Jeni Jelf, who is the RYA Powerboat Racing Manager, has sent a letter to all the harbour masters in the places on the OCRDA racing calendar to inform them of OCRDA members’ decision to race independently away from the jurisdiction of the RYA. However, reading through the letter you may be surprised to note that it goes a lot further than just informing about the change in circumstances and blatently questions and criticises the experience of the people running OCRDA and the safety of the races run without RYA authorisation. These people are the same officials who operated under the RYA and the rules are the same rules so no one can doubt their experience.
Although this letter concerns only National Authorities as opposed to International i.e., UIM events, it is important to note that without an RYA licence OCRDA members are not permitted to take part in any UIM meetings, however, the RYA will not issue OCRDA members with an RYA licence that would enable them to participate in any international meeting. Several UIM meetings have been severely affected by this ruling in terms of number of teams being able to take part. It’s also worth noting that prior to breaking away from the RYA, the average number of offshore teams taking part in National races was 8-10 sometimes as low as six. This year, operating independently, the average number of teams taking part in OCRDA meetings is thirty and could reach thirty five. We have been told that OCRDA have put the fun back into racing and this is reflected in the atmosphere at the meetings.
We have published below Mrs Jelf’s letter in its entirety and also Mr McCarthy’s response, and we can only hope that there are no repercussions to what has become a very successful series in the UK.
“To all Harbour authorities & Interested Parties
Dear Sir or Madam,
As the approved National Governing Body of Powerboat Racing in the UK, we are writing to inform you all that a powerboat racing club have recently informed the RYA the Offshore Circuit Racing Driver’s Association (OCRDA) which is chaired by Mr Bob McCarthy, recently wrote to the RYA advising us of their decision to part company with the RYA and operate independently.
“It is with great regret that after more than 35 years of affiliation and working with the RYA, the members of OCRDA voted overwhelmingly in a secret ballot at our AGM last Saturday to operate our racing independently of the RYA “
As the National Governing body, it is our duty to inform you of this situation and advise that any racing activity will be deemed as unauthorised and will not be subject to any RYA support or assistance should there be any issues. All officials and competitors taking part will also no longer be licenced by the RYA or have any RYA Officials Qualifications as per rule B17 of the RYA PB2 Rules that can be found here: 2017 Offshore PB1 Rulebook.
Furthermore we also advise that the club in question has previously failed to complete their paperwork accurately for the majority of their events and have an extremely casual attitude to rules and regulations. This was a constant problem for us as the National Governing Body as we tirelessly had to chase and communicate for them to observe basic compliance. Unfortunately, they failed to see that this was a problem of their own making and repeatedly apportion blame to everyone else. We feel that this is an extremely important point to make you aware of as safety and rule compliance is one of our top priorities as well as our duty of care towards all parties involved in Powerboat Racing.
We further advise the the Offshore Racing Drivers Association (OCRDA) have been removed as an RYA Powerboat Race Training Centre along with their Instructors as they failed their Centre Inspection. The Nature of this failure is that OCRDA could not produce any records or details of training they claimed to have carried out and had no centre operational procedures or any other operational framework that is required. All attempts by the RYA to help them with this issue have been ignored.
This situation is obviously very concerning for us and as previously advised, we feel that it is important that we made you aware of the situation.
Should you wish to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to contact me.”
RYA Powerboat Racing Manager
Robert McCarthy’s response
“Having been alerted to this letter by several UK Harbour Masters, several of which have become personal friends over the past 20 odd years of me organising events with them. I read the letter sent out by Mrs. Jelf, this was as we expected although maybe not in such an unpleasant slanderous tone.
The RYA have authorised all of our events by issuing course approval but they have ignored the fact that they have previously issued licenses to the majority of our drivers which they would not have done if they thought we were in any way unsafe.
As for the allegations ref. training I was one of the first RYA approved trainers helping to set up the training scheme and was issued with my new trainers licence on the same day as OCRDA announced the decision to run events independently of the Powerboat Department. I have all the documents relating to this training.
I feel that something along the lines of ” We are very disappointed that OCRDA having supported the RYA for many years have felt the need to run independently of the RYA. I would like to bring to your attention that whilst the club in question are still affiliated to the RYA we will not be offering any support from this department we wish them well in their new venture” would have been a more appropriate / grown up notice!
It is interesting to note that none of the other independent clubs have had the same treatment.”
Mr Robert McCarthy