Prior to the organization of PHRF, sailboat racing in the Northwest, (including Canada) used a nationwide rating system known as CCA (Cruising Club of America).
The first organizational meeting of the Pacific Handicap Racing Fleet of Puget Sound (which was the original name) was in the bar at the Seattle Yacht Club on March 15, 1966. It was at that time that Tom Wheeler as President, Ralph Russell as Treasurer and Walt Little as Handicapper first introduced PHRF, promoted it and developed it here in the Northwest with the encouragement and assistance of Bob Basham of Southern California PHRF.
Beginning in 1966 with only 40 members, PHRF membership has continued to grow over the years. Serge J. Becker donated and transferred his private signal to PHRF for use by our organization as the official PHRF pennant in 1967. By the year 1968 the membership had increased to 127 members. At this time additional Handicappers were appointed in order to better serve the needs of the members. These Handicappers in turn would report directly to Walt Little as Chief Handicapper.
Since 1966 there have only been five Chief Handicappers, Walt Little, Peter Jennings, Bill Nelson, Arden Newbrook and now Alan Grim. Usually there are around 35 Handicappers, reporting to the Chief Handicapper who have the sole discretion to determine the PHRF-NW handicap ratings. Together, all Handicappers constitute a Handicappers Council, which can override the decisions of individual Handicappers. The Handicappers Council, chaired by the Chief Handicapper, supervises the task of keeping ratings fair and equitable throughout the fleet. Handicaps are issued based solely upon the information and data for a boat provided by individual owners.
In 1969 the Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation for PHRF of Puget Sound were written, adopted and filed with the State of Washington. The management of this corporation is vested in a Board of Directors, which was established in 1970 to establish all policy concerning the operation and direction of the affairs of this corporation. It was at this time that it became apparent that the name of the organization no longer fit the circumstances since by now the fleet encompassed many Canadian sailors. At the Board of Directors meeting held December 5, 1970 the name of the organization was officially changed to Pacific Handicap Racing Fleet Of The Northwest.
It is the prime objective of this corporation to promote sailboat racing in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia by maintaining an equitable system of handicap ratings of member boats for the use of yacht clubs and other sponsors of sailboat races. From its inception in 1966, all Officers, Directors and Handicappers of this corporation have volunteered their services. Our membership reached its peak in 1981 when PHRF-NW had 2495 active members. Today more boats continue to race under PHRF-NW than any other handicapping system in the Pacific Northwest.
For information on joining PHRF-NW please contact the Business Office, Info at PHRF NW, by mail, telephone or fax.