At its July 7, 2021 meetng, the CORA Board passed changes to the Long Distance Race Rules.
The changes primarily relate to small boats age divisions, together with changes to unlimited OC6 age divisions and exemptions for Novice crews. Age divisions for small boats are now different from age divisions for big boats. We have introduced definitions for “Small Boats”, being OC1s, V1s, OC2s, OC3s and OC4s, and “Big Boats”, being OC6s and OC12s. We have used the “OC” designation rather than a mix of “OC” and “V” for consistency in naming.
Small Boats Changes
For Small Boats age divisions, paddlers’ age divisions are now specific age ranges, rather than open-ended ranges. For example, “Open” is now 20-39, “Masters 40” is now 40-49, “Masters 50” is now 50-59, “Masters 60” is now 60-69 and “Masters 70+” remains 70 and older. Your age remains the age that you will turn in the calendar year of the race (i.e. if you turn 50 in the calendar year of the race (even if your birthday is after the race), your division will be “Masters 50”). For Small Boats, the definition of “Novice” is now independent of Big Boat experience.
This means that for small boats, paddlers will now “race your age” and may not ‘race down’ an age division, age divisions cannot be collapsed, and we have removed the requirement for 3 entries to form a class for award recognition.
Awards are to be provided even if there are only 1 or 2 entries in a class. So that means that race hosts will provide more awards (which can still be any form of recognition they choose, including food items, beverages, ribbons, etc). The intent is to prevent paddlers from being overlooked when classes are collapsed (i.e. a 70s paddler lumped in with 50s or 60s paddlers, or a less experienced paddler in Open being shut-out by more experienced Masters paddlers ‘racing down’).
We have also revised the junior age divisions of Keiki (16) and Junior (19) to be consistent with IVF age ranges.
For adult OC2s, the age division will be that of the younger paddler, except if there’s a Junior (19) or Keiki (16) paddler on the OC2 with an adult, in which case the OC2 crew would be “Open”. Two Keiki (16) or Junior (19) paddlers would be required to form an OC2 crew in those divisions. Although they are not typically raced, we have also made provisions for OC3 and OC4 crews in the amended rules.
For those paddlers whose peers are in a different age or gender division, we will be requiring Race Directors to post full results for each race or heat across all divisions (i.e. order of finish across the finish line), so that racers can see their placement relative to their peers.
Big Boats Changes
Age Divisions for Big Boats remain unchanged, other than for Keiki (16) and Junior (19), as noted for Small Boats. For Big Boats, the definition of “Novice” is now independent of Small Boat experience.
However, for Unlimited OC6s, we have expanded the age divisions from just “Open” and “Masters 40+” to the full set of age divisions.
Big Boat age division definitions for both Spec OC6s and Unlimited OC6s are still open-ended (i.e. Open (any age), Masters 40+, Masters 50+, Masters 60+ and Masters 70+), three crews are still required for class designation and can still be collapsed for award recognition.
For Novice Big Boat crews, an experienced paddler is still allowed, but can be in either Seat 5 or 6 (not just in Seat 6 steering). This allows a Novice steer while preserving an element of safety. The Race Director may also provide additional exemptions in his or her discretion.
The Amended July 2021 CORA Long Distance Race Rules are available HERE and a blacklined copy versus the March 2020 version is available HERE.