Our January Winter Meeting is set for this Sunday, Jan. 17 at 11 a.m. The meeting will be on Zoom, and it’s open to all. Please feel free to attend if you’re interested. Click here to see the agenda for the upcoming meeting.
I’m excited to share that there has been quite a bit of interest in ERCU from new and potential new members during this offseason. I’m also optimistic that we will be able to have a season this year, based on the information from the Governor’s office that says outdoor motorsports are still permitted even during Phase I of the new re-opening plan. Race Coordinator Jerry Dunlap is working hard with all of the locals to get a race schedule put together, and we’re sharing our Safe Racing Plan, which was successful during the shortened 2020 season that we were able to have.
I look forward to the meeting on Sunday and hope to see many of you on Zoom!
Here’s the Zoom information:
Meeting ID: 846 418 9312
By phone: (253) 215-8782
With six members joining in on the fun, the ERCU Board of Directors on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2020 conducted its Winter Meeting for the month. By all accounts, the meeting was productive and appreciated.
The main highlights of club business conducted by the board included a change to the club's motor rule (which keeps current motors legal), action to forward proposed changes to the club's bylaws to the membership for approval, and the creation of a new race event that will serve to recognize members of ERCU who have passed away.
New Motor Rule
After surveying the membership for opinions about changing the motor rule to be in complete alignment with the NAMBA P-Limited motor rules, the board and members in attendance had a long conversation about potentially change. It was agreed that something needed to be done, as current motors are not readily available any longer. That's a situation that's not expected to be rectified as the Dynamite 1500kv and Aquacraft 1500kv motors currently on our approved list are no longer in production.
The new rule, approved unanimously by the board and agreed to by those who offered feedback online, and on the Zoom Winter Meeting, is as follows, and replaces the current motor rule in our rulebook, effective immediately.
These dimensions and specifications include the Himax, Dynamite and Aquacraft 1500kv motors, making them all still legal for use in the club.
Rick Evans and Nelson Holmberg worked on, and presented a number of proposed changes to the ERCU Bylaws, which would serve to not only modernize the document - which hasn't been updated since January 2004 - but also provides for improved systems for changes to club rules, club bylaws and appeals, which involve club members more than ever before.
A document of the bylaws will be sent via email to all members in the coming days for review and feedback. A voting function will be set up online for a vote of the members, and that link will be sent as a part of the email distribution.
Detroit Memorial Proposal
Brad Lewis and David Newton have been working on a way to honor members of ERCU who have passed away and to keep their memories with us into the club's future. On Sunday, the two proposed the idea of putting on a "Detroit Memorial Regatta" as a regular part of the ERCU schedule, beginning in 2021. This event would provide the club opportunities to memorialize those members who have passed away, without having to create "Memorial" races for each of them. The proposed site for the race is Longview, given its easy access from both the Seattle and Portland markets and the site's general popularity among our members. Concerns about the safety of the launch area at Longview were discussed and the club committed to explore remedies of this with the City of Longview to see what could be done to improve it.
All involved in the Winter Meeting agreed it was a good idea, and the board voted unanimously to commit to supporting the proposal as presented, and to authorize $100 to assist with site improvements.
It was a good Winter Meeting, and all who attended were welcome to weigh in, which provided true transparency for everyone involved.
The January Winter Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021 at 11 a.m., again via Zoom.
All ERCU members, and interested parties, are welcome to attend the second Winter Meeting of the 2020-21 ERCU offseason, Sunday, Dec. 13 at 11 a.m.
Offseason meetings are no longer known as "board meetings", and instead being called "Winter Meetings", because it's the board's desire for these meetings to be inviting and open to all who would like to attend. While there is an agenda to help keep the meeting mostly on track, member feedback is always welcome.
The meeting will be virtual on Zoom (click here for the meeting link). Telephone call in access can be accomplished by dialing (253) 215-8782. The meeting ID is 668 946 9049 and password is ERCU2020.
This month's agenda includes discussion of changes to the ERCU Bylaws, which have not been amended since 2004. Most of the changes are cleaning up and modernizing, but there is also language that adds much more member interaction in changing rules and bylaws in the future. To see the proposed changes to the bylaws, click the link below. Proposed changes are marked with blue text or green text throughout the document.
