In order to race, it appears there are 3 major registrations that I have to take care of: a regional/national racing organization, a local race organizer, and someone to grant a PHRF rating.
For the regional/national racing organization, this isn’t strictly necessary, but some races require a US Sailing registration, or a Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association (CBYRA) membership. Both typically save you some money on registrations. I ended up registering for US Sailing because I didn’t do enough research. Right end-result, but not the best method to get there.
Second, is the local race organizer. For Baltimore city, the choice is basically just the Baltimore City Yacht Association (BCYA). BCYA hosts racing on Tuesday nights. I’ll be joining there when they open the registration for 2016.
Finally, is the Performance Handicapping Rating Fleet (PHRF) rating. In order for different boats to race against each other, a couple handicapping systems were developed. The most common for amateur racing is PHRF. The score granted is the amount of time, in seconds, subtracted from your elapsed time, for each mile of the course’s length. This sounds great, until you realize that everyone else also has a handicap, so while you may get 140 seconds removed from your time for each mile of sailing, the next boat may get 135 seconds removed.
The J/35 handicap on the Chesapeake Bay is 72 seconds/mile. I know that. It’s published. A dozen other J/35s have exactly the same PHRF.
It doesn’t matter.
In order to complete the application, you have to complete a fairly detailed application. Then they crunch the numbers and return the same score every other identical boat has. They ask you for all of the sail and boat dimensions (J, P, I, E, ISP, SL, SMG, SPL, LOA, LWL, displacement, ballast, beam). And, thus, I discovered why all the J/35s have the same rating: they are a class-rules boat. They often race against each other. And there are sites that list all these dimensions. So, everyone probably copied the same info into the form.
Registration cost all of $20. Rumor has it, they take a long time to reply, and I’ll probably start racing on a provisional rating until mine is finalized.
For the record:
LP: 22.8′ (for the #1 Jib)
Spin Luff: 46.3′
Spin Girth: 26.4′
Spin Hoist: 46.4′
Pole length: 14.6′