The original Lake Champlain Racing Conference began in 1968. It was formed by the three clubs of that era, LCYC, MBBC, and VSC, each club agreeing to provide two races. They used some existing races and created a few others specifically to be included in the conference. All were weekend events – two were overnighters, the others were two-day events with one or two races each day. MBBC’s events were Royal Savage and Lake Champlain; VSC’s were Valcour I/II and Isle St. Michel; LCYC’s were Ladies Cup and Cmdr Macdonough. In 1982 LCYC withdrew the Ladies Cup from the Conference and created the two-day Odziozo in its place.
The Conference was a stand-alone structure with a Commodore and other officers, an annual printed document, dues, awards, and a bank account. In the 1980s attendance began to decline, mostly due to the growth of weeknight racing that did not require two weekend days six times a season. At the end of the 1999 season, after 32 years of providing great racing, the Conference closed down.
That year Jeff Hill and others advocated for creating a committee or group to administer some sort of competition for the Cannon at least, but no such group was ever formed. Following the 2012 season Don Brush and others began to lobby for another try, resulting in late Feb 2013 in a call-to-meeting by Lea Ann Smith of MBBC.
A core group was formed to try to achieve the above objective. That group included the regatta chairs of the four clubs: Lea Ann Smith from MBBC, Mark Stata from VSC, Wendy Friant from RSYC, and Dave Powlison, who asked me, as head of race management, to represent LCYC. Also included were four adjunct participants: Don Brush & Jeff Hill, past Racing Conference competitors; and Peter Levin & Skip McClellan who had volunteered to be scorers. Keith Kennedy participated as my race management sidekick at LCYC.
To provide more LCYC opinions to the process than just my own, with Dave Powlison’s concurrence I convened an exploratory session on Mar 21 comprised of the four class representatives to the LCYC Regatta Committee: Walt Marti for Class A, Gene Cloutier for Class B, John O’Rourke for Class C, and Mike Barker from Class JaM. Also attending that session were Jeff Hill; the two volunteer scorers, Peter Levin & Skip McClellan; and Wendy Friant, the Regatta Chair of Royal Savage Yacht Club. Lea Ann could not attend.
Here is the agenda I made for that session and the positions on each item that were agreed to by consensus by those present. These were then passed on to the core group for their use and consideration as they began the larger task of putting together the format for the new Series.
Intent of the LCC Series ?. . .
Consensus: There should be two Series:
• One, the Cannon Series, for first, second, third overall among all boats from anywhere on the lake – Cannon trophy for first, recognition for second and third.
• One, the Option Series, for top ranking by class among all boats from anywhere on the lake – no trophies, recognition for first, second, and third in each of Classes A, B, C, and JaM.
Would the series be race-based or club-based? . . .
This item was not worded this way on the session agenda, so it got bypassed and did not get discussed or decided.
What races would be included? . . .
Consensus: (even though the above item was not discussed, these groupings are race-based)
• Cannon Series:
– Ladies Cup (LCYC)
– Royal Savage (MBBC)
– Mayor’s Cup (VSC – this turned out not to be the case; more on this below)
– Two of the Cmdr Macdonough (LCYC), Lake Champlain (MBBC), Omnium Day 1
• Option Series:
– Any of the above, plus:
– Odziozo (LCYC)
– Medical Madness Day 1 (VSC)
– Diamond Island (one-day) Regatta (RSYC)
How would LCC Series be scored? . . .
• Several different scoring systems were reviewed before deciding that both series would be scored using a high-point version of the Volvo scoring system. No throw-outs in either series, other than the one overnight in the Cannon Series.
Who would score the series? . . .
• Peter Levin assisted by Skip McClellan.
With the results of the above discussion as a starter, the core group began the process of formulating a structure for the Championship Series.
That process was not simple. Our deliberations were complex and comprehensive - to date there have been three meetings, numerous conversations, and 244 emails (and counting)! All efforts were dedicated to the task of constructing a structure similar in form to the earlier Conference that would provide fun, fair, varied, enticing, and challenging racing among the entire range of boat classes in a diverse number of venues across a reasonable range of the lake, all without requiring registration or fees, where “your participation is your registration.”
Here are the major conclusions to date of the core group:
• The Cannon Series will be based solely on Overall scoring.
• The new name of the new second series is “The Champlain Series”. The word ‘Option’ was a temporary placeholder.
