Hey guys! I’m so happy with the way the 2021 ERCU racing season has started, and I hope each of you is too.
It’s been a great start.
We’ve had solid racing, only a couple of accidents, limited attrition, and best of all – truly great turnouts. It’s always fun when there are a lot of boats at the races, but it’s fun to have the kind of camaraderie and fellowship that we’ve had this season.
I’m proud that we’ve welcomed the 1/7 scale division into ERCU as well. While there was more attrition than any of us would have liked in their first ERCU event – the Diamond Cup in Longview – the racers who attended were a great addition to the club. So … many thanks to them. Welcome to the club!
This brings me to my first point of this Chair Chatter: Sportsmanship.
Not that we’ve got a serious problem with it, but I just want to remind everyone that even when our emotions can sometimes get the best of us, it’s very important to keep our cool and practice good sportsmanship. There’s a whole section on sportsmanship in the rulebook. While the rules do seem a little heavy on the punitive side, that’s not the way we as members really want the club to operate.
So, let’s suffice it to remind everyone what the first point in the sportsmanship section says:
“The goal of the club is to encourage cordial competition; however, every boat owner, driver or crew member shall be subject to disciplinary action for unsportsmanlike conduct in connection with the regatta from the time of arrival at the race site until two hours after the completion of the contest.”
I also wanted to refresh the expectation of heat officials at our races. While we’re all volunteers, all human, and all doing the very best we can, we’re taking steps to help make sure that drivers know about their penalties within a lap. In fact, the club recently purchased six brand new, rechargeable, two-way radios for use between each turn judge and the chief referee. We’ll very briefly go over how to use them during driver’s meetings for a few races until we’re all comfortable with them.
There are just three officials needed to run each heat, as long as we all communicate well:
The appendices in our club rulebook – particularly the interpretations, driving etiquette and precedents sections – are very helpful and clarifying. I highly recommend refreshing your knowledge of those pages.
My final point in this Chair Chatter is – again – not meant to sound bossy or preachy, just a reminder.
Now that our fields are again growing and we’re having as many as five boats in a heat, a reminder about etiquette is probably fair game. It’s a reminder that each of us, when we overtake another boat, is responsible to do so safely and to avoid collisions.
As the rulebook says, “driver safety will be defined as the necessary techniques for running a race so that all boats may compete fairly with maximum assurance of finishing safely and without damage. Mastery and application of these techniques, even though the driver is separated from the boat, are the very essence of competitive skill (as in real racing) and will go far in increasing the pleasure and challenge of model racing competition. Driving a model boat should require the same care, precaution, and consideration for safety as is necessary in driving a life size boat, where lack of these factors could result in physical injury as well as boat damage.”
This essentially means the throttle works both ways. Being the fastest boat on the water, or the driver who is cool enough to keep the throttle pinned all the way around the course isn’t always the best – or safest – way to go. Please remember to use common sense and keep an eye out for dead boats, slow boats, or any other potential hazards on the racecourse.
Remember: We must finish heats to earn points.
The Seafair Cup is coming up next, and I for one, am pumped. Repairs on my boats after the brutal experience of the Diamond Cup for Cougar Racing Team are almost done and I’ll be ready to rock and roll in Lacey.
I hope to see you all at the races!
Tomorrow is race day y'all!
I'm so excited for the 2021 ERCU Racing Season to get underway. Jerry and Paul Dunlap have a great day planned for us at the Champion Spark Plug Regatta tomorrow, back at it's regular home - Fort Borst Park in Centralia.
Several of us will be there early with Steven Taylor delivering the club trailer right around 7 a.m., Dunny, Paul and I arriving around the same time. The goal is to have the race course set by as close to 8 a.m. as possible, and we'll get the pits and the official barge set up early too.
Knocking on wood while I type this: It looks like the weather will actually be decent this year, too! Overcast skies and a high of 61 degrees are in the forecast - and have been for a few days now.
