Let's celebrate 20 years of ERCU! Purchase a shirt or hoodie with our 20 year anniversary logo. Use the link below to buy your shirts. Orders will be taken through April 18th, then the shirts will be produced through Custom Inc. The shirts will be brought to our third race (Seafair Trophy Race) and passed out to buyers. Any questions please email David Newton. Get your shirt today! Click here to order.
Club charters new Inspection Committee
Over the last few years, ERCU has been a little bit lax about inspections. Part of that is due to the rule that says only new boats or those with significant changes/repairs need to be inspected each year. Part is due to the fact that we’ve worked really hard to bring fun back into the club.
Due to a couple of situations over this past offseason, we’ve learned that its important to inspect all boats every year. As a result, the club’s Board of Directors voted to adopt a proposal to create the Inspection Committee. The committee is chaired by Board Inspector Bill Mowatt. Jim Latimer and Robbie Roberts have also been appointed to assist the inspections.
As defined by the new committee’s charter, boats will be inspected by a minimum of two members of the committee. If there are not two members of the committee present at any inspection opportunity, a waiver will be granted so the boat in question can race. But an inspection will need to be done at the first opportunity.
Starting with the 2023 season, we will be doing inspections under the following guidelines:
Please click here to see the Charter for the Inspection Committee.
In another move to make things as easy as possible for all club members, the 2023 ERCU Rule Book has been built as an online resource in addition to the PDF version that's always posted to be printable.
The new online rule book can be found by clicking "2023 Rule Book" in the main navigation at the top of the website.
For ease of reference, the book has been broken into sections (chapters) to be posted. Using the new online rule book is simple: Click on the red header bar or the "+" on the right side of the bar to open the section you'd like to view. To close the section, click on the red bar or the "x" on the right side of the bar again.
This tool should also allow for quick, easy reference for rules questions while at race sites.
The first race of the 2023 ERCU Pentair Championship Series is the Champion Spark Plug Regatta, set for Saturday April 1, 2023, at Woodland Creek Park in Lacey. Here is all you need to know to be prepared for the first event of the year.
Long’s Pond/Woodland Creek Park
6729 Pacific Ave SE, Lacey, WA 98503
Jerry Dunlap Paul Dunlap
Even in the real boats, the Champion Spark Plug Regatta – for its entire existence – was the season opening event each year, held at Miami Marine Stadium in South Florida. For 18 of our club’s 20 years, ERCU has started its season with the Champion Spark Plug Regatta.
What to Expect
(All times approximate, and subject to change)
There have been several changes to the rules for the 2023 season, so please review the rulebook as is posted on the ERCU website, available under the Resources tab (or by clicking here). Changes to the rulebook are noted in green bold italics, but it’s always good to read the whole thing just to refresh your own memory. The Contest Director/Chief Referee will make every effort to be sure that officiating is consistent with the rules as published on the website, and that every effort is made to assure consistency in officiating.
Pre-Registration for the Champion Spark Plug Regatta is now open. To find the pre-registration form, navigate your web browser to www.ercu-hydros.com/champion-spark-plug-regatta.html, where you will find the pre-registration link in a blue box just under the race site map. You may also pre-pay your entry fees online by following the PayPal directions at the bottom of the page. Pre-registration will close at 10 p.m., FRIDAY, March 31, 2023. After that deadline, please register in person on site before 8:30 a.m.
You can also find pre-registration by going to www.ercu-hydros.com, then selecting “Schedule” from the main menu, and clicking on “ERCU Champion Spark Plug Regatta” from the schedule itself.
Race Day Morning
It will be our intent to have the course open by 8 a.m. so that testing can commence once boats are registered for the event. Boat owners should prepare to have time for inspections and to be ready to race. The water will be open for testing until approximately 9:30 a.m.
The drivers meeting is mandatory for ALL divisions and classes and will begin at the scorer’s table within five minutes of the closing of testing. Drivers who do not attend the drivers meeting will be scratched from the first heat regardless of whether they are pre-registered and pre-paid. Drivers arriving after the drivers meeting will not be added to the event until the draw for the second flight of heats.
