the north coast
Racers will always vote with their entries and their wallets, and we’ll continue to highlight the events that seem to be winning loyalty and maintaining their numbers. This from "Climbnsail" from another good Cleveland Race Week.
The sun once again sets over Lake Erie after another successful Cleveland Race Week. With numbers way down across the country, the multi-event-format Cleveland Race Week held on to attendance (or only slightly down) with more than 100 entries. Why? Those who put in the thought and effort for a successful event find that it pays off.
If you run an event yourself, you might want to pay attention to this next part. A few key things make this event a blast year after year. (1) It’s affordable and accessible. The Edgewater Yacht Club has numerous docks, so they can host out-of-town boats without charging or rafting out 16 boats. As part of their cost-consciousness, they don’t go crazy with awards. Instead they give out nice monogrammed duffel bags and coolers – items everyone uses more often than a pricier crystal bowl that might be pulled out once a year. (2) They make it cheap for the crews to stick around, lining up local teams and businesses to sponsor kegs ($75) and small meals on Thursday and Friday. This means costs are paid up front, so the club can charge a scant 10 bucks per 3-day bracelet for food (chili, hotdogs, gumbo, etc.), an all night beer pass, blender drinks Saturday, and doughnuts and coffee in the mornings. The club benefits from it, since pretty much everyone is going to stick around and the club gets business at the very affordable grille. Charging 30 bucks for a bracelet that includes cocktails from the hours of 4 pm to 6pm – knowing most are still putting away the boats – may save you money but lose attendance. Crews will happily go elsewhere and get a nice dinner for that 30 bucks. (3) EYWC has great members to come out and meet the visiting racers. At some clubs, the regulars look at racers as riffraff and greet them with a scowl. At EWYC it’s clear that members appreciate the visitors’ support of the club, and genuinely want the crews to have a good time.
Now let me tell you – there was some serious racing also. Unlike the ‘other’ CRW, this is a true Race Week, with 5 different events consisting of OD, DH, Women’s, Juniors, and PHRF. No single event is longer than three days, allowing some boats to do most of the events, while those who can’t burn an entire week can choose to race the events they prefer. This format works very well for the area, where many boats come in from surrounding clubs.
The first weekend saw the T-10 Lake Erie Championships with 13 boats; J-105s; J-24s; and a 22-boat turnout of J-22s (results here). Even though the T-10 hasn’t been built for a couple of decades, the T-10 class is always going strong and races competitively.
The closing weekend of CRW saw 41 boats come in for Offshore PHRF, JAM, and OD events. PHRF A & B were the fleets to watch: The pure racing boat fleet has actually grown over last year with a 1d48, 1d35, Farr 40, Farr 30s , M32s, a Schock 40, and an assortment of other boat porn. The 7 boat Beneteau 36.7 fleet had some fun racing, with minimal bitching…. and even the once a year racers were out there JAMming it and having a blast. (Results here).
While turnout was a tad lighter than last year, it was nothing like the scant crowd seen at venues farther south over the past winter. Bottom Line: the folks that work their asses off to make this event a success deserve a medal for keeping everyone interested year after year. Check out the event website here, the forum thread here, and hopefully, we’ll see you next year. Marc Crutcher photos.