PHRF is a national performance handicapping system for keelboats designed to facilitate open and fair competition between boats as much as possible. It is self regulating and depends on the spirit of sportsmanship for its success.

Online 2018/2019 PHRF Application & Revalidation Form 

2018/19 season PHRF's take effect from 1 June 2018 and are valid until 31 May 2019.

Link to Yachting New Zealand PHRF website to view all PHRF boat ratings & measurements

Download the 2018/2019 PHRF Rules 

Changes to PHRF for the 2018/19 season


What is PHRF?

  • PHRF (Performance Handicapping Racing Fleet) is not a rating system such as IRC, IMS or ORC Club but is a handicap based on a combination of performance and assessed design potential.
  • The system is a national system administered by CIORC (Cruising Inshore Offshore Racing Committee) for Yachting New Zealand and is independent of any other handicap such as a club handicap.

What's its Purpose?

To provide a national handicap system appropriate for inter-club racing in New Zealand.

How do I get a PHRF Certificate?

The online form will ask you to choose one of the following options:

  • New applications:  
    • This application is for boats that have not held a PHRF certificate within the previous two years.  In order to validate boat measurements, it is a requirement that the new application form is completed IN FULL and declaration checked by the owner/owner’s representative. This means that ALL parts of the form MUST be completed for it to be accepted. All measurements must be metric (metres and centimetres), no exceptions. Any incomplete application will be returned for completion. 
  • Revalidations:
    • For boats that have had a PHRF certificate within the previous 2 years.  If the boat has had no changes to measurements then you may click the “no changes” box on the application form.  This confirms that you agree no changes have been made to the boat or sails since the last certificate was issued. 
    • If your last PHRF certificate was within the previous 2 years and you have made changes to your boat in this time, you must note these changes on the application form when revalidating.
  • Amendments:
    • Complete the changes only on the application form and submit.  All boats with a PHRF receive one free amendment.
  • First time PHRF certificate special offer:
    • A yacht owner who has not previously held a PHRF certificate will be offered their initial certificate for free. Please contact Kelly Mulcahy for further information.
  • Urgent Processing:
    • There is an additional charge for urgent processing of an application if the request is required within 4 working days.  Applications cannot be processed in less than 2 working days.
  • One Off Event Certificates:
    • One off Event Certificates can be issued to boats who wish to compete in just one race or regatta. This does not include a series.  Regatta dates must be stipulated on the application form and certificates will only be valid for the length of the regatta.

  • Upgrade Event Certificates to full season:

    • If an owner with a one off event certificate wishes to compete in more PHRF racing after the one off event, they can apply to upgrade their certificate to be valid for the remainder of the season.  The cost of this will be $35.

  • Re Registrations (Change of ownership):

    • When a yacht with a current PHRF is sold, the new owner must complete and submit the online PHRF application form with the new owner details plus any boat/sail changes. There is no charge for this if the boat has a current PHRF certificate.  New owners are also required to register the change of ownership with Yachting New Zealand via the boat registration website page www.yachtingnz.org.nz/racing/boat-registration


New application






Urgent processing


One Off Event Certificate $50
Upgrade to full season $35
Re Registrations free

Submission of the form will take you to the YNZ online shop for secure payment by credit card on dps.  All applications must be paid for in full before the PHRF can be processed.

To be eligible for a PHRF handicap, boats must be registered on the Yachting New Zealand Register, under their current contact owner/syndicate name. For confirmation contact Kelly Mulcahy on (09) 361 1471.

Changes to PHRF for the 2018/19 season

Due to the growing number of boats racing shorthanded, this season we have added a Shorthanded TCF.  This TCF will be appropriate for scoring alongside open (fully crewed) divisions, however this is only available where an events Sailing Instructions specifically state its use for scoring in a division.

How is my PHRF calculated?

There are two components to a PHRF.  First, the 'PHRF range for the design' and second, performance information from the racing a boat has done.

The PHRF range for the design is an assessment by the PHRF committee of the potential of a boat design.  Both a lower and upper handicap limit is set and a boat’s PHRF will not be allowed to fall outside this range.  Typically, a variation of 1.8% from the midpoint of a range is permitted, or.  For designs like the Farr 1020 or Young 88, this would mean a boat may vary by about 0.013 from the midpoint of the design range.

The level of variation permitted for designs will be periodically reviewed by the CIORC committee.

The second component, the boats race history is used as follows.

Racing over the prior 24 months is considered in the calculation.

If there is no racing available in this period, the boat shall be placed at the 1/2 point of her design range.  For example, if a boats design range were 0.700 - 0.740, a boat with no race history would be given a PHRF of 0.720.

Where racing exists, an overall 'sailed to' calculation is made, aggregating how the boat performed in individual races over the prior 24 months.  The PHRF committee gives higher weighting to high profile events and the most recent 12 months is also weighted more than the earlier 12 months.

Where fewer than five races have been recorded, the design range is restricted further.  For example, if a boats design range was from 0.800 - 0.850 but only one race completed, the range would be further limited to 0.820 - 0.830, after two races 0.815 - 0.835 and so forth.

Finally a 'scaling' algorithm is then used to set the PHRF within the design range.  For example, if a boats performance history indicates a PHRF close to the mid-point, then her handicap will be very close to the sailed to' calculation.  If it indicates a handicap closer to or over a limit, the handicap will be within the range but will not vary from the design assessment mid-point as much as the 'sailed to' calculation would indicate.

How is the PHRF design range set?

