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Bump's World - January 2021
January 13, 2021

Shorthanded PHRF Racing



Single and double handed yacht racing has been around for a long time. The Vendee Globe race is going on right now. You should check out the videos on the web site, amazing. Most shorthand sailboat racing has been long distance but there is some local shorter racing available. The Beringer and Ted Hood Regattas this summer had shorthanded racing classes.

The Covid pandemic has encouraged racing yachts to have less crew. Many racers saw this as an opportunity to create local racing for single and double handed boats. Many people have struggled to get a full crew on their boat, so they saw this as a chance to not have to deal with that. Maintaining a crew for yacht racing has always been a struggle.

A lot of the shorthanded racing is done using the regular PHRF rating that the boat has. PHRFNE has recognized the growth and excitement for shorthanded sailing. Since the boats are all different some boats are easier to shorthand than other boats. Some boats are way more sensitive to weight on the rail. I had a Melges 24 and over 10 knots of breeze going up wind with no weight on the rail is not going to happen. I remember in windy races begging the crew not to get off the rail when preparing to set the chute for the down wind leg. I also had an Alerion 28 which did benefit from weight on the rail, but the difference was light years less. Sailing an Alerion 28 with 2 people is going to be much different than sailing a Melges 24 with 2.

So there is a very good discussion for having shorthanded ratings.

PHRF reviewed the variables that affect the performance and handing issues for shorthanded racing. Using these rating adjustments PHRFNE has produced an adjustment system for shorthanded ratings. I'm sure there will be some fine tunning as we go forward.

The enthusiasm for this rating has been very high. The day we introduced it we got over 10 applications.

There are instructions on the PHRFNE.org web site, but here is a quick explanation.

You need to get a regular PHRFNE certificate. Once you have that you can apply for free for the shorthanded certificate. That will be sent in for processing and you are all set.

PHRFNE works hard to support the sailing community. It is an all-volunteer organization and the certificate is a bargain. The members on the committee work really hard to create the best ratings possible. Shorthanded sailing has a very bright future and I believe will continue to grow.

For those of us with no friends it's great.

There has been some confusion and some discussion about the shorthanded rating. The rating is not an allowance that would measure the difference between a full crewed boat and a shorthanded boat. Just like spinnaker and non-spinnaker these boats cannot fairly race against each other. No rating system can deal with that. Do not show up expecting to use our short handed certificate in a fully crew racing division.

Many people have contacted me assaying that they want a certificate for their boat that takes a credit for less crew or even other lack of sailing effort. Like we don't want to sit on the rail so we want a credit for that. Maybe they want a credit for towing a dingy. When we issue the credit for towing a dingy you must have the dingy measured by a certified dingy measurer.

Racing boats against each other in same class using two different rating systems does not work or even come close to working.

Some PHRFNE fleets do have spinnaker and non-spinnaker boats in same class. It's their race and they can do what ever they want. Credits for bearded people?? The certificates are not designed for that, so you probably will have some pretty bad racing. Bad racing is better than no racing???

Please mail comments to me at Bump@newwaveyachts.com

Bump Wilcox