A 1-minute 30-second clock will start as soon as all drivers are in the driving area and will not be stopped for any reason other than health or safety (including stubborn waterfowl). Please plan ahead for your upcoming heats, including getting your own spotter, and be ready when the chase boat comes back. A trailer boat shall not cross the start line less than five seconds after the start gun. Rookie drivers who have not yet earned 1,200 career points must start from the trailer position.
Heat draws will be completed with the randomizer in our Excel workbook that’s used for scoring races. Every effort will be made to avoid preferred driver/spotter heat conflicts, but sometimes those cannot be avoided. The first heat draw will be conducted at approximately 9 a.m. and will be read verbally at the drivers meeting as a roll call. Succeeding heat draws will be conducted between flights. All heat draws will be printed and posted, and displayed on the TV screen, whenever possible. No re-draws of heats will be done.
Champion Spark Plug Regatta Defending Champions
ERCU always welcomes new members to the club and visiting racers from other clubs. Rookie driver testing will be offered during the open water period as needed. The course will be closed for rookie driver tests. Visiting racers may not take home ERCU perpetual trophies, in the event they win the race.
In 2023, all boats will be inspected before the first race they run at. We ask that you print out the 2023 Hull Inspection Form, found on the Resources tab of the club website (www.ercu-hydros.com), and complete the member information at the top of page one prior to arriving at the race site. Please also remember to bring a photo of the real boat (a photo on your phone or tablet is acceptable) that your boat models.
Post-Race Cleanup and Awards Presentation
Club equipment cleanup and re-packing the trailer will take priority once the race is over. Once the trailer is re-packed, awards will be presented. Awards will be given to the first, second and third place finishers, first connie and Triple Crown winners. All members have a responsibility to help with set up and breakdown of club equipment. As a courtesy to your fellow racers, please stick around for the awards presentation whether you’ve won one or not.
According to the 10-day forecast on weather.com, the forecast is for 51 degress with a nearly 60 percent chance of rain showers off and on through the day with 10-12 mph winds from the south-southwest. History proves that at the first race of the season, anything can happen weather wise and normally does. Plan to be prepared for almost any kind of weather. This weather forecast will continue to be updated with more specifics as the event date gets closer.
There are two public restroom facilities on site in Woodland Creek Park and they are expected to be open.
There is limited access to electricity in the pits. It would be wise to bring a generator or other power source if you will need to charge batteries during the day.
The third and final ERCU Winter Meeting is set for Saturday, March 11 at 11 a.m., via Zoom.
The 2022-23 club Board of Directors has an agenda of items that provide updates on what the board has wrapped up and addressed during the offseson. If you're interested in participating, all members, past members and future members - as well as other interested parties - are welcome to attend.
There's also time on the agenda for a "shop talk" update where members can bench race and swap stories of what's going on in each of our own shops, too.
To attend the meeting, click the link below and follow the meeting ID and passcode instructions.
Meeting ID: 846 418 9312
The agenda for this month's meeting can be found by clicking here.
Our next winter meeting will be Saturday, March 11, also on Zoom.
Nearly two thirds of the club's membership cast votes in this year's member approval of the proposed changes to the ERCU rule book, and all five changes proposed by the competition committee and ratified by the ERCU Board of Directors were approved by the membership.
The new rule book has been posted on the club website and can be found by clicking here.
The five changes include a change to the rookie identification rule, a change to the visitor driver definition and action in the club membership chapter, two new props for the classic and modern classes of the 1/7 scale division, a change to make legal heats for all classes and divisions a minimum of three boats, and adopting the 1/8-scale motor rule from NAMBA for our 1/7 scale division.
All changes to the 2023 rule book are highlighted in green, italic, bold lettering so they can be easily identified. The Board of Directors thanks all members for your participation in making changes and improvements to the club. This club is about its members, so your participation is appreciated.
Many thanks to Chuck Murray (aka "BobbyBigRigger"), for his generousity.
