Performance Handicap Racing Fleet (PHRF)

Who Owns It

United States Sailing Association sanctions regional authorities to administer the national rule and develop regional by-laws.

Why Did It Start

Loosely based on the “Arbitrary Fleet” of the West Coast of the 1940’s, PHRF emerged in the early 1980’s as an empirically based handicapping system to give sailors easier access to a handicap than afforded by measurement rules.

How It Works

PHRF handicaps are assigned by individuals or committees associated with specific fleets. Handicaps are assigned to a given production class considering predominant local conditions and the handicapper’s experience in handicapping similar boats. These ratings are based on observed performance and any requisite adjustments generally become evident after 5-10 races have been sailed. Scoring options include Time-on-Distance or Time-on-Time.

Recommended Values
A 650
B Factor When Used
480 Heavy Air or all off the wind
550 Average conditions
600 Light air or all windward work

TCF = ——————

Who Uses It

Historically used for USA casual fleet racing, PHRF has grown be be accepted as a division in several major national races, as well.

Where We Fit In

The US Sailing PHRF Committee is charged with the development and maintenance of the national rule, including the national appeals process. While handicaps are assigned locally, US Sailing provides certain standards and guidelines to maintain a degree of consistency between fleets. Additionally, as a member benefit, US Sailing develops the PHRF Fleet Handicap Book– a compilation of yacht base handicaps by class from more than 60 PHRF Fleets throughout North America listing over 5000 classes. The Offshore Office also offers administrative and handicapping services to participating PHRF Fleets. The term “Performance Handicap Racing Fleet (PHRF)” is protected by copy-rightfor use by US Sailing and sanctioned regional fleets.


PHRF certificates are assigned by each local fleet. Be sure to check your Notice of Race to ensure you are certified by the appropriate fleet. Basic hull, sail, and rig details are owner declared and ratings assigned by class.