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one direction?

anarchy name sideOne of the truly great things about getting a new (to me) Melges 32, is all of the people at SDYC that I have reconnected with in just the few days that I have been there getting the boat together. John Reichel and his new bride JJ Fetter (awesome!), Chris Bush, Chuck Sinks, Matt Reyynolds, just to name a few. Sitting at the club bar with Brian Janney when Bruce Nelson came by.  An hour later we had covered a number of topics, had some huge laughs about how god damn fast time has gone by (not that funny, actually!), and just had a great chat.

Of course the conversation turned to the 32 (he digs it, btw), and ratings. PHRF SoCal hammers the boat at 24/12/0 and Bruce suggested that he is helping to get a better understanding of ORR/Time on Time ratings and handicapping. Nelson sent the below over and we are stoked to work with him and others to see if we can get a real alternative to the ways of PHRF. We will be running a series of these, hope you like them. – ed.

First, the US needs to get away from PHRF/Time on Distance, which has polluted handicap racing and the US mind-set for decades now.  While PHRF actually provides surprisingly accurate sec/mile deltas for many boats, the format chosen for the handicaps is unfortunate … if they had elected to rate a Farr 40 at say 510 s/m, instead of -3, then sensible comparisons of ratings and results could be readily produced. But the present scheme clouds meaningful comparisons, as ratings and relative performance cannot easily be compared on a direct percentage basis.  So say we change the F40’s PHRF rating to 510, and add 513 to every boat’s PHRF rating – now we can produce useful TCF’s, where TCF=510/PHRF with the F40’s rating 1.000, and directly compare the relative elapsed and corrected times of each race.

This also provides the choice between scoring Time-on-Distance (ToD), or Time-on-Time (ToT) – like most of the rest of the world does.

ToD works just as well as ToT only when:

1.       The course length is accurately known.

2.       There is no current.

3.       The wind conditions are ‘typical’, with no large shifts skewing the course.

ToT works just as well as ToD when the above conditions are met, and better when they are not – which is much of the time. About the only time that ToD works better than ToT is when the fleet is becalmed or anchored, which occasionally happens in strong current races in the English Channel – yet the French and British use ToT exclusively to handicap races…

So why does the US cling to ToD so dearly?