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Jabberwaoc - December 1998

Editorial

The last 2 WAOC events have both been Limited Colour Coded events. This in itself is not unusual but it is the courses that were missed out that were. At Ampthill it was the Yellow (TD2) course (along with the Blue and Brown) and at Bush Heath it was the Light Green (TD4) course. For an experienced adult this would not be an inconvenience as we would run the Green course or above, but we wonder about the thoughts of the juniors and those learning the skills of orienteering. There is an enormous gap between the technical difficulty (TD) of a White (TD1) and an Orange (TD3) course and similarly an Orange (TD3) and a Green (TD5) course. If a junior has just started running Yellow courses and, finding the Yellow course is unavailable, runs an Orange (peer pressure dictates that they will not do a lesser course!) and fails, will this deter them from wanting to orienteer again?

What do other club members think? Should we always aim to offer a full TD range (1-5) of courses?

We wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and a very prosperous New Year

(even to the planner who hid the control in an unlocatable pit!)

Neil & Pauline Humphries ( NeilHumphries@compuserve.com )


Chairman's Chat (Dave's Drivel)

Quite a lot of this edition of JW is concerned with the 'business' of the club: The AGM, housing the club's equipment, news about BOF's proposals for restructuring, EAOA's plans to buy electronic punching etc., and not so much about actually orienteering. That's mainly because what's in the forefront of my mind is all this business stuff and the club committee have a responsibility to keep you informed about it all. It's also partly because my own orienteering has been particularly lacklustre recently so I've been trying to forget about it! For the record, I retired from the November Classic, ran a short course at Long Valley and still took ages, and then got horribly lost in the wilderness of Epping Forest looking for the first control. In mitigation, I did run in my first ever marathon at the end of October, and chose a particularly tough one as a debut: the Snowdonia Marathon - 26.2 miles and 1800' of climb, so I've had some excuse for not being in tip-top condition since, but I can't string that excuse out for much longer, and will soon have to find another one.

But it would be nice if there were a few more articles from people that are actually about orienteering, to balance the business side with some more anecdotal stories. Have you had a particularly good (or bad!) run recently that would be worth relating? Perhaps just an individual leg that went really well. Perhaps you've been attending some of Julia's training courses and have been tempted to try a new technique. Why not put pen to paper and send a short article to Neil and Pauline? It only needs to be one or two paragraphs (but if you can write more and provide diagrams or photos, the editors would be delighted!).

Happy Christmas!

Dave.


CompassSport Cup Regional Round

The CompassSport Cup regional round will be on Sunday, 10 January 1999 at Brandon Country Park. This year will be a different format, instead of being a head-to-head knockout competition against one other club; there will be a regional competition with 12 clubs participating in two categories. WAOC will be competing in the large club category against HH, LEI, LOK, NOC and NOR. This will be a tough competition - these are strong clubs but the competition is on our 'home ground'; all the other clubs have further to travel. The event is open to all club members, it's very important that everyone makes every effort to get there. Quite often these competitions are won by the clubs that muster the most support: this is because points are scored in all age groups. It's not enough for a club to have a strong team of M21's if they haven't also got a sufficient number of scoring W16's or M55's.


WAOC membership renewal

1999 subscriptions are now due. Please renew promptly and ensure a regular flow of Jabberwaoc's! BOF members are sent their renewal forms by BOF. For Club only members, a yellow renewal form is included with this edition of Jabberwaoc. No action is needed by new members who joined after September 1998, their current membership lasts until December 1999.

Any queries? Please email Anne Duncumb (Membership Secretary)


West Anglian Orienteering Club

Annual General Meeting 1999

Date: Saturday, 13 March 1999
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: St. Catherine's College, Cambridge
Agenda:
  1. Apologies for absence
  2. Chairman's report
  3. Acceptance of Accounts
  4. Election of officers
  5. Awards / Presentations
  6. Any other business

The minutes of the 1998 meeting were included in the March 1998 (Vol 26 No. 2) Jabberwaoc.

As you'll see from other articles in this Jabberwaoc, there's likely to be a significant number of changes in the line-up of the committee, so it'll be quite an important meeting. This is your opportunity to influence the activities of the club, make suggestions, ask questions and perhaps even put yourself forward as a committee member.