The meeting's agenda also includes discussion, and perhaps a decision, on a change to the club's motor rule. This change would be a shift to NAMBA's current P-Limited rule, which allows for a much larger number of eligible motors that are more available on the open market.
The suggested change would include all motors that are currently legal within ERCU.
As a result of a lengthy conversation about motors, the club board recommended a member review of the NAMBA P-Limited approved motors, which most closely match the motors we use.
The change is on the agenda for this month's meeting, and it could be voted on at this meeting. There is a bit of a sense of urgency, since it's already December, and people will need to plan for ordering motors, testing and potentially changing setups before the 2021 season starts.
The agenda for the December Winter Meeting is available by clicking below. We encourage anyone who's interested in attending the meeting virtually to feel free to do so.
As a reminder, the 2021 ERCU Board of Directors has been selected and is: Chair: Nelson Holmberg. Secretary: Rick Evans. Registrar/Treasurer: Ron Daum. Race Coordinator: Jerry Dunlap. Statistician: Len Taylor. Inspector: Robbie Roberts. At Large: Bill Mowatt.
Hope to see many of you at the Winter Meeting on Sunday!
We officially brought the 2020 ERCU racing season to a close on December 6, with a virtual happy hour to present awards and share some camaraderie.
The small group of members who attended had a great time sharing stories of racing, memories of Harry Gatjens, Roger Newton, Howard Price, Ron Erickson and others, and celebrating the winners of the 2020 ERCU Season Awards.
This year, we recognized our traditional awards and handed out Top 8 for modern, Top 9 for classic and top 11 for vintage. With our abbreviated racing schedule - due to the Covid-19 pandemic - we wanted to recognize all who participated in each class.
Season champions in each class include:
ERCU Contest Director of the Year: Len Taylor was given this award, having sacrificed his own racing at three events this year in order to keep things moving, and officiating every heat at the Champion Spark Plug Regatta, Gold Cup and Roger Newton Memorial. Len also made sure the critical equipment was on site for our races and set up and broke down the official barge at each event.
ERCU Most Improved Driver: Mick Shutt participated in one race this year before returning to Arizona during the summer hiatus of racing, but was recognized for his improvement during that event.
ERCU Sportsmanship Award: Paul Dunlap was given this year's sportsmanship award after having captained the chase boat - exclusively - at three of our five races, always being willing to lend a helping hand, picking up the buoys at all five races, and simply displaying a positive attitude and great sportsmanship all season long.
ERCU Rookie of the Year: We continued our tradition of recognizing the best rookie in each class this year, and the choices were pretty clear.
ERCU Hall of Fame: The 2020 inductee into the ERCU Hall of Fame is Robbie Roberts. Robbie has made a significant difference in the club, both on and off the water, for years. He's consistently up front, brings new boats to the club, always helpful to both the club and to other racers, brings a positive attitude and friendliness, serves the board of directors as inspector, has a solid knowledge of the rulebook, and provides first-rate representation of members when it comes time to decisions the board has to make.
While it's truly too bad we could not gather in person this year to celebrate the awards winners and another racing season, those who were able to attend did have fun with the virtual version of our awards gathering.
As Robbie often has said in the last month, "April will be here before we know it", so start thinking about your winter boat work. We'll see you at the races in 2021!
To see the PowerPoint slides that we shared on the Happy Hour, please click below.
This Sunday (Dec. 6) at 5:30 p.m., join in on the fun for an ERCU Happy Hour via Zoom, where the club will announce the winners of its 2020 awards!
We would love to have everyone who can attend join in on the fun with beverages and snacks of your choice! You can join via video (preferred) or by telephone and still enjoy the fun! This will be mostly an opportunity to socialize and spend some virtual time together, but we'll also do a brief program to announce the award winners for our abbreviated 2020 season. which will be announced on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 5:30 p.m., during a club Zoom Happy Hour. Everyone is welcome to attend from the comfort of their own homes (masked or not), with beverages and snacks of your choice. We’ll celebrate our abbreviated season together by announcing the award winners and have a little fellowship for an hour or so virtually.
Once the event is over, we'll also post the award winners for this year on our club website and Facebook.