I wanted to share just a few thoughts as we all pack up our rigs for tomorrow's big day:
PRE-REGISTRATION: While it's not required, it seems to have been pretty popular so far. Thanks to those who have chosen to pre-register and pre-pay for the entry fees. Online pre-registration for the Champion Spark Plug Regatta has already accounted for 26 1/10 scale boats! It is pretty easy to imagine that there could be 30 or more 1/10 scale boats at tomorrow's race! If you'd like to pre-register, click here to do so. Again, it's not required, but it should save you time on Saturday morning, and it helps the club be prepared as well.
THREE MINUTE CLOCK: Just a quick reminder that we will again be using a three minute clock for all racing this season. Because we're anticipating big turnouts during the 2021 season, and we're thrilled to add the 1/7 scale starting at the Diamond Cup in Longview, race days will get much longer than they've been in the last few years. For this reason, once the three-minute clock starts, it will not be stopped for any reason other than health and safety. As usual, we will be sensitive to back-to-back heats, boat retrievals, etc., but please do your best to be ready for your heat so we can keep the day moving along.
HEAT DRAWS: Starting tomorrow, we'll begin again posting printed copies of the heat draws and/or use a big screen monitor so you can stop by the scoring tent to check out how the day is going. This posting will be at the official barge (scoring tent) to make it easy for everyone to have the updates. It's been suggested that we try to figure out how to push the heat draws out to members phones as well. That's something we definitely aspire to do, but may not be ready to do at tomorrow's race.
INSPECTIONS: If you have a new boat, or one that's undergone significant change during the winter that has not been inspected yet, please be sure to arrive early enough that you can have your boat(s) inspected prior to the drivers meeting. Inspections are primarily done by the club inspector - Robbie Roberts - but can be done by any board member if Robbie is unavailable or too busy. Boats are only required to be inspected if they are new to the club, new construction, or have had significant repairs and/or modifications since the last time it ran in the club.
NAMBA MEMBERSHIP: In order to race, you must be a member of NAMBA, which means if you haven't yet renewed (or obtained) your NAMBA membership for 2021, today's the last chance to do so. If you do it today, please print out the confirmation page and/or email you receive from NAMBA proving you've paid for your membership and bring it to registration at the race. There is also the option to purchase a single event insurance from NAMBA, but you can only utilize that once a year. Click here to take care of NAMBA membership online.
COVID PRECAUTIONS: We say it a lot, and we know all of you are cautious and smart about it, but please do pay attention to the club's Covid Guidelines. We will be watched at our events, not only by the jurisdictions that allow us to use their parks, but also by the public, so let's be smart and careful about the club's guidelines. It would be awful to lose a race site because we weren't following our own guidelines. Even worse if someone in our club got Covid. Yuck!
I think that's it from me today. I'm looking forward to being with you all again, and getting the boats wet. Let's have a great race day and may the best driver win!
The beginning of the 2021 ERCU Racing Season is so close we can almost taste it. The state seems to have gained a better understanding of Covid-19 and what we can and cannot do safely than what we knew a year ago, so unless something completely unexpected happens, it looks like we're going to be able to have a "normal" racing season in 2021!
Covid Considerations are Serious
Listen ... I get it -- we're all tired of the pandemic and can't wait to just go back to normal. Unfortunately, while we have made progress as a state, we aren't out of the woods yet. Our COVID GUIDELINES proved to be successful during the five races we were able to pull off last year, and we've updated them with the new state guidelines in mind to provide a certain level of comfort to the local jurisdictions that allow us to use their public parks for our events. It's critical that all of us -- vaccinated or not -- adhere to these guidelines as best we can because we will most certainly be watched. Whether you personally believe in masking up and physical distancing or not, it will be required at ERCU events because if we don't, we could lose race sites permanently. I know that sounds dramatic, but it's a very serious situation.