We may also have a speaker, although this can't be confirmed at present. For example, we may have someone from BOF to describe BOF's strategic development plans, or preparations for the World Orienteering Championships, or maybe a physiotherapist or nutritionist to advise on Sports Health, or maybe someone from the Woodland Trust or Forest Enterprise to talk about woodland management.

As well as being the annual formal meeting of the club, it's also a good social get-together and an opportunity to meet other club members in a rather more congenial environment than a cold, wind-swept assembly area. To help the social side along a bit, there'll also be a finger buffet. Please bring a contribution, either sweet or savoury (e.g.. quiche, crisps, nuts, sausages-on-sticks, cake, etc.). There'll also be games and quizzes and, if the weather's suitable, some Street-Orienteering, so bring along your trainers and suitable clothes for a half-hour run around the streets of Cambridge.

St. Catherines College is in Kings Parade, just south of Kings College. There should be free roadside parking along The Backs and in Silver Street. Or use the multi-storey car park in Lion Yard.


WAOC Badge Event - Rishbeth Warren - Sat, 30 January 1999

On 30/31 January WAOC and CUOC will be jointly hosting a two-day badge event in the Thetford area. The event will be called the Thetford Thrash and will incorporate CUOC's Icenian trophy event. This event is open to all club members.

One of the prime motives for this event is to encourage WAOC and CUOC to work together more closely. As a result, although each club is in charge of a particular day (the WAOC event is on Saturday, at Rishbeth Warren, the CUOC event is on Sunday, at Santon Downham). We'll be sharing manpower so when our organisers start recruiting help you may be asked to help on either the Saturday or the Sunday. The idea is that each of the teams (start, finish, registration etc.) on each day will be made up of some WAOC people and some CUOC people, so you'll get to meet people in the other club.

It should be good fun and a little different, so please respond willingly if called upon. Of course, if you can help on both days you'll be especially popular with the organisers. Even better, if you're available to help on either day, please volunteer your services rather than waiting for the phone call. It makes the organiser's job many times easier if you do. Tim Mulcahy and Alan Milne are the people to contact (see the inside front cover of JW).

As there will not be much daylight after the event, the planners would be extremely grateful for any help with collecting the controls. The more volunteers that we can get, the quicker it will be.


Equipment storage

As mentioned in the 'Committee Turnover' article, Anne Braggins is standing down as Equipment Officer, so the club will need to find a new home for its equipment. Have you got a half-empty garage that could be used to store our equipment? There's not too much of it, and it may be possible to split it up. Without going into details, you can imagine the sort of stuff we're talking about: a couple of tents, approx 100 kites and canes, numerous control punches and control cards; start and finish banners; a couple of trestle tables and water canisters etc.

Almost all the equipment is used at each event, so it amounts to two carloads, plus a bit. Obviously, if you can help, we'd be delighted to hear from you. In theory, providing a space to keep the equipment doesn't mean you'd automatically become the club equipment officer, but you'd be the obvious first choice. If you do volunteer to be equipment officer, you'd need to be available to the organisers and planners of events to enable them to collect and return the equipment and to keep a general eye on where it is and what condition it's in at any given time. You'd also be responsible for advising the committee about what repairs or replacements were necessary. Although the job is a committee post, it isn't essential that you attend committee meetings if you'd rather not - as long as you keep the committee informed as to the condition of the equipment, that will be sufficient.

If you haven't got the space yourself, do you know of a cheap, secure, garage that WAOC could use? If we can't find suitable storage within our own membership, we'll be looking to hire a garage or other storage facility somewhere. Do you know of somewhere suitable? If so, please let me (Dave), or Alan Milne, club Treasurer, know as soon as possible.


Training

Thank you to all those who turned up to the last training event on 14 November which tested use of handrails, aiming off and attack points. There was also an opportunity to practice control flow, i.e. running to the control ready to punch, punching quickly, and leaving the control in the correct direction without having to stop to refer to the map because you have the next part of the route in your head. I hope you all found it useful as well as fun. Thank you also to Lindsey Freeman and Dave Wotton for helping hang and collect controls and helping me try to jump start my car when it failed to start at the end of the session. The car has been fine since.

And now for some more technical terms:

A "catching feature" is typically a line feature or some large obvious feature. e.g. a lake beyond the control and perpendicular to your route which will "catch" you if you miss the control and overshoot. A catching feature may also be a line feature parallel to your route which will catch you if you wander off your straight line route. For example, suppose your control is in a small depression with a path beyond it , a stream to the right and a fence to the left. The path will catch you if you overshoot and the stream or fence will catch you if you veer off to the right or left from your desired straight route from X. Catching features can give you confidence to go a little faster because even if you make a mistake you will not go too far wrong because your route is contained.

