Pacific Handicap Racing Fleet)

Sloop Tavern's
PHRF-NW Handicappers:

30' & Under:
Dan Randolph

Over 30':
Lance Staughton

Sloop Tavern's
PHRF-NW Director:

Ken Chin

In partnership with

PHRF Northwest
P. O. Box 489
Gig Harbor, WA 98335

Phone: (253) 857-8858
Fax: (425) 962-8729


What PHRF-NW Northwest is about

The primary objective of PHRF-NW Northwest (PHRF-NW) is to promote competitive sailboat racing in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia by establishing and maintaining an equitable system of handicap ratings. PHRF-NW covers all of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and British Columbia.

The Sloop Tavern Yacht Club (STYC) & PHRF-NW Partnership

For over 25 years, STYC has benefited greatly from the handicapping data and rating procedures developed by PHRF-NW. We wouldn't be able to provide organized, competitive racing events without such a system.

STYC has consistently maintained the highest number of active PHRF-NW members of all yacht clubs. We can also boast the highest percentage of club members who also belong to PHRF-NW and a significant number of new members who join each year. Our PHRF-NW membership numbers give us our club a strong voice on the PHRF-NW Board of Directors helping to assure that the interests of STYC are considered.

STYC strongly encourages you to become a member of PHRF-NW and help support their most valued contributions to competitive sailing. For more information about PHRF-NW, contact your STYC handicapper.

A brief history

As the name implies, the Pacific Handicap Racing Fleet was established in Southern California as an alternative to the Cruising Club of America (CCA) and International Offshore Racing (IOR) rating systems.

1966: Under the leadership of Walt Little, Chief Handicapper, and Tom Wheeler, President, the first organizational meeting of the Pacific Handicap Racing Fleet of Puget Sound (the original name) was held at Seattle Yacht Club on March 15, 1966.

1967: Membership increased from 40 to 127 and additional handicappers were appointed to better serve the needs of PHRF-NW members.

1969: PHRF-NW of Puget Sound was incorporated in the State of Washington with management vested in the Board of Directors.

1970: In recognition of a growing number of Canadian PHRF members, the name of the organization was changed to Pacific Handicap Racing Fleet Northwest (PHRF-NW).

PHRF-NW is a non-profit organization. It has been developed and run exclusively for many years by an ever-evolving team of dedicated volunteer sailors. We are extremely proud of this heritage.

There is but one paid employee who works from a home office and administers all the paperwork generated by approximately 100 local area Directors and Handicappers.

How PHRF-NW works

Members representing individual clubs voluntarily serve as Handicappers who determine PHRF-NW-NW ratings. These Handicappers collectively serve on the Handicappers Council and report to the Chief Handicapper. In addition, a Director who participates in PHRF-NW Board Meetings where overall management issues are resolved represents each eligible club.

A boat's rating is a handicap expressed in seconds per mile that reflects the speed potential of the boat. Speed potential considers the level of performance expected of a well-sailed boat in excellent racing condition, with new sails and experienced crew.

A Club Handicapper, using comparative data for similar boats, input from the owner, other handicappers, competitors and other available sources, initially establishes temporary or "T" Ratings for new boat types. A "T" Rating is flexible and may be adjusted by a Club Handicapper based on observed performance. As experience with new boat types increases, the Handicapper's Council often changes "T" Ratings to "Standard" Ratings so they can be applied to all other boats of the same type. This assures rating consistency for members throughout the region.

PHRF-NW-NW maintains a large database of boat types with corresponding base "T" or "Standard" Ratings.

A Base Rating represents a boat with standard equipment as defined by PHRF-NW and US Sailing . These ratings may be reviewed and adjusted as necessary during the scheduled meetings of the Handicapper's Council.

A Base Rating is adjusted by the Handicapper to reflect` non-standard changes in equipment and sails. The result is an "As Sailed" Rating. As an example, a boat with larger than standard sails would be rated faster. A boat with a fixed 3-blade propeller would be rated slower than a boat with a folding propeller.

What racing can do for you

If you are a competitive sailor, you already know what well-organized racing is all about.

If you are new to racing, you will learn more about every detail of your boat and how to sail it well under all kinds of conditions. Racing improves your navigational skills while teaching you to sail in adverse current, heavy weather and light air.

You can choose events that are relatively easy and as your skills improve, move on to more competitive racing. You will meet lots of new friends.

Just one year of sailboat racing will expand your knowledge and confidence level far more than what you could learn cruising for several years.

PHRF-NW in action

Yacht Clubs and other organizations sponsor many sailboat races over the course of a year. Most of these events feature PHRF-NW-NW handicapping where boats are grouped by rating into classes. Each class starts together, sails the same course, and competes for awards within their class based on corrected time after application of each boat's handicap.

If you want to race, you can find an event almost every weekend. There are also many weeknight events during the spring, summer and fall.

Racing events fall into two broad categories: Distance Racing and Buoy Racing. Distance Races vary from 5 to over 100 nautical miles in length and typically take from an hour to several days to complete.

Buoy Races are typically short and very intense. Often several Buoy Races are held on the same day with points awarded to the boats finishing best in all series races.

There is something for everyone. Racing venues range from easy-going fun events to very demanding and highly competitive racing and everything in-between.

Membership has its advantages

Your dues support PHRF-NW and the vital service they perform in providing a competitive racing environment for all!

With PHRF-NW membership, you receive the following benefits:


To join PHRF-NW, contact your STYC Club Handicapper Now!