There is a boat in San Diego that I absolutely cannot fucking stand, and I am not alone in this. It is Staghound, the R/P 50 that despite years of mostly being poorly sailed with second-tier sails, has won a lot primarily due to the fact that the boat is quick, but has also been handed embarrassingly gifted PHRF ratings as well.
People have complained about it for years, but PHRF San Diego didn’t do anything until the boat added a fat top main, longer sprit, and new rudder, but even then it was a gift (-3 seconds a mile if I remember correctly).
After a number of competitors bitched, it was brought up for a rating review about a year ago. This rating review included some ORR data from a test certificate in an old and slower configuration. Even with this data, the boat got an additional knock (I think 9 seconds) which they sailed with and continued winning,
Based on the original review, PHRF worked with a yacht designer and came up with a VPP spreadsheet to remeasure using both measured VPP and PHRF numbers and requested all PHRF negative rated boats get ORR measured (almost all already were) and rated, so that there was measurement data (and ratings) that could establish something more concrete than the bellyaching.
So guess who refused to get measured after 6 months of asking? You got it. And of course the reasons are obvious, especially from people who don’t want a fair fight. They still wouldn’t comply, so PHRF hit them -6 as a blanket penalty for refusing to get measured to get the rating a bit closer to reality. This penalty would be dropped as soon as they turned in a measurement certificate.
So what was their response? They asked for a refund from PHRF San Diego, pulled their already issued San Diego PHRF Certificate, and then entered the San Diego based Cabrillo series (first race of the year) using their SoCal PHRF cert which gives them another 15 seconds a mile advantage, as So Cal PHRF never gave them the 9-second knock that they took last year or the temporary 120 day -6 knock for refusing to get measured which is just the San Diego rating.
It is worth noting that Chuck Skewes, the sails salesman from Ullman Sails, who represented Staghound at the SD PHRF meeting, agreed to accept the 6 sec knock until they turned in their measured cert then went and did this anyway. Funny, circumventing standard procedures and pissing off a fleet of larger boats and their owners who buy big, expensive sails doesn’t seem like a good way to attract customers to me…
I think they blatantly subverted the system, by using the outdated and inaccurate -48 rating instead of the more accurate and recent SD PHRF issued. -63. We’re not sure it’s actual cheating, but it is a chickenshit move that in no way meats the spirit of fair racing. This boat is widely despised not only because of their continual rating fuckery, but because they strut around like they are the shit. It’s a fucking joke.
This is truly unsportsmanlike and not surprising for this group’s truly blatant FU to PHRF and all their competitors. IMO, PHRF SD should refuse to issue them a certificate going forward. I mean, if their SD cert wasn’t good enough for this, why should it be good enough going forward? Fuck these guys. Almost all PHRF races here require each boat to have an SD cert.
Perhaps for this series, everyone in their class should race in the ORR division and let them have their PHRF pickle dish by themselves. If they are willing to sell their soul (assuming there is one) for a trophy, then let them have it. – ed.