Last Wednesday, Rose Hoffman used her Catalina 34 Beeleaved as the PHRF race committee platform. We really appreciate the effort that members make to help out our programs and providing a committee boat is a big help. Although my computer is named Jesus, neither it nor me have quite mastered walking on water, thus someone always has to position a boat on the starting line.
Kevin Irwin has taken on the responsibility to find members like Rose, who will help us out on Wednesday nights. This effort allows racers to race. If no boat is available, one of them must abstain from racing and use their boat for the committee. This year, we are trying to get a non-PHRF committee boat for just a few Wednesdays in the season.
A long time ago, there was a member named Bruce Baty (his wife Lois is still a member!). Bruce had assembled a regular race committee that would start races off of Log Point across from Bowleys. Back then, the Thursday night fleet, composed of Portsmouth rated boats, were also given Wednesday night starts and everyone raced and partied together.
Around 1986 (I am not 100% on the year), we found a boat, Alert, run by Paul Fitzgerald, and for another decade or so a semi-regular race committee would take that out to set a start line in the same area that we race in today. The smaller, Portsmouth, boats wanted to find their own committees since they were correctly concerned about venturing out into the mouth of the river. Toward the end of the Alert era, we were having trouble getting regular race committee and it became necessary to ask racers to give up one race per year and use their crew to conduct the races.
PHRF Racing participation has reduced. This is hardly news to anyone in the sport, but it has impacted GSAs membership. At this time, the after race beer drinking is down to once a month (the boat owners are older) and racers have to give up their racing slightly more than one time per year in order to have enough committee.
I will post more about later. For now, I am just presenting the problem. The Portmouth fleet has found a temporary solution, but the PHRF fleet could still use some good ideas.