But wait ... there's more! We'll double-dip the recognition and honors for our 2020 award winners. At the first race of the 2021 season, we'll have an extended lunch break where we'll actually physically hand out all of our awards and get photos to honor the winners appropriately.
Making the best of the bummer this pandemic has thrown over us this year: That's what set us apart from most clubs in 2020.
Zoom Invite for ERCU Awards Happy Hour (virtual version)
Meeting ID: 668 946 9049
By Phone: 253-215-8782
The first ERCU Winter Meeting was held on Tuesday, Nov. 24 via Zoom, and was very productive.
Given the shorter offseason we find ourselves in due to the Covid-19 pandemic that cut our racing season in half this year, it was a high priority to get back on track with offseason decisions and recommendations to the membership.
In attendance were Nelson Holmberg, Rick Evans, Ron Daum, Len Taylor, Jerry Dunlap, Bill Mowatt, Ben Keller and Jim Clark (a former ERCU racer who's interested in what we're doing).
We’ve adopted the name “Winter Meetings” for the offseason club work (which is primarily handled by the board, but with recommendations for feedback and input from club members) as a way to make it even more clear to everyone that all are welcome. These meetings are open and if you’re interested in participating, we would love to have you.
On to the business of our first winter meeting.
After our board elections that were conducted online this year, we’ve added Bill Mowatt as a new member to the board. Bill replaces Kerry Kjos, who served two terms and gave a lot to the club. Kerry’s work for the club is appreciated.
We were able to finalize the awards for 2020 ERCU members, which will be announced on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 5:30 p.m., during a club Zoom Happy Hour. Everyone is welcome to attend from the comfort of their own homes (masked or not), with beverages and snacks of your choice. We’ll celebrate our abbreviated season together by announcing the award winners and have a little fellowship for an hour or so virtually.
With the season being interrupted and abbreviated, not to mention running beyond the end of our normal October 31 registration expiration, the board acted to make a one-time exception to the grace period for renewing your registrations.
Potential Rule Changes?
There was also discussion about potential changes to the ERCU rulebook, but the board ultimately decided to leave it alone this year. The justification behind that decision was that the club made significant changes in 2020, and we have not heard any strong concerns about changing any rules for 2021.
Having said we wouldn’t make general changes to the rules this winter, we are finding ourselves in a situation different than we were in during the winter of 2010-11 when we changed the motor rule to include the Himax 1500 kv, ProBoats Dynamite 1500 kv and the Aquacraft 1500 kv, which all were 3630-1500 motors that were readily available on the market.
Members are certainly welcome to also join in on that meeting and weigh in with their opinions, but we’d like to be able to study feedback prior to the meeting as much as possible, so please do provide feedback prior to the meeting.
With the end of our brief 2020 ERCU Championship Series, presented by Pentair, it's time to shift into the offseason.
As Robbie said during our last race, in Longview: "April will be here before we know it".
There's some work to do this winter, and I wanted to take a moment to thank a few people for all that got done this year, and to share some pride in our club.
First, I'd like to thank Kerry Kjos for his service to the ERCU Board of Directors. For the last four years, Kerry served as the scale inspector, and we've seen some really beautiful scale boats come through the club. His diligence to the scale appearance of boats, but flexibility to keep it from being rigorous has been appreciated. Kerry's input on health and safety during this crazy year of 2020 has been valuable and helpful, as well, lending a perspective that was needed as we developed our Safe Start Plan to get a chance to race at all this year. Thank you, Kerry, for your service to the board and the members of ERCU.
Next, it's time to introduce the new board of directors. Thanks to all 17 members who voted in our board election this year. I'm happy to share that Ron Daum and Robbie Roberts have won two-year terms on the board. This year, we're also honored to add Bill Mowatt to the board, as he was also elected. The election also brought write in votes for Bill Smiley and Mick Shutt, which both deserve to be recognized as well.
