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!