that also arises occasionally is a boat wishing to use a handicap based on a different sail configuration for one night of the week. For example, we have had requests from boats wishing to use a smaller headsail on Monday nights, from that which the boat uses on Tuesday or Thursday nights. This is allowed, but the request should be made at the time of registration.

Any requests for a PHRF handicap change, or any other questions on PHRF handicapping, should be addressed to the Club Handicapper(s). If a change is accepted and processed, the Handicapper will assume responsibility for notifying the Race Committee and appropriate scorer(s).

Page updated: 2016-11-12.

This page reflects consensus reached in e-mail discussions amongst Sal Khan, Guy Perrin, Kirk Robertson, Jan Huus, Colin Mombourquette, Ross Ernst, Simon Gregoire, Dave Foy and Hugh Morrin, September 19-27, 2016.

Update log
19 Sep: HM: Page created.
12 Nov: HM: Removed “While this is considered the fairest and most appropriate means to deal with such issues, it is also the only practical option, as the scoring program that is used does not allow for a boat to have more than one handicap for a given series.”

Page maintained by H. Morrin.