Multi-class Racing for Larger Racers and Cruisers

For those unfamiliar with PHRF racing, PHRF stands for Performance Handicap Racing Fleet. This is a handicapping system used for sailboats of different sizes and configurations to equalize races of different boats. Every boat has its own handicap number calculated, and race finish times are adjusted with this handicap. A slower, heavier cruising boat, for example, may beat a faster, lighter racing boat on adjusted time. The goal is for the race outcome to be determined by the crew’s sailing ability rather than the nature of the boat.

Everyone Is Welcome!

PHRF racing at the American Yacht Club is open to everyone – not just AYC members. If you or a friend owns a sailboat in our area, please join us for a good time racing and the associated festivities! Not only is racing itself great fun, but racing is a good way to improve your sailing skills. Even if you’ve never raced before, you will quickly feel at home at the AYC regattas. For those new to racing, the Club provides support for gaining new skills and expanding your horizons. For those without their own boats or owners who want some experience before entering their boats in a race, crew positions are usually available on experienced boats – a great way to make new friends on the water while learning.

Racing Classes

PHRF races generally have different classes of boats, which start together at timed intervals so that similar boats are racing each other. Classes at AYC regattas include:

Racing class (using spinnakers)
Cruising class (no spinnakers)

The Racing and Cruising classes are typically divided into Division I and II groups based on handicap.

PHRF Certificate

All boats participating in AYC PHRF and other regional PHRF races need a PHRF certificate issued annually. (The boat’s handicap is based on its own unique characteristics – and annual renewal is necessary even if the boat has not changed.)

Sailors interested in PHRF racing should have their PHRF certificate before their first race. The application form can be downloaded from the PHRF New England website:

Send your completed form with a check for $45 made out to the American Yacht Club, mailed to the Fleet Handicapper:

Brad Johnson
1 Seaview Lane
Newbury, MA 01951

For any questions about how to apply for your PHRF certificate or about the PHRF races at the American Yacht Club, contact either:

Fleet Governor Bruce Brown at
Fleet Handicapper Brad Johnson at 978-462-3739 or

PHRF Rules

Ratings and handicaps

Please visit the PHRF New England website for detailed information about the handicapping procedure and how PHRF races are run: