Handicaps & Ratings

There are several handicap systems used throughout New Zealand. The three discussed below are the more common. Each has its own benefits and shortcomings. Clubs and individuals will need to decide which system suits them best.


The Performance Handicap Racing Fleet is based on results. There is no measurement involved in establishing the handicap although some measurements are recorded to maintain a record of the set up of the boats so that changes to the setup can be monitored and the handicap changed if the boat changes.

The handicap factor is calculated by a sub committee of Yachting New Zealand’s CIORC committee and recorded on a national database. 

More about PHRF here.


IRC is rating system increasing in popularity internationally, and designed to provide a broad system across the spectrum of yachts from cruising to cruiser / racer designs. 

More about IRC here.

General Handicap

General handicaps are generated from empirical data obtained from a variety of Clubs. In 2006 Yachting New Zealand completed a review of the data from a number of sources (Portsmouth List, NZTYA List, Victoria Yacht Club list, Horowhenua List) 

All handicapping systems rely on the Race Committee taking ‘elapsed’ times in minutes and seconds, converting these to minutes and decimal minutes,  multiplying by the ‘handicap factor’ and obtaining a ‘corrected’ time. The boat with the best corrected time is the winner.

For example...
Boat A elapsed time is 1hr. 30min 25sec. = 90.42 min
Boat B elapsed time is 1hr. 25min 50 sec. = 85.83 min
Boat A’s handicap is  0.85
Boat B’s handicap is  0.95
Boat A’s corrected time is 90.42 x .85 = 76.86 min
Boat B’s corrected time is 85.83 x .95 = 81.54 min
Boat A wins by 4.68 mins on corrected time

The various handicapping systems have different ways of achieving the ‘handicap factor’

Click here for a table which is derived from the lists below. The Weymouth list is our original list with a few additions thrown in as they came to light. It is more likely to be out of date than any other list.

The Portsmouth list is an American based list which was completely out of line with local lists. This list has therefore been factored by .828 in order to bring it into line with other lists. This was arrived at by averaging all the figures for which we had results in both the Portsmouth and other systems and arriving at an average multiplying factor.

The NZTYA list probably is one of the most valid lists available in New Zealand and is constantly monitored and updated, click here to go the NZTYA ratings page.

The Victoria Yacht Club list is from a yacht club in Australia and therefore has similar classes to NZ.

The Horowhenua list draws from a number of sources and is very valuable for that reason. However with regards to the local classes it relies mainly on the Weymouth system although there were differences between the two lists