Speaking of that, the City of Centralia will require us to turn in a participants list for the purpose of contact tracing. In normal cases, we can use our registration list for that, but for Centralia, we'll also need to include phone numbers and email addresses, so Jerry Dunlap will ask each of us to sign in on the list. Thank you for your understanding.
We're trying something new this year: Pre-Registration for our races. There are a couple of reasons to try this. 1) It makes things easier, and quicker, on race day if we don't have to conduct on-site registration and can come to the event with the scoring program already loaded up with most - if not all - of the entries for the day. 2) This allows for easy online payment of your race registration fees through our PayPal platform. 3) The use of technology like this is attractive to younger members and those who we seek to attract to our club. Make no mistake, we'll still allow for on-site registration and take payment by cash or check. This is just another option for those who might like to use it.
Pre-Registration is currently open, and you can find the link on the Champion Spark Plug Regatta page by clicking here.
Busy Race Days Possible
With the addition of the 1/7 Scale Division to ERCU this winter, it's very possible that we'll have some busy race days during the 2021 season. Please plan for longer days than we're used to over the last few years. It appears that the days of final heats being done at 2 p.m. may be over.
We're more than excited to welcome the 1/7 Scale Division to ERCU's membership and are looking forward to seeing them at the races this year. Many of the 1/7 Scale racers also have 1/10 Scale hulls, so we'll certainly see more boats in the club's primary division too!
There's also the likelihood that we'll have a few 1/8 scale FEs at ERCU events again this year. We'll handle the 1/8 scale similarly to the way we did it last year. If there are 1/8 scale boats at an event, we'll give them time to run together. If daylight begins to run short and the day begins to drag on, we'll scratch the 1/8 scale from the racing program. These will be exhibition runs that are not registered or scored.
In Person Awards Presentation
If you haven't yet heard, we will present the 2020 season awards in person during an extended lunch break during our race day at Fort Borst Park. This will be an opportunity to hand out the season awards from last year in person, and celebrate the season that we were able to have together. The club will provide lunch for those who would like one.
As a reminder, our 2020 Award winners are:
This year, with a full racing schedule anticipated, we're going to begin using the club trailer and equipment again. In order to keep physical distancing, we're still not going to use the scaffolding until we're given the all-clear by the state, but the rest of our equipment will be at each event in 2021.
I want to publicly thank a couple of members who've been awesome in regards to our trailer. First, Steven Taylor. For the last couple of years, the trailer has been stored (mostly indoors) at Steven's place in Rochester. He also spent some significant time last year working on repairs to the trailer, new wheel bearings, repairs to the chase boat and acquiring a new electric motor and deep cycle battery. His help has been deeply appreciated. Steven is planning to pull the trailer to Centralia for us.
Secondly, many thanks go out to Bill Mowatt who stepped up to pull the trailer to each race, and store it at his place between races this season. It's critical to have people willing to provide that kind of help for club events, so I'm grateful to both Steven and Bill. Thanks you guys!
As you continue to get your boats ready for the season, and do that last-minute testing, it's probably appropriate to remind you all to handle some last minute things including your membership & boat registrations (1/10 scale and 1/7 scale) for the season, renewing your NAMBA membership, etc.
My last Chairman's Chatter (click here to read) has a full list of those reminders.
Thanks everyone. See you at the races!
Jeez guys, it wasn't long ago when we were at the last race of the abbreviated 2020 season and Robbie Roberts said to me, "April will be here before we know it".
He was right. It's already late February and April is almost here.
Proof of that: As I write this Chairmans Chatter, there are just 38 days until the 2021 ERCU season-opening Champion Spark Plug Regatta at Fort Borst Park in Centralia.
With that, I'd like to offer a few reminders to each of you. Things that will need to get done before the season starts, so you'll guarantee yourselves of a smooth beginning to the year.
OK . . . I know that all came across kind of heavy, but it had to be said. I now return you to the fun of what y'all are doing this winter!
See you in Centralia!