The Sailing Yacht Research Foundation (SYRF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the science behind sailing. In keeping with its mission statement to improve the accuracy of handicapping formulae, SYRF aims to sponsor innovative research that will generate new insights into the science underlying the performance of sailboats. Furthermore, findings from SYRF sponsored projects should be incorporated into existing handicapping formulae to improve the equity of yacht racing.

For those interested in partnering with SYRF, contact Larry Rosenfeld to learn more about the project proposal guidelines and process. All submissions will be reviewed by the Advisory Council and Board of Directors for approval.


Spurred on by the gap in transparent and modern handicap scoring tools, SYRF is developing a one-stop-shop mobile tracker and analytics application. The functionalities of the SYRF Race Tracker and Analysis Mobile App will be multi-fold, delivering unprecedented capabilities to Race Committees, sailors, and spectators.

This app will provide automated real-time handicap scoring for all scoring types and handicap systems, greatly reducing the workload of Race Committees and providing sailors with instant insight into their performance on the race course.

The H0 project aims to better understand the impact of weather on handicap scoring. Many races, such as those that are scored by PCS, often require predicting the conditions that yachts will experience throughout the race. Rather than guessing in advance, H-0 data can be used to fill in that table of values. The procedure involves routing the fleet of competitors at each release of the H0 data (H0 data represents the initialization stage weather observations that are used to initialize the forecast models that then predict the next 6 hours to 15 days of conditions in each GRIB file, depending on the forecast model).

Since testing a number of races and working with Expedition Marine to improve processes for scoring a fleet efficiently, SYRF is planning a test in a real offshore race called the Spirit of Bermuda Rally on July 6, 2020. The event will feature boats starting from near Rhode Island and the mouth of the Chesapeake at the same time racing to Bermuda and the returning asynchronously, at the time of the skipper’s choosing. Stay tuned for results from this first running of an official race on different courses, start times, weather and boat polars all scored in a single race.

The goal of this study is to investigate which level of CFD tools will be required to generate data with sufficient accuracy to drive the a performance prediction program to success. Specifically, PPP will compare the results for two types of CFD tools, panel code versus RANS. Using a simpler panel code will require many less man hours, and thereby be more cost efficient than a more demanding RANS code. Thus the study aims to provide guidelines for which data could be generated by a panel code, and which data necessitates the use of RANS. The study will provide guidelines for the most cost effective implementation of a performance prediction tool  against a documented and understood trade-off in accuracy.

The current plan is postponed until after the AC36 (America’s Cup #36 in 2021).


Sailing performance data is an important validation tool for yacht handicappers to compare predicted boat performance with observed boat performance. However, this data has never been shared publicly or in a centralized location. SYRF intends to not only provide a convenient platform for collecting this data from individual boats but also for sharing this data with the sailing design and research community.


The Sailing Yacht Research Foundation (SYRF) is publicly sharing the design of a 14 Meter wide and light hull. SYRF hopes that the entire sailing community will use this as an educational exercise to better understand the capabilities and limitations of current performance prediction tools.

The 14M Project was conceived as a follow up from the 2015 SYRF Wide Light Project, which provided the design and research community with a means of validating computational fluid dynamics (CFD) codes against a towing tank model. By making public the hull surface files and rig dimensions, SYRF hopes that designers and researchers can once again collaborate to improve their understanding of CFD’s ability to accurately predict the performance of wide and light designs.

Over the 2016-2017 sailing season, the Sailing Yacht Research Foundation (SYRF) has worked with a group of multihull owners and representatives to explore the most accurate methodology for predicting the performance of offshore multihulls.

SYRF is excited to announce a new program for the summer 2016 racing season. In partnership with KND Sailing Performance, SYRF is offering free instrument calibration reports and course wind analysis to yachts willing to share log data with SYRF. These reports will improve sailors' understanding of local wind conditions and will improve the quality of data collected and displayed by on-board instruments. Collected boat logs will form the basis for a new SYRF performance database that will be available through the SYRF website for use by handicappers and researchers.

Phase Two will build upon the successfully completed Downwind Aero Moments & Forces Phase One, which used fluid-structure interaction (FSI) modeling to produce a publicly available set of results comprised of all the aerodynamic moments and forces for a range of downwind sails, angles, and wind speeds. Phase Two will measure the moments and forces of yachts sailing at tighter apparent wind angles than were measured in Phase One. Phase Two will also capture the effects of modifying sail girths and will develop the technology necessary to accurately capture aerodynamic forces in the case of unsteady flow.

Current aero VPPs are limited in their ability to accurately predict downwind aerodynamic performance. It is the goal of this project to collaborate with the world's leading sailmakers to leverage their advanced Fluid-Structure-Interaction (FSI) tools to produce a publicly available set of results comprised of all the aerodynamic moments and forces for a range of downwind sails, angles, and wind speeds. This data can be used to improve the accuracy of existing VPP tools.

This project provides insight into the accuracy of existing modeling methods in predicting performance of Wide-Light designs. It is intended for this information to better inform and equip handicapping systems and box rules to address Wide-Light designs.
Five stakeholders performed blind CFD analysis on an identical test matrix using different codes and approaches. The same test matrix was run as a tank test for both canoe body only and appended configurations as a control for the hull geometry. The CFD results were compared with the tank test control results to determine CFD model accuracy. This project illustrated the accuracy of commercial CFD codes in predicting the forces on a Wide-Light sailing yacht. Additionally, this project provides a comprehensive set of data against which researchers may develop and validate their own numerical tools.

The SYRF Library is a central repository for research data, articles, papers, and other performance related information. A core part of SYRF's mission is to catalog the science underlying sailing performance and to make this information accessible to the sailing community through the Library.

SYRF co-sponsored the 22nd CSYS conference held March 18-19, 2016 at the US Naval Academy. CSYS was co-sponsored by the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) and featured work from some of the world's top talent in design, engineering and research as well as a keynote address from Gary Jobson. The papers presented at the conference are now available online through the SYRF Technical Resources Library.

In 2005, SYRF executed an experimental program with the Wolfson Unit at the University of Southhampton wind tunnel to explore the aerodynamic forces on upwind sails with particular focus on the effect of heel angle.

In 2010, the New York Yacht Club Handicap Rule Committee launched an effort to develop a handicapping rule designed specifically for purpose-built high-performance yachts. The High Performance Rule (HPR), developed in cooperation with the ORC, is the product of the committee's efforts and is now used in regattas across the globe.

Help ensure our research and development continues