On the eve of ERCU's 2023 Opening Day, we're proud to introduce the criteria for the new Seatown Services Driver of the Year Award.
You likely already know that Seatown Services has come on board as one of two new ERCU sponsors for 2023. Thank you again to Chuck Murray for joining alongside Seatown Services as our newest sponsors.
Seatown Services sponsorship includes a new ERCU annual award, and we have now finalized the system we will use to determine the winner of the Seatown Services ERCU Driver of the Year award. The winner will be announced at our 2023 End of Season Celebration.
Drivers are ranked and sorted separately for each individual boat that they race. All drivers of all boats in each division and each class are ranked together on one combined spread sheet.
Driver of the Year criteria are simple:
Each of these three columns will be ranked individually with the three ranking columns combined for the drivers final scores. Final score column is ranked in reverse with smallest three column total being the ultimate winner.
To help us determine the final judging and scoring criteria we input last season’s results and if had we had this award, David Newton would have easily been crowned 2022 Driver of the Year. We include this as an illustration to help you understand the scoring of this great new Seatown Services ERCU Driver of the Year award.
While thunderstorms are not a part of the forecast for Saturday, April 1 in Lacey, it's still appropriate at the beginning of the season to share a reminder of our hazardous weather procedure.
As a matter of procedure, ERCU does not cancel or reschedule races based on weather forecasts that continually change by the minute. However, since safety is obviously our first priority, we do take hazardous weather situations very seriously during the race day.
In the rare event that thunderstorms and/or lightning were to pose a threat to racer/crew/spectator safety, the contest director and/or representatives of the board of directors would make the wise decision to temporarily postpone racing and take cover in vehicles or in the nearest picnic shelter until the storm passed … and then resume racing.
As this is a proven procedure we’ll continue to follow to keep folks safe on race days, if storms that threatened the safety of those associated with our event were to set in.
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.
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 weekend forecast on weather.com, the forecast is for 47 degress with a nearly 60 percent chance of rain showers off and on through the day with 10-15 mph winds from the 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.