In the coming days, the "old board" and the "new board" will meet via Zoom to assign officer positions, and to begin working on offseason issues for the club. We'll be sure and communicate the time and login details for any and all ERCU Winter Meetings because we would love to have member participation from any and all who are interested in providing input and feedback to the board. Just so you know, some of the issues we'll discuss include the November-January holdover period for registrations; possible motor rule changes (due to apparent shrinking availability of 3630-1500 motors, now that Dynamites are discontinued by ProBoats); possible bylaws changes, and whatever is of concern to the membership. Again, we'll communicated with you all throughout the winter to make sure you're all involved to the extent you'd like to be in what the club is working on.
Finally, we've finalized the 2020 ERCU Season Awards, which we'll present at a date and time to be determined in the coming days. Due to the most recent ruling from the Governor on gatherings, it looks like we'll have to pivot and do this year's awards presentation virtually, so we'll likely set up a Zoom Happy Hour to celebrate together. Sort of.
If you haven't yet seen it, the final season points standings are posted on the "Statistics" page (click here for a shortcut). Many congrats to Vintage High Points Champion Gerry Bordon and his 1970 Parco's O-Ring Miss; to Classic High Points Champion David Newton and his 1985 The Squire Shop; and to Modern High Points Champion David Newton. The Modern Boat High Points Champion is Harry Gatjens, who owns the 1985 Miss Budweiser (Bubble Bud) that Newton drove to the title this year.
Stay tuned. I'll post more information about all of this very soon. Until then, enjoy your Thanksgiving and stay healthy and safe everyone!
One of the strangest years in ERCU history ended with three races in the span of four weeks, and crowned season champions in vintage, classic and modern classes.
While the Covid-19 pandemic kept us on the beach most of the year, we were able to get in a couple of races on back-to-back days in July - we decided to make those ones non-counters for high points.
After another two and a half month break, we were able to run three races to finish the year, and they all counted for season points.
When all the roostertails settled, Gerry Bordon was crowned vintage champion with the 1970 Parco's O-Ring Miss. Our inaugural classic champion was David Newton with the 1985 Squire Shop. Finally, our 2020 modern champion was Newton, driving Harry Gatjens' 1986 Miss Budweiser.
Consistency won the day in the 2020 points standings, whether it was consistency of scoring points, or consistency of winning races. One thing that was for sure, it took participation in all three races in order to make it to the top of the season standings.
Newton won all three modern finals and took one of the three classic finals, and his relentless podium finishes in heats helped lead him to the top of the season standings.
Without winning a race, Bordon's consistency led him to the season championship for the vintage class.
All week, the weather forecasts for Longview predicted heavy rain and wind for Saturday.
It didn’t happen.
Without the rainstorm, ERCU was able to get in its final race of the Covid-19 Pandemic shortened season – the 2020 Seafair Cup at Lake Sacajawea Park in Longview.
It was a great day of racing, camaraderie and growth of ERCU, as 22 boats were in the pits, including new racers to the club.
The first exciting and cool thing to happen was when rookie Jay Fonville – in vintage 1C, his first heat of ERCU action – piloted his 1963 Tahoe Miss to first place, from the trailer position, after penalties to the Hawaii Kai and the Hallmark Homes.
Jay eventually also won the vintage connie and moved himself into the final as the trailer.
The modern final, as it has been in each of the three points races this year, was won by David Newton, driving Harry Gatjens’ 1986 Miss Budweiser “Bubble Bud”. Second in the modern final went to another new ERCU member having a great day – David Heilbrunn, with his 2019 Miss J&D’s. In third place was Ron Daum’s 2009 Grandview on the Lake, which really only “turbinated” Nelson Holmberg, driving Jim Bakke’s 2013 Graham Trucking, who finished fourth.
The classic final was another good race. Brad Lewis took a quick lead and held it start-to-finish. In fact, the first half lap was led by three different models of the 8255 hull as Paul Dunlap with the Boat and Bill Mowatt with the Miss Houston were in the mix. It didn’t take long, though, for Newton – who won the classic connie and started the final as a trailer – to pick his way through the pack and end up in third place.
Before the classic final was over, Newton had almost caught Dunlap in the boat for second. Fourth place went to Gerry Bordon in the defending Seafair champion 1974 Miss U.S. Fifth was Mowatt with his Miss Houston.
Nelson Holmberg finished second in the classic connie with his 1987 Oh Boy! Oberto and Heilbrunn was third. Joey Caines didn’t finish the connie with his 1976 Spirit of Dayton Walther.
