The #1 Dealer for Hanse Group:
Hanse, Dehler, RYCK
North American Dealer:
MAT / Mills Design
#1 Dealer for Sabre Yachts
Marblehead, MA: 603-867-3130
South Dartmouth, MA: 508-596-1495

Bump's World


Bump's World - January 2022
January 26, 2022


I sail on a lot of different boats in many different regattas. The one thing that all boat crews have in common is they all think they have an unfavorable rating. I believe the owners of the boats are less vocal about this, but I do think they believe in a lot of what the crew is talking about.

Several of these boats actually do very well mostly finishing in the top 3 of their class. So they finish at the top and they claim to have an unfavorable rating. Many of these crew members are very enthusiastic sailors and spend a lot of time on social media and web sites related to sailing. They gather a lot of information and when together with the rest of the crew they discuss.

The crew always manages to come up with some circumstances where the boat they sail is rated better somewhere else. This is not just a PHRF issue; it is an issue with measurement rules also. There would be a sister ship with a different measurement handicap.

In the case of PHRF, there are over 40 different PHRF organizations in North America and each rates their boats independently. So a Pearson 30 can have several different numbers from all the different fleets. The probability of another fleet somewhere having a higher number is very likely. These crews find these "better ratings" and that's evidence they have a bad rating. About 20 years ago, Long Island gave every boat 6 seconds per mile and everyone thought they now had a better rating. But the spreads remained the same. When Long Island did this, other similar fleets were all 6 seconds faster. Now boats could point to Long Island as a reason they have a bad rating. Your rating does not matter, what matters is the difference between you and the other boats you are racing against.

Again this not just a PHRF problem! If you look at measurement rules, the same designed boats have different ratings. A good friend of mine, with lots of money, kept getting his boat measured over and over. Same boat! Every rating came out a little different. Finally he picked the most favorable rating and used that one. There is lots of room for small differences in weighting and measuring boats and the numbers do not come out the same.

You would think that boats that do not do well could blame their rating, but even the better sailed boats complain about their rating. How can everyone have a bad rating??

Everywhere I sail, I see well prepared, well equipped, well sailed boats doing well. If that is the case maybe the ratings are not so bad??? Maybe these crews should focus on sailing better. That will move them up in the fleet much faster than belly aching about their rating.

I'm sailing in a big regatta and another boat is clearly catching us. Our boat and the other boat rate the same. I say let's work on going faster and try some adjustments. The crew says no that boat always beats us because they have a better rating. I work some adjustments and we hold them off and beat them. Even after winning, my crew was convinced that the other boat was much faster than ours but with the same rating. I was also thinking if they are so much faster than us why are we ahead of them?

Many of these crews think they do well in spite of their bad rating.

I was pounding beers after a race with a well sailed boat. We had won the regatta and spirits were high. I do cherish these after race times when things went well. Then the discussion goes to, yes we won but we should have won by more. We have a bad rating and with the right rating we would have won by more. These people are delusional!

So I guess everyone has a bad rating. Racing is very unfair. If only we had a fair rating the world would know how good we really are.

Please mail comments to me at

Bump Wilcox