Posted by: Stephanie Helms | February 4, 2016

US Sailing Annual Conference Day 2

February 3, 2016

Hello again from San Diego on a warmer and more meeting filled day.

It was hard to cover everything today. The Championships and US PHRF meetings were held at the same time, and the Government Relations Committee met against the Training and Championships committees in the afternoon. I attended the US PHRF meeting and the Government Relations meeting, along with the final Regional Sailing Associations meeting in the morning.

Key points:


  • Former PHRF-NE Chief Handicapper John Collins is on the US PHRF committee.
  • PHRF ratings nationwide do vary naturally because of local sailing conditions, eg. Prevailing wind strength, availability of course configurations.
  • Sail Area/Displacement ratios should play a part in class breaks along with rating numbers: mixing “sport boats” (light displacement, plenty o’ canvas) and other monohulls in the same class makes for angst. (quoth Stan Honey)
  • The SAP/US Sailing data project may have an impact in the fairness of ratings if the app is widely adopted and the performance database grows as a result.

Governmental Affairs:

  • Boating While Impaired is a key enforcement priority for the USCG. Don’t compromise your safety.
  • US Sailing has developed recognized and accepted American National Safety Institute Standards for powerboat training courses. The same standards are in the pipeline for both human-powered and sailing vessels, likely to be rolled out within the next eighteen months. This means that training programs adhering to these standards will be generally recognized as effective in promoting safety, fulfilling the aims of boating safety regulation.
  • Biobutanol is a coming thing that may replace ethanol as a biomass fuel additive. Safer, and non-corrosive.
  • The Coast Guard has a mobile app. It is very cool. Float plans, navigational aids, a bunch of stuff.
  • The Coast Guard can get very cranky if you make them so. Sailing schools and clubs should do everything they can to develop good relations with their local USCG port superintendents.
    US Sailing is continuing to work with the Maritime Law Association to develop a pass-through program permitting operators of uninspected passenger vehicles (OUPV) in an educational setting to be afforded latitude within specific areas.
    Anything so developed will require new legislation. This is a delicate process, and will take time. Clubs and organizations should work with port captains in their area to work toward their best public outcome within existing law.
  • Following up on the Mallory Adult Champs, NE Sailing’s deadline to submit a nominee is August 15. We’d love to do this on the water. If your club or group has a team, please let me know soon, as it would help me let potential host clubs know how many competitors to expect. SailMaine has indicated a willingness to host in their J 22s, but I would like to invite all clubs to submit a bid with a target date of 07/09, 07/10 or both as a potential qualifying regatta date. Bear in mind the equipment and crew limitations at the championship regatta. J/22s are most usually 4 person boats. As mentioned previously, RSAs nominate, but the Mallory committee is the final arbiter of who is invited to compete based on résumé and RSA recommendation.

More, much more, to follow, I suspect. The Annual Conference has concluded. At the Board of Directors Meeting, I was elected Area A representative for US Sailing, listening to sailors from the Adirondacks in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. US Sailing continues to build the sport with your help across the region. Together we sail. The Leadership Forum commences tomorrow.

Stephanie Helms


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