When I first began racing I was like most folks. All I was concerned with was figuring out the start sequence and getting my boat up and down the race course without getting my ass handed to me too badly (embarrassingly) or fouling other boats in the process. Both goals took a considerable amount of experience to accomplish and I still have much to learn.
I think it was the second race I was ever in; my trusty First Look, a Capri 22 wing keel standard rig, and I found ourselves in Fleet 1. Did I object? How could I? I had no idea how PHRF worked so, whatever. Fleet 1 is where the fast boats are. I must be really fast! Right? Absolutely wrong! Looking back on that experience and my knowledge now of PHRF and fleet management, I could not have been more misplaced in a fleet. First Look's PHRF which stands for "Performance Handicap Racing Fleet" was at 225. The fastest PHRF rating for a boat in Fleet 1 in that race was 28 for a Corsair F-28R, which is a racing trimaran. To give some perspective the F-28R will cruise under mainsail alone in the double digits. I was lucky to see 6 kts sliding sideways at top speed. The fact of the matter is that there were no boats that could compete with the F-28R in Fleet 1 that day. It was a turkey shoot. It was bad race management.