PHRF Rating

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:

LOA: 35′

LWL: 30′

Beam: 11.8′

Draft: 6.9′

Displacement: 10033lbs

Ballast: 4400lbs

I: 46.5′

P: 41.6′

J: 14.7′

E: 14.0′

LP: 22.8′ (for the #1 Jib)

Spin Luff: 46.3′

Spin Girth: 26.4′

Spin Hoist: 46.4′

Pole length: 14.6′


Changing the Name- part 1

When we purchased the boat, the name she came with was Deja Blue. That name would have to go. After much discussion, we settled on Incorrigible. In order to change the name, the first step would have to be removing the old name. Luckily, the previous owner had used self-adhesive vinyl letters across the transom. Removing the lettering should be easy.

The old name, prior to starting work

Researching the process of removing vinyl letters, I found a ton of conflicting information. Some people insisted that heat was the only way to go. Others said soapy water in a spray bottle. Some people recommended dedicated vinyl removal chemicals.

Naming-striping tools

I opted for heat. I had a heat-gun from a non-boat project (ask me about waxing canvas clothing some time…), plus picked up a package of plastic razor-style scrapers. I also had a back-up spray bottle of soapy water, in case I found the vinyl was sticking back to the boat.

The entire process ended up being pretty easy. This morning was about 50F, and sunny. Using the heat-gun on low, I was able to get the scraper under a corner and lift each letter pretty effectively. It turns out the two-tone lettering was actually two layers of vinyl. Places where there was two layers was actually easier to remove, not harder. I did try spraying things down with the soapy water, but it didn’t seem to make a different.


Once I got the vinyl off, all that was left was some of the adhesive. I used a bottle of Goo-Gone and a paper towel to soften it, and then scraping with the plastic razor-scraper. Once I was finished, I hit the whole area with some Simple Green to make sure the Goo-Gone didn’t eat into the wax.

Once finished, I moved forward and striped of the old registration stickers. While the previous owner never bothered to put the state registration letters on the bow, he also never took the old registration stickers off, or laid them on top of each other. So, I had a white patch covering a stack of Maine registrations, plus a row of Maryland registrations from 2009-2015. All gone now.


Looking at the transom, there is some ghosting from the wax oxidizing around the old letters. I’ll probably have to buff, polish and wax the transom to get this off.

The next step will be to order and install the new name. I’ll probably have to wait until right before launching, since the weather has to be fairly warm (like above 60F). Worst case scenario, we sail a few days without the name, and install it later into the season, since the boat will be out of the water most of the time.