After Bordon’s Parco’s O-Ring Miss scratched out of the vintage connie and Holmberg’s 1975 Oh Boy! Oberto didn’t start, the connie was a two-boat affair. Despite starting as a trailer, Fonville’s Tahoe Miss was solid and steady without mistakes. Daum’s Miss U.S. I missed a couple of buoys and Tahoe came home in first, advancing to the final.
In the vintage final, there were some thrills and spills, when Lewis – while way out front at the end of lap four – blew over 360 and landed right side up. He kept going and won the race. His second straight vintage final of the shortened season. Second place went to Robbie Roberts in the 1971 Hallmark Homes, followed by Jerry Dunlap, rounding out the podium with the Hawaii Kai III. Fonville finished fourth in the final with the Tahoe Miss. Mowatt was the only boat to not finish the final, as his 1963 Miss Bardahl blew over in the backstretch.
All in all, it was a fantastic day of racing and ERCU is feeling like it’s turning the corner to get back on top. Everyone was happy the club continued to try and race responsibly during the pandemic, even though it stretched the season into mid-November.
April will be here before we know it, so the offseason will be shorter than usual. Stay tuned to ERCU’s website and social media for news that we’ll keep you informed about as the winter continues.
Stay safe. Stay healthy. We want to see all of you back at the races very soon!
The 2020 ERCU Seafair Cup is set to be run on Saturday, Nov. 14 at Lake Sacajawea Park in Longview. Here is all you need to know about the day.
This will be the last race of the 2020 ERCU Championship Series.
Due to the Covid guidelines, we cannot do a picnic or buffet lunch. Please bring whatever food you’d like to eat during the event, and eat at your own convenience. We will not take a lunch break, in order to get the race in as promptly as possible considering weather and available daylight.
The local forecast is calling for rain through the course of the day. You’ll want to bring your EZ Ups and protection from the weather for your transmitters.
Lake Sacajawea Park, Longview, WA
(approximately 1700 Nichols Blvd., Longview, WA 98632)
ERCU has rented a Honey Bucket for the day. The Honey Bucket will be delivered on Friday afternoon prior to the race. It will be locked overnight so it’s kept clean for our use on Saturday. The permanent facilities at the park will be locked and unavailable to us.
ERCU Board of Directors members will arrive on site at 7 a.m. to set up the club’s equipment, the pits and the racecourse. The course will open for testing and practice at approximately 8:30 a.m. Open water will close at 9:30 a.m. to be followed by the mandatory drivers meeting.
If your boats need an inspection, please have them ready for inspection prior to your arrival and arrange for scale and technical inspections to be done before you take to open water. You’ll need to have your inspection sheets filled in prior to inspections.
A mandatory drivers meeting will be held at 9:40 a.m. at the official barge. This meeting will be mandatory for ALL drivers, regardless of scale, size, class or club of origin. It is for safety and communication purposes, so ALL drivers must attend the meeting in its entirety.
Heat racing will begin five minutes after the conclusion of the drivers meeting.
Three Minute Clock
Due to the recent move to Standard Time, a three-minute start clock will be used for every heat. In order to avoid delays to the day’s racing, once the clock is started for a heat, it will not be paused or stopped for any reason. If you need time between back-to-back heats, please alert the chief referee before the three-minute clock has started.
Modern Gold Cup: 1974 Miss U.S., Gerry Bordon
Vintage Gold Cup: 1960 Miss Thriftway, David Newton (Owner: Kerry Kjos)
1/7 Scale FE, 1/8 Scale FE
* Scale FE boats in these two classes will be allowed to race during the event.
* 1/8 scale will race as an exhibition, due to our agreement with R/CU.
* 1/7 scale will only race as an official race if there are a minimum of three boats running in each heat and will be scored by 1/7-scale racers. Otherwise, the class shall be run as an exhibition.
In ERCU, your first boat is $10 to enter, paid on Saturday morning at registration. Each additional entry, regardless of class, is $5. Please pay via exact change or bring a check made payable to ERCU.
Please familiarize yourself with the ERCU Safe Start Plan (click here). We need every member to follow this if you want to continue racing in 2020!