Categories: News.

OCRDA parade out of Newhaven

None of these boats are permitted to take part in RYA or UIM international races

Whilst many would consider that the sailing division of the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is the envy of the boating world, their powerboat racing division has of late been the subject of much controversy and criticism, to the point that the rules that are meant to promote and protect the sport may ultimately be the cause of its demise if something isn’t done about it soon.
For almost two years it seemed to the powerboat racing fraternity as if the RYA was making life difficult for one or two clubs, and when the increased fee for licences was announced at the beginning of 2017, OCRDA (Offshore Circuit Racing Drivers Association) decided enough was enough and voted to break away from Britain’s governing body and become an independent authority. Their races were still run under the RYA rules regarding insurance, officials etc. but the costs were brought down to less than half that of the RYA.
In retaliation the RYA made it clear that anyone with an OCRDA licence would be unable to race in international or RYA events, but few of the OCRDA teams were bothered as the RYA had few events to take part in anyway, and their calendar highlight, the Cowes-Poole-Cowes race in August, has only attracted eight entries to date. Ironically, if the RYA would just swallow their pride and relax their rules to allow OCRDA teams to take part, the number of entries would be at least doubled. What make matters worse is that the RYA will not allow OCRDA members to purchase an RYA licence to race in any international events.
We spoke to Thomas Kirth, UIM’s Secretary General, on how this situation could be resolved. He said, “We don’t want to get involved in internal squabbles with national authorities unless it effects the UIM.” Well, hey it does! As well as the Cowes races having depleted fields, where are the British entries going to come from for the UIM Class 3 Worlds and European events. The European Class 3 championship in Norway last weekend was made up of 90% Norwegian teams and two from Sweden – no British contenders at all.
We have checked it out and these rules do not apply to sailing, and RYA members are allowed to belong to several clubs if they wish. In contrast the rules of UK powerboat racing are as follows:- so make your own mind up.

104 – NON APPROVED RACES All races not organised according to UIM rules are not to be recognised and all officials and drivers who take any part in such races are suspended or excluded if offence recurs. The same applies to motor boating events not approved by National Authorities.
7 Published 20 7 Offshore Rules on 23/12/16 Any driver having competed in a race not approved by the National Authority of that country or forbidden by the National Authority may be suspended for a period to be fixed by the National Authority. In the case of an International meeting being organised by a non-affiliated club which has not asked permission to organise such a meeting the National Authority must: – Notify the organising club that the drivers can be suspended. – Notify the drivers that they will be suspended in their own country if they take part in International races not approved by the National Authority; the latter may request the UIM to extend this suspension to other countries. A national race, or a race by “invitation” in which a foreign driver is “invited” to take part must be entered in the UIM Calendar otherwise it becomes an unauthorised event. Invited drivers entering such unauthorised races, may lose their International licences. Remember that drivers having International licences, are only allowed to enter a meeting outside their country provided their National Authority gives them permission to do so.
104.01- SPECIAL LICENSES Without prejudice of the foregoing the Council may, on a yearly basis, issue a certain number of Special Licenses for riders and teams, allowing them to compete in races organized by non-UIM entities or under the aegis of entities other than the UIM and its National Authorities. Such Special Licenses shall be granted to National Authorities, which shall issue them to the riders or teams applying accordingly. Special Licenses can only be granted to the holders of UIM international licenses. Special Licenses shall be effective upon payment of the relevant fee, to be established by the UIM Council every year, and shall be valid for a maximum of three races in the year they have been issued. Holders of the Special Licenses shall execute a discharge of liabilities vis-a-vis the UIM and the relevant National Authority. Such discharge of liabilities is condition precedent for the effectiveness of the Special License.
This the RYA rules; B17 Unauthorised Events. A competitor or RYA official cannot participate in a powerboat event that is not calendared or sanctioned by the National Authority or the UIM (where applicable). The RYA will, with immediate effect, suspend all such licence holders and officials from all future events and will notify the UIM of all such suspensions if their participation is identified. This does not apply to RYA training or private individual testing. Furthermore, the RYA and the PBRC will consider participation in unauthorised events by individuals or officials as reason to refuse licence applications or officials applications. Any RYA Affiliated club involved in or hosting un-authorised events will be disaffiliated or have their affiliation applications refused. In the case of an international meeting being organised by a club which is not recognised by the National Authority and which has not asked permission to organise such a meeting, the National Authority will: Notify the Competitor or RYA officials that they will be suspended as described above if they take part in international or UK races not authorised by the local National Authority. In all cases the local National Authority will request the UIM to extend any suspension or sanction is extended to other countries.