John Earnest in his Gale V Team article for the ERCU website a year or so back, laments the size of our rule book. This basic conversation often goes back to the time when the RCU rules were less than a page long and how ever did we get to where we are today? What I am going to suggest to you here is that there is nearly always a reason why things are the way they are and those reasons lay in history, albeit ancient history, of our hobby in the Pacific Northwest:
In the beginning, heat racing of radio controlled scale unlimited hydroplanes was a dream of the Czar, Roger Newton. Ultimately in the very early 1970’s he had built two 1/8 Scale Unlimited hydroplanes that competed in the NAMBA C-Hydro class in District 8. One was his SLO-MO-SHUN IV and the other was Monte Steer’s SLO-MO-SHUN V. At that time, the rule book for RC racing in the Northwest and in fact all over the country was the NAMBA rule book which was then very much more than one page at the time and has itself since grown . What John is remembering is the eighth scale rules which at that time were the RC Unlimited rules that set forth the District wide rules for the scale unlimited class with regard to RCU membership, boat registration and hull design within NAMBA District 8. At this time, the scale boats were just part of the C-Hydro Class and the racing rules were NAMBA’s. The scale boats quickly became more popular and tended to outnumber the “classic” outriggers and Dragonflies of the C-Hydro Class. One thing then led to another and in a few short years, Scale Unlimited Hydro became a class of its’ own, with its own dedicated section in the NAMBA rule book and RCU became an independent club. The RCU rules then only dealt with the club itself, a few particulars on the conduct of races not covered in the NAMBA rules (adopted from the District 8 (RCU) scale rules) and of course the membership and boat registration rules.
By the mid 1980’s there were a number of scale racers in RCU that were members of big unlimited crews or were themselves racing outboards and limited hydro’s. Once it was determined that the APBA would provide the necessary individual liability insurance to RC racers as part of their APBA membership and venue insurance for far less cost than NAMBA, now all of a sudden APBA became the parent organization for insurance purposes. At the time, APBA had virtually no rules for radio control. For this reason, a new rule book had to be written for RCU to fill in the vacuum left by no longer having a NAMBA Rule Book to fall back on. Surprise, 20+ pages of rule book.
Since ERCU was founded by RCU racers and our original sanctioning body was APBA, it should come as no surprise that the ERCU Rule Book should follow the parent club’s example with regard to the rule book. And even after switching our allegiance back to NAMBA (for financial and insurance reasons) our members have been unwilling to support editing the duplications out of our rule book. In fact we have gone on to add additional rules to better deal with the transgressions of some of our members.
Today when one looks at the ERCU rule book, you will find the content of NAMBA Rule Book Chapters 8A, 8B, 9, 12,16, 17, 21B and 28 E.7 plus ERCU club specific membership, sportsmanship, registration and event administration rules.
Maybe this can lead you all to an epiphany.