• The Champlain Series will be based solely on Class scoring (the LCYC forum had included ‘overall’ as well – the redundancy was not caught until after that session).
For simplicity, the core group set class groupings that would be used for Series scoring regardless of individual club class groupings.
• There will not be any two-day events in the list of Series races with the exception of the overnighters and the Omnium. Two-day races killed the Conference; we want the new Series to live - vibrantly and for a long time.
• The Cannon Series would be club-based, with each club providing a one day-race. We considered an invitational sail-off race in Burlington Bay between club champions sent by each club. We considered designating races for the Cannon Series without regard to what club or group hosted the race. We considered selecting races based on their geographic location – near-south, central, and near-north. Either of the last two would allow selecting the Mayor’s Cup and the Omnium. Two key facts led the core group to declare for the club-based option:
First, from its inception to its demise, the Conference was club-based, and it was deemed highly important to sustain that tradition. Second, without the unqualified support of the now four clubs the success of the new Series would be at risk, whereas with each club providing one of the four one-day races the Series will be full of shared energy and support, and success should surely follow.
This decision resulted in replacing Ladies Cup with Odziozo as LCYC’s day-race for the Cannon Series, as was originally declared by LCYC in 1982 in the old Conference. We moved Ladies Cup to the Champlain Series.
This decision resulted in moving the Mayor’s Cup to the Champlain Series and replacing it with the Medical Madness Day 1. Mayor’s Cup was never a part of the Conference. It was originally created by VSC with the support of the then-mayor of Plattsburgh, but a later mayor withdrew the city’s support and VSC was not able to sustain the event on its own, at which point Sunrise Rotary picked it up. Because MC is no longer their event, VSC leadership selected Medical Madness Day 1 (a two-race event) as their club race for the new LCC Series. They are excited about the new Series and plan to make Med-Mad a premier event for all contenders, both Cannon and Champlain.
This decision gives full support to our newest club, Royal Savage YC, by moving their regatta up to the Cannon Series from the Champlain Series. With the enthusiastic support of Point Bay Marina, RSYC wants to become a player in the new Series. Their membership named their race “The Diamond Island Regatta.” It will likely be a two-race event. Both LCYC and MBBC are going to provide support, training, and race management help to RSYC’s effort to make this event an exciting addition to lake-wide racing and to the Cannon and Champlain Series.
This decision also moved the Omnium out of the Cannon Series and into the Champlain Series.
• The format of the Cannon Series is the best five out of six named races; if all are six are raced the best five finishes will be counted.
We considered several day-race / overnight race and throw-out formats. The potential LCYC contenders we talked with all said they would likely sail all races regardless of the number of throw-outs, but they each also cited the threat of ‘a wedding’ intruding on their race schedule. And since ‘the wedding’ does not discriminate between day races and overnight races, we designed a format that allows a throw-out but also will always include one required overnight. Flexible format, minimum bureaucracy. Unless there are two weddings, on different weekends.
• The scoring procedure will be simple, both for the clubs and for the Series.
Club scorers will not have to do anything special regarding Series scoring, even though the scoring structures are different. The Series scorers will use a club’s race results as their source data; they will then apply the Series scoring logic to that club’s data to compute the Series scores, both by class and overall. Since the club’s scores for its Series races will become Series scores, all of those scored club racers will become Series contenders without ever having to register – hence our new catch phase “Your participation is your registration”.
The Series scoring gives more points the more boats that are beaten. This helps to keep large fleet and small fleet results in perspective.
Many of the boats contending in the Champlain Series will not be able to compete in every race in all the venues in all parts of the Series lake, and yet they can still have the fun of seeing how they are doing in comparison with all the other boats facing those same limitations. However, the more that a boat participates in races at other clubs the higher will be its cumulative season score - we hope this rationale will promote participation in general and that it will also encourage and engender more inter-club racing at all levels of competition.
The Series results will be posted on the Series website after every named race, so racers can check their progressive standings in almost real time as the season progresses. We will encourage the clubs to post the Series results on their own websites, to provide a link to the Series website, or both.
• Series awards will be presented as part of the end-of-season awards event of one of the four sponsoring clubs, beginning with LCYC for 2013.
We of the core group are individually and collectively excited about the prospects for the success of this new structure in fomenting increased inter-club racing and the cooperation and comaraderie that goes with it. We hope you agree. If so, we would welcome your help in promoting the Series as well as your active and enthusiastic participation in it.
[Camaraderie – “mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together”]