Guide for Yacht Clubs and Race Committees

January 2022

PHRF of Narragansett Bay

Guide for Yacht Clubs and Race Committees

  • Purpose:    To provide basic information to assist Yacht clubs and Race committees organize and run regattas using PHRF-NB
  • Background:       PHRF-NB, which rates approx. 500 boats, is one of the larger PHRF fleets in the United States.  We rate boats, sailing in and around coastal Narragansett Bay and on the open coast of Rhode Island and Block Island Sound.  We are independent of NBYA, and the NE and Long Island Sound PHRF organizations.  This independence is not unusual in the country, and while far from perfect, has led to a rating approach that adapts and rates far, far more boats for far longer than any other rating approach.
  • PHRF Rating Committee Make-up:      The PHRF-NB rating committee makes all decisions regarding boat ratings, appeals, etc.  It is led by the Rating Chairman, however, each member on the committee has an equal vote.  We attempt to have a broad-based committee from different geographical areas on the Bay, from different yacht clubs and of different professional backgrounds.  If your feel your Yacht club or area is not properly represented, please contact the PHRF office to discuss possible committee additions.
  • Rules/Procedures/Rating List:     “Principles of Narragansett Bay”, our Rating Procedures, By Laws, Notes to Appellants, Standard Adjustment Guidelines, latest Boat Ratings List, others comments, and results of appeals are all posted on our Web site <>.
  • Web Site, eMail and Phone: Our web site is:, Our email is phrf-; , and our phone is 401-253-0207.
  • How to Handle Ratings: We email renewal ratings to all members by early March and applications and instructions are available from our office web site.  For your lowest hassles, we recommend the following:

1)  Your regatta/race notice state that “Valid 202x Narragansett Bay PHRF ratings are required.”  Certificate renewal notices are sent members in March of each year.  Help for any problem with certificate renewal can be obtained by calling the PHRF-NB office at 401 253-0207.  New 202x Certificate applications and instructions can be downloaded from our web site.

2)    Don’t get in the middle, keep the responsibility of filling-in the PHRF application and obtaining the PHRF-NB rating certificate on the sailor.  PHRF-NB does provide quick turnaround, is very flexible and will provide email service for special cases.

3)    Please be advise that PHRF does re-evaluate class boat’s base ratings and the criteria for adjustments from the base ratings in an attempt to stay current with technology improvements. Thus, previous boat ratings may not be valid for the current season.


  • Spinnaker and Non-spinnaker ratings:     PHRF issues both a spinnaker and a non-spinnaker rating for each boat. Your race instructions need to specify which one is to be used. Theoretically, the ratings reflect the speed difference between a spinnaker and a non-spinnaker, however, we strongly recommend that you do not mix spinnaker and non-spinnaker, within the same class.
  • Time-on-Time vs Time-on-Distance Scoring:     Races within the US are slowly changing to Time-on-Time (ToT), i.e. rating corrections are based on the time sailed whereas the earlier format of Time -on-Distance (ToD) uses time over a the distance.  The race committee can use the PHRF rating to score either way:  Your instructions need to state whether “Time-on-distance scoring will be utilized or “Time-on-Time” scoring will be utilized.  In general, we recommend ToT be used if your classes contain large rating spreads, i.e. greater than 30 sec/mile, your courses vary between “all reaching” and/or “all beating” since ToT would offer fairer scoring. However, Time-on-Distance scoring is more familiar to older racing sailors in the US and is applicable for Pursuit type races.
  • Safety/Boat size issues:    PHRF does not set safety criteria, e.g. lifelines, fire extinguishers, etc. PHRF does not restrict our ratings to any particular boat size or style. If you wish to limit your regatta to particular size of boats, e.g. “between LOA of 25 to 45 feet” or PHRF ratings, you must state such a restriction in your race instructions.  Likewise we do not specify instructions for safety in which our ratings are used for local club racing.  If you are the Organizing Authority for races traversing into Rhode Island Sound, Buzzards Bay and Long Island Sound or heading to Bermuda we recommend invoking the applicable recommendations found in US Safety Equipment Requirements – Coastal or Ocean grids (  We also recommend when a boat checks in at the beginning of the race that the boat reports the number of “Souls on Board”.  Your race instructions must specify any safety or ORC safety requirements.
  • Crew Weight Limitations:     PHRF does not restrict the number/weight of crew on any particular boat.
  • Class splits/Sport Boats:      Classes with rating spreads of 30 sec/mile or less are best.  In addition, boat types should also be considered. There is a major problem with “Sport Boats” e.g. Melges 24, 30, Viper 840, VX-1, etc racing in the same class as normal boats as their speed on reaches and maneuverability are significantly different than the norm. All attempts should be made to segregate sport boats into their own separate class.
  • Major Regatta and General support:      For a major regatta, the race notice should specifically state that current PHRF-NB ratings are required, and that applications must be submitted by a certain date prior to the regatta.  PHRF-NB would be pleased to work with you on any race notices, and offers to provide any last-minute ratings just prior to the regatta, but these should be limited to special cases.  Please feel free to ask for any advice from PHRF on class splits, regatta notices or race instructions, crew limitations, etc.

It is strongly recommended that organizations holding regattas in “Navigable Waters” heed the US Coast Guard’s SAFETY OF LIFE ON NAVIGABLE WATERS and submit an application yearly, at least 135 days before the event.  The application can be electronically submitted at:

The US governing rule and reason can be linked here:


Full document including Appendix A – See enclosure