Murray stepped up with his own money this morning and offered a presenting sponsorship of ERCU for the 2023 season. He also will sponsor a lunch for club members at one of the races during the 2023 season.
"Chuck has been a very active member of ERCU since 2014 and he's always been one who cares deeply about the club," said ERCU Board Chair Nelson Holmberg. "His sponsorship is one way that he's able to give back to the club he truly enjoys, and we're deeply appreciative of his support."
Murray's support is in recognition of the good times he has in the club.
"I just am happy with the club and how all of the members make my summers," Murray said. "This is from the heart as you all give me a great summer."
Congratulations, ERCU members, you turned out in force to represent our club at the 2023 Roger Newton Memorial RC Boat Show at the Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum on Saturday, Feb. 18.
See the slideshow below for photos from the big event!
With many thanks to the ERCU Competition Committee, the 2023 proposed rules changes have been posted to the website for membership review and vote.
Please review this year's proposed changes, and vote, by clicking here. Voting opens immediately (Thursday, Feb. 17 at 12:30 p.m.) and closes at 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 28. This gives members 11 days to vote, and allows for updating of the rule book with at least a three week publication and notice of the new 2023 ERCU Rule book prior to the April 1 ERCU Opening Day - the Champion Spark Plug Regatta at Woodland Creek Park in Lacey.
Seatown Services joins ranks of ERCU sponsors and presents brand new ERCU Driver of the Year Award
MUKILTEO, Wash. – Seatown Services has become the newest sponsor of Electric Radio Controlled Unlimiteds and will be the presenting sponsor of the first-ever ERCU Driver of the Year award as a part of the package.
The new sponsorship takes effect immediately and continues through the 2023 ERCU racing season.
“We are so excited to welcome Seatown Services as ERCU’s official HVAC, plumbing and electrical partner and as part of our racing family,” said ERCU Board Chair Nelson Holmberg. “The addition of the Driver of the Year award that Seatown presents with this sponsorship is something unprecedented for our club, and I expect it to motivate even more participation in our growing club.”
A lifelong fan of unlimited hydroplane racing and former RC racer himself, Seatown Services Owner/CEO Brandon Phillips is looking forward to his company’s new partnership with this racing organization.
“The models that these craftsmen build and race are unbelievable – especially that some of them reach speeds of up to 70 mph with radio control…that’s absolutely crazy,” Phillips said. “We are so proud to support an organization that not only cares about hydroplane racing, but also produces family-friendly fun across western Washington. The fact that their boats are powered by electric motors is icing on the cake for us.”
Located in Mukilteo and established in 2014, Seatown Services is the greater Seattle area’s premier HVAC, plumbing and electrical services contractor. The company is equipped to handle maintenance of plumbing, electrical, air conditioning, heating, installations, repairs and replacements. Phillips and his company also take pride in giving back to the community that they serve.
“We are delighted to partner with ERCU as their events provide us with the kind of opportunities, we look for to give back and help important events within the communities we are fortunate to serve,” Phillips said. “Just as ERCU members strive to be the best at what they do, so does Seatown Services.”
Holmberg is especially grateful for the new Driver of the Year award.
“I truly believe that the Driver of the Year award will attract more new drivers to the hobby,” he said, “and I’m confident it will add some suspense to our annual End of Season Celebration and awards presentation.
“As ERCU strategically continues to build and grow as an organization, the credibility that comes from partnerships like Seatown Services and all of our other sponsors can only help,” Holmberg said.
Founded in 2003, ERCU is celebrating its 20th year this season. Members build and race radio controlled replicas of the real unlimited hydroplanes that have raced in Seattle for 70 years. It’s not uncommon to see models of the 1957 Miss Wahoo, 1984 Executone or the 2015 Dalton Industries in a pit area full of as many as 50 or more boats on a race day. The club has two divisions suiting 1/10-scale and 1/7 scale replicas and boats can reach speeds approaching 70 mph.
To learn more about Seatown Services visit their website at www.seatownservices.com. Learn more about ERCU at its website, www.ercu-racing.com.