Once you have submitted your application, all of the measurement data is assessed. Where a new application relates to a boat that may be a standard class with standard measurements and such boats exist in the PHRF system then a TCF similar to the ¾ point of the range for the class will be given.  If there are changes in measurements that may affect her performance then the TCF may be adjusted up or down as the case may be.  

For new designs or designs new to New Zealand the precise mechanism varies from boat to boat depending on exactly what information is available.  Possible inputs include:

  • The measurement information is used to determine similar boats
  • Any existing measurement ratings such as IRC or ORC may be used 
  • Any race history for that boat or any boat of the same design, both locally or offshore may be used
  • The knowledge and experience of the PHRF Committee members will also influence the initial PHRF design range.

Do I have to revalidate my PHRF?

  • If you are revalidating your certificate, the race results from the previous 2 years are used to calculate the TCF for the following season.
  • The current PHRF year is 1 June in one year to 31st May the following year.  Revalidation is required each year.

How often are PHRFs reviewed?

The PHRF software will automatically review all boats on the following dates: 15th September, 15th December & 15th February.   In addition, individual event entrants will be reviewed at the request of the event organising authorities. The exception is where no information is provided for these boats, for example if there are very few race results in the system for the boat, either because the boat isn't racing, or because the club isn't submitting results. Owners of these boats need to first check with their club, and then write in for a review.

Can I request a review of my PHRF?

A review will be considered by the PHRF Committee and CIORC.  Supporting information must be provided.  Reviews can take up to 15 working days.

Requests are to be forwarded in writing to Kelly Mulcahy

Can I request a review of another boat’s PHRF?

An owner of a boat may request a review of another boat’s PHRF.   The review will be considered by the PHRF Committee and CIORC.  Supporting information must be provided by the person requesting the review.  The owner of the boat to be reviewed will be contacted and given a chance to submit their supporting information.  Requests are to be forwarded in writing to Kelly Mulcahy.  Reviews can take up to 15 working days.   

Are there any Rules that yachts racing in PHRF must comply with?

The PHRF Rules should be read:

  • When applying for a PHRF
  • While racing
  • When considering a measurement configuration protest against another PHRF competitor
  • Having made changes to any declared  measurement
  • Download the Rules through the link at the top of this page

What are the two different TCF’s on a PHRF certificate?

In 2015 CIORC reduced the number of TCFs from three to just two.  They are now In-shore, Passage and Shorthanded.  

  • Inshore relates to races less than 25nm
  • Passage relates to races greater than 25nm
  • Shorthanded - available when an events Sailing Instructions specifically state its use for scoring in a divison

CIORC have also added a Special PHRF which can be made available upon request to CIORC from a race organising authority where the organising authority considers neither inshore nor passage PHRF to be appropriate for their event.  The Special PHRF shall be based on the criteria requested by the organising authority, for example, offshore races.

Why has PHRF changed from a three number to a two number system?

In reviewing the PHRF system and considering complaints received over the past five years, the CIORC committee concluded that a major area of dissatisfaction was with both offshore and short handed handicaps and a significant part of the problem in this area was that there is simply not enough race data to use to generate rreasonable PHRF handicaps.  The limitation also prevented implementation of a consistent and objective means of setting handicaps going forward.

A range of options of how to categorise PHRF racing was considered.  The conclusion was that there is no one right answer, however there were enough designs racing under PHRF whose characteristics varied significantly between shorter and longer races to justify separate handicaps.  The decision to have a two handicap system, splitting racing based on distance and the split to be approximately at 25 miles was the committees best assessment to meet the varying demands of quantity of data and how designs perform on shorter and longer courses.

   Who else races under PHRF and what is their handicap?

A full list of boats on the National Yacht Register with current PHRF handicaps is available via the link at the top of this page.

Where do the PHRF race results come from?

YNZ is reliant on clubs forwarding PHRF race results for the update procedure.  The integrity of the PHRF system relies on the regular provision of PHRF fleet results by clubs.

Why do I need to provide measurements?

*       When a PHRF certificate is issued it includes the measurements provided for the configuration of a boat at that time.  Because PHRF relies on the race results in order to determine the boats performance it is important that the configuration remains static so that the performance can be accurately assessed.  

*       PHRF Rules requires owners to notify changes so that a proper assessment can then be made.  If, for example, a boat changed from fractional to masthead spinnaker and the performance went up by 2% then a change would be justified more quickly than waiting for maybe 2 or 3 race results.

*       It also enables other competitors to see if a boat has had non notified changes and thus be subject to a possible protest.

Are PHRF certificates generally available?

Each boat must carry a copy of the current PHRF certificate on board while racing. 

Organising Authorities are advised to require all owners to provide a copy of their valid certificate when entering a race or a series.  In this way the valid certificate is available to both OA’s and other competitors if required and in the case of a question arising as to a measurement issue.  This is the same requirement for any other national or international rating/handicap system. 

Yachting New Zealand will publish on the Yachting New Zealand website PHRF details including the TCF’s plus boat and sail measurements.

I have made changes to my boat but it doesn’t affect my submitted measurements. Do I need to declare it?

Changes that could reasonably be expected to change a boat’s performance, including changes that may not affect any measurement such as a new rudder, modified keel, square top main should still be declared and noted as a change.  The change may not cause modification to a PHRF, but in most circumstances though it is likely to.

Do races that aren't run under PHRF count towards your race history? ie. if two boats in a division of ten have entered under PHRF, and the club submits the results, does it count?  

In most cases, where four or more boats in the race have a current or recent PHRF, yes.

How does PHRF in New Zealand relate to PHRF in other countries?

The PHRF system used in New Zealand is designed specifically for racing in this country. There is no relationship with systems used in other countries, and New Zealand uses local performances based on time on time.