Letter from Chief Handicapper Regarding Handicappers Council Vote for Big Boat Rating Changes on 042616May 1, 2016
In January 2016, at the PHRF Annual General Meeting, incoming Chief Handicapper Neil Bennett was requested by outgoing Chief Handicapper Bill Nelson to once again revisit the issue of the ratings of the PHRF- NW ‘Big Boats’, those who rate 0 or less, for possible revision.
What was undertaken was a complete statistical review of theoretical speed potential analysis comparing suggested PHRF-NW ratings with other established rating protocols, such as IRC and ORR. This analysis revealed a very strong correlation among a narrow range of PHRF – NW projected ratings. This being positive, a series of comparative analyses was undertaken of the first two of the CYC Seattle Center Sound series races (third one cancelled due to lack of wind) which were held in varying wind conditions, as well as the WVYC Southern Straits race. All observed performance comparisons revealed results that correlated with the speed potential predictions.
This research, conducted in March and early April 2016 led to a proposal of adjusted PHRF ratings that were circulated to PHRF – NW ‘Big Boat Fleet’ owners for review and comment, and ultimately to the Handicapper’s Council for consideration. After a period of discussion, a vote was held resulting in a soundly affirmative decision: to adopt the suggested rating adjustment, with the proviso that no future ‘Big Boat’ rating decision could be made with out the agreement of the Handicapper’s Council. These results are available for review on the PHRF-NW website.
I have received positive comments from ‘BBF’ owners with regard to the process in which this decision has been made; from analytical analysis, leading to analysis of observed performance, consistent with PHRF-NW standards, to process of involving all parties in the decision making process.
I would like to acknowledge and thank three key members of this project: Bill Nelson, Immediate Past Chief Handicapper, without who’s encouragement I would never have undertaken this project; Deputy Chief Handicapper Alan Grim, whose resolute adherence to the spirit and standard of PHRF was inherently critical for close call decision making; and to David Lynch, whose analytical analyses made sense of all those numbers. This has not been an easy process, as there are many schools of thought about the handicapping of fast race boats – it is a cross of science and art. I appreciate all who have contributed in any manner to this discussion and decision.
Yours in fair sailing,
Chief Handicapper, PHRF-NW
"April 13, 2016
Dear “Big Boat Owner”,
I wrote to you in February outlining my goal for my term as Chief Handicapper to conduct PHRF-NW business in a manner that is responsive, consistent and transparent.
Handicappers Alan Grim, David Lynch and I have prepared a proposal for the Handicapper’s Council to consider regarding the ratings of your group of boats. We have compared the results of statistical analysis of the comparison between PHRF-NW and IRC/ORR ratings as well as calculations of race results between these two rating systems the March Center Sound Series and Southern Straits races.
From this, we have outlined suggested ratings that I believe reflect the balance of PHRF-NW desired goal of adhering scientific principles of ‘speed potential’ and ‘observed performance’.
These are available for review at the PHRF-NW website.
I invite you to express your comments and questions about your boat either directly to me or your respective club handicapper.
I don’t have a firm timeline for this, other than to accomplish this prior to any major upcoming regattas, so please respond accordingly.
Neil Bennett, Chief Handicapper