Last October Nick Hayes published a column, Imagine a PHRF System that is Fair, on the Sailing Magazine website. As an infrequent reader of Sailing Magazine I stumbled upon the column sometime after it was published and made a comment referencing the articles I have on this website. After posting I checked back for comments a couple of times, found none, and the column fell off my radar. Until the other day when I noticed one of my articles had an unusually large number of hits. Sure enough, there had been a few comments. Let me respond to them here.
Nick was the first to comment. He wrote, “I read your recommendations as a call for more information on more dimensions and continuous collection (review.)” If handicaps were based on a skipper/boat dimension that is based on actual performance, then less information is needed. The key information is the boat’s performance relative to other boat’s in the race. Each boat in the race has a handicap that is independent of the ratings of other boats but is dependent on how each boat in the race performs. Because each boat/skipper combination is unique, how the boat is equipped or not simply doesnot matter. What matters is how well the skipper sails the boat he has. If a skipper sails his boat as well or better than usual, the boat will finish higher in the fleet. Conversely, if the sails poorer than usual, the boat will finish lower in the fleet. That is the beauty of an individual handicap, the race becomes a matter of how well you sail the boat you have and not how deep your pockets are or how much time is spent in the yard long boarding the bottom.
Sometimes it is hard to believe that its been five years since we first saw Second Star on the hard in Buffalo. Susan and I had been talking about a larger boat for a few years with plans to sail out the St. Lawrence and down the east coast to winter in the Bahamas. Shortly after buying her I started a version of this website to chronicle our adventure and share what we learn about boats, traveling, and ourselves. We had a good start out of the box, but then the website began to languish. As it will do, life got in the way of life.
To answer the big question, yes we still plan to take our trip, we are just uncertain about when. About the time we purchased Second Star, our aging parents required more support. Both of us are from small families thus we needed and still need to care for them. This is one limit to our departure window. The other is our own health and age, we aren't getting younger.
A surveyor had pointed out the need to replace a failing exhaust hose on Second Star, the 1993 Sabre 362 I’d just bought. Complying with that recommendation had consumed my day. At first the work progressed as I’d hoped, both ends of the hose were easily accessible and within a few minutes I’d disconnected the hose and clipped the wire ties securing it. But then the battle began, with me losing at several attempts to remove the hose.
“Hey, Dave, I finished Whisper’s survey yesterday. Did you notice the rudder?” Well, of course I noticed the rudder. I won’t claim to have a surveyor’s eye, but I know enough to make sure the rudder turns smoothly and the bearings are tight.
“Yes, Shawn, I checked the bearings, looked fine to me.”
“Did you notice the crack on the trailing edge?”
“The broker didn’t notice it either.”
September. A month possessed of an uncertain identity. Today a reminder of summer, tomorrow hints of winter chill and damp are ushered on its shoulders. The whims of September make planning a challenge. With a warm southerly wind on a September Saturday, sailing is the order of the day. With a winter chill thoughts turn to staying warm and sailing southern waters. It was fitting that I headed to Buffalo, on a gray drizzly day.