This website provides "MDR Cruising Ratings" that can be used instead of PHRF ratings. The biggest difference between "Cruising Ratings" and PHRF ratings are some adjustments for standard cruising gear, such as fixed prop or roller-furling sails. The MDR Cruising Class is a separate class that is independent of PHRF and has its own rules and polices that apply to "Cruising class" races.


The idea of special ratings for "Cruising" boats in Marina del Rey was promoted in the early 1990s by Wayne Warrington as a transition for new racers. At the time, it was expected that such sailors would eventually move into PHRF or a one-design class. However, over the years so-called "cruising class" racing has become a well-established part of local racing for less-skilled and less-serious racers. MDR Cruising Ratings are intended to provide standardized ratings that any club can use to run their "cruising class" races (i.e., non-PHRF races). "Cruising class" races are intended as "fun" racing for those sailors less interested in taking sailboat racing seriously and the rules and policies reflect that. Serious and highly-skilled racers are generally expected to sail in PHRF or one-design classes.


Different types of boats go different speeds. A handicapping or rating system attempts to apply a handicap rating to each boat such that if all boats are equally well sailed then they should all finish at the same time. The predominant system in Southern California is the Performance Handicap Racing Fleet of Southern California ("PHRF" or "SoCal PHRF"). PHRF assigns ratings that are expressed in terms of seconds per mile of course length. So, a boat with a rating of 30 will have her finish time decreased by 30 sec/mi for each mile of the course. For a 4-mile course, her "corrected" time will be equal to her "finish" time (or "elapsed" time) decreased by 4 x 30 or 120 seconds. The boat with lowest corrected time wins.


Some clubs may want to require that boats have current, valid ratings assigned by SoCal PHRF in order to race. The MDR Cruising Ratings anticipate this requirement with "validated" ratings. For more information, see the detailed Cruising Ratings page (link below).


Some boats may want to race in a non-spinnaker configuration against boats using spinnakers. A club may want to adjust the ratings for such boats by allowing them to declare "non-spinnaker" and be scored using a "non-spinnaker" rating. The MDR Cruising Ratings anticipate this and in addition to its standard ratings (buoy and random leg) each boat is assigned two additional ratings – buoy non-spinnaker and random leg non-spinnaker. The regular ratings always apply unless both the Notice of Race and the Sailing Instructions specifically provide for the use of non-spinnaker ratings. To allow the use of non-spinnaker ratings, both the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions must include additional specific wording deailing with non-spinnaker declaration and scoring. For sample language, see recommendations for race committees.


To increase accuracy, there are two types of MDR Cruising Ratings: buoy and random leg. "Buoy" ratings are intended to be used when the course configuration is approximately 50% windward/50% leeward. This will be true for a typical buoy race but might also be true for other races as well – such as the CYC Sunset Series races or a race to the Scripps Institute buoy at Squirrel Bank. If no significant portion of a race will be "close-hauled upwind" and/or "dead downwind" than the "random leg" ratings will probably be more appropriate. Ultimately, it is up to the club running the race to decide which of the two types of ratings to use. For many boats, the two types of ratings will be the same. If the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions do not specifically refer to either "buoy" or "random leg" ratings then buoy ratings shall be used for scoring. For sample language, see recommendations for race committees.


The "Cruising Ratings" that are assigned take standard PHRF-type ratings for each boat and make adjustments for some typical cruising-type gear that boats might have. The resulting ratings are "Cruising Ratings" that can be used to score "Cruising" or "Cruising Class" races (not PHRF races). "Cruising class" races that use MDR Cruising Ratings are not sailed under PHRF and the SoCal PHRF Class Rules do not apply to such races. Instead, the rules and policies set forth on these pages apply and have the status of "class rules" under the Racing Rules of Sailing. Boats without MDR Cruising Ratings shall be scored either with some arbitrary penalty rating (such as -99) or as DNF. During 2019, the only ratings that qualify as "Cruising Ratings" are 2019 ratings. If a club uses non-2019 ratings then it is assigning its own ratings and is running a PHRF race; the rules and policies of the MDR Cruising Class don't apply to such a race but the PHRF class rules would apply.

Based on the original intent of the "Cruising class" rating system, almost any boat can participate in a "Cruising class" race, it is more about crew-skill then it is boat type. However, highly-skilled racers and all-out racing boats aren't really in the spirit of the class and may not be assigned ratings. In addition, it is up to each individual club to decide whether it wants to exclude certain competitors or boats from its "Cruising" or "Cruising class" races (the effect of which would be to require the boat or competitor to sail in PHRF or some other class). We merely provide Cruising Ratings and, in general, do not make any determination as to whether it would be appropriate for a particular boat or competitor to be sailing in a "Cruising" or "Cruising class" race – that is up to the club running the race.

For more detailed information on "Cruising Ratings" (including a list of currently assigned ratings) and to apply for 2019 "Cruising Ratings," see the Cruising Ratings page.


The "Cruising" concept is "race what you own." Therefore, it is not expected that a boat will change the rated configuration during the course of a year. However, any change in configuration that would result in a lower rating must be reported before a boat can race with that configuration. More information is available on the Cruising Ratings page.


A page with recommendations for race committees is available and in addition to instructions on how to use MDR Cruising Ratings wording to be used in the Notice of Race and Sailing Instruction is provided.


For additional information, you can contact the Cruising Class Coordinator, Art Engel, at mdr-cruising[at] Please read all of the posted material on this site before contacting him as most commonly asked questions are specifically answered here.