Minutes of the 2012 Competition Meeting of the
New England Canoe and Kayak Association (NECKRA)

November 10, 2012
12:00 – 2:30 pm
Home of Shawn Burke and Monica Schnitger in Andover, MA

Minutes by Jack Beusmans

Present: Priscilla Reinertsen, Bob Allen, Ted Van Dusen, Shawn Burke, Monica Schnitger, Peter Heed, Tricia Heed, Steve Miller, Rosemary Longo-Nutt, Jack Beusmans, Aims Cooney, Eric Jones (by video feed).

Note that agenda items were discussed out of order to accommodate attendee’s schedules.

1. Lunch 

Excellent lunch provided by NECKRA with lots of homemade goodies by Monica and Shawn.

6. Membership

Monica Schnitger will take over as membership chair from Debbie Walton.   Monica would like to streamline the process and communicate more with members via email.  Specifically, Monica proposes that a ‘thank you’ email be sent after somebody signs up for new membership, as well as a monthly ‘reminder’ email be sent to all members (and perhaps past members) to remind them of upcoming events (past members can be reminded to renew). Monica proposes to survey past members to find out why they didn’t renew their membership. Need to use ‘Paddlers Connection” to encourage people to join NECKRA.  Eric Jones suggested that a non-racing NECKRA member attend early races to promote NECKRA, hand-out race packages.

9.  Other

Aims Coney of New England Orienteering, a 300 member club involved in orienteering including by canoe or kayak, gave a brief introduction to the sport and the various ways in which a race can be scored (lowest time with fixed control points in order; most points in least time).  His request that the 2013 N.E. Canoe Orienteering championships on 6/23/2013 be included in NECKRA’s 2013 flatwater point series was unanimously approved. Aims will get materials to Priscilla for inclusion in 2013 race packet. 

2. Race Packet for 2013

A. Attendance. Shawn Burke summarized attendance and participation data he compiled for 2012 Flatwater point series. In general kayak participation is up whereas canoe participation is down (excluding Run of the Charles, which is such an outlier in terms of attendance). It was noted that Herring Run race on the Mystic River has very high attendance, but few from NECKRA.  Steve Miller mentioned that limited parking is a problem.  Others felt that canoe/kayak racing is overshadowed by the large road race immediately preceding it.  Attendance at Downriver races is available in the 2012 Downriver Competition Report by Mark Wendolowski, which is included as Appendix.

There was a brief discussion about ways to increase attendance. 
a. Shawn Burke suggested a special cup for eastern Massachusetts races, as that seems to attract a specific group of racers
b. Having rentals available is important to reel in casual paddlers
c. Bob Allen suggested a basic racing clinic for recreational paddlers 
d. Reach out to other competitive sports clubs, e.g., Merrimack Valley Striders
e. Emphasize exercise aspect of paddling
f. Ted VanDusen mentioned that 4th of July race has great attendance because of the party afterwards.

B. Number of flatwater and downriver Points series races; consideration of number of qualify in each series.

Priscilla said that we will lose 5 and possibly 6 flatwater races for the 2013 season (there were 24 races in 2012, with 1 cancellation). 

There will be 15 downriver races (which will be an increase over 2012). It was decided that the minimal number of races to qualify is 4, and that the best 8 will be used to compute final points (if fewer than 15 races are actually held, then this number can be brought down to 7).

The corresponding numbers for flatwater point series remain 5 and 10.

C. Race scheduling

Eric Jones will coordinate downriver racing. Priscilla Reinertsen will coordinate flatwater racing. 

D. Points clarification when paddler races both a canoe and a kayak at the same event

Decided not to change any of the rules.

E. DNF in downriver and flatwater races

Discussed importance of recognizing that a person started a race in terms of qualifying in point series.  Agreed to award 1 point for DNF.

F. Other considerations for supporting our regional races, both points and non-points series races

Shawn Burke suggested that flyers for upcoming races be available at current races. 

3. NECKRA grants and sponsorships

Priscilla mentioned that 3 NECKRA members are currently on US teams; NECKRA supports each with $200 and gives $350 each to Holyoke and Greater Lawrence; NECKRA has money to increase these levels.  Shawn mentioned that the Great Stone Dam Race generated $1300 for Lawrence Boating and that NECKRA sponsorship goes toward supporting membership of 6 children ($50 each). Ted suggested that NECKRA considers sponsoring awards for the kids in the Miller’s (27 kids participated; anticipate max of $200 needed).  Bob’s proposal that we maintain current levels of grants and sponsorship was approved.  Priscilla will contact Shelly St. Cyr, race organizer for the Miller's River Challenge, and ask her if she would like to submit a proposal to NECKRA for a grant.

7. Annual Race Director Award

Shawn proposes to establish an award to recognize outstanding service to NECKRA by a race director; this will be at no extra cost for NECKRA; there will be separate awards for downriver and flatwater directors; to be voted on by fellow directors.  Shawn will write a brief proposal and send to Priscilla.

4. Recreational/youth paddling

Looking for somebody to take this on.  Special kids t-shirts were mentioned.

5. Role of flatwater chair on NECKRA board

No chair currently.  Responsibilities would include deciding issues about handicaps, hull type, etc.  There seemed to be consensus that no special position is needed and that any issues could be resolved by reaching out to race directors and having NECKRA Board decide.

8. Discussion of NECKRA membership in USACK for purposes of purchasing downriver insurance.

Rosemary proposed that NECKRA purchase a $150 membership in USACK in order to get/facilitate getting appropriate insurance for a number of downriver races that currently are not sponsored and insured by specific organizations.  There was a consensus that this is a good idea, but that more information is needed to decide.  Rosemary will gather details and write a proposal.