"Traffic Lighting". A useful skill in orienteering is the ability to break down a leg into easy, more difficult and tricky navigational sections (you may not always have 3 types of section in each leg) and to run at the speed appropriate to this difficulty. This is known as "traffic lighting". This means knowing when to go fast (green) such as when following a handrail to an obvious feature, knowing when to slow down (amber) such as when you are approaching a control which is not in a very difficult area and when visibility is good, and knowing when to walk (red) such as when finding a control in a very complex contoured area.

The next training event was due to be at Mardley Heath. However there has been a change of plan due to land permission problems. The latest information on the training programme is as follows:

Provisional Training Programme

Date/time Location Techniques

29 Dec 98

Oxhey Woods Joint training with Happy Herts.

Time: 10:00 Near M1 J5

Feb 99/Mar 99 Thetford or Maulden? Simplification, Compass & pace

Visualisation, (pairs using 2-way radios)

May 99 Rowney Warren? Route choice, Relocation
Jul 99 Brecon Beacons Training weekend

I am looking for some volunteers to put on one or two courses in next years sessions. Please contact me if you would be prepared to plan something.

Julia. (julia@cpd.ntc.nokia.com)


WAOC Summer Galoppen 1999

which new area will Fred and Neil map? Answers on a postcard please

1998 events proved that this event is increasing in popularity and I'm hoping that, like previous years, the organisers will volunteer so I've presented a list of dates/venues so that anyone willing to have a go can pick and choose what suits them.

Already booked

  • 21 April - Priory Park, Bedford
  • 26 May - Ampthill Park

List of available dates:

  • 12 May, 2 June, 16 June, 30 June
  • 14 July, 28 July, 18 August, 1 September

Available areas:

(All subject to obtaining permission)

West
  • Bedford Park
  • Rowney Warren
  • Chicksands (after May)
South
  • Rowney Wood (best used at earliest opportunity due to undergrowth)
  • Harlton (after June)
Central
  • Milton Country Park
  • Cherry Hinton Hall
Northern
  • Hinchingbrooke Park

These are all very light hearted and low key, anyone unsure about their abilities to either plan or organise will find them ideal to cut their teeth on! The more experienced folk seem to enjoy doing them simply as a change from the usual event. If someone is unsure about doing one on their own then I will willingly give them a hand. Please call and put your bids in.

Lindsey Freeman. ( Halandlin@aol.com )


Planners/Organisers course - 27 February 99

EAOA will be holding a training course for Planners and Organisers on Saturday, 27 February 99 probably at High Lodge. If you've never planned or organised before (or even if you have) and would like to find out what it is all about, this will be well worth attending.

For further information or to book your place, contact Tim Eden (EAOA Chairman, and NOR member).


BOF Membership/Restructuring

BOF is reviewing its membership structure with a view to putting some restructuring proposals to the next BOF AGM at Easter. There are two separate but related issues. The first is to increase BOF membership amongst those who orienteer, the second is to review the three-tier structure of membership (club, region, BOF). The club committee has discussed the issues, but they're complex and affect all orienteers, so I'll try to explain them so that you can have your say too.

The first issue of trying to increase BOF membership is fairly straightforward and has a bigger impact on those who are NOT already BOF members than on those who are. One of BOF's problems is that, in negotiating with public bodies such as the Sports Councils, Forest Enterprise, the media etc., it cannot claim to represent all orienteers as there are a significant number of orienteers who are members of clubs but who have chosen not to join BOF. There are also other people who attend orienteering events who compete as "independents" and choose not even to join clubs. On paper BOF membership is falling which might imply to some organisations that orienteering is becoming less popular and so less deserving of funding.

So BOF would like to see everyone who orienteers become a BOF member. That way it would be able to present a more precise figure of the number of orienteers in the country and could legitimately claim to represent most orienteers. There are two possible approaches (both of which would need to be agreed at a BOF AGM). The first is simply to make a rule that eliminates club-only membership. If you want to join a club, you would also have to join BOF. For those who are not already BOF members, this would result in approximately doubling the membership fee. Exactly what the new fee would be is difficult to tell, as increased membership means that the BOF membership fee could be reduced, so using the existing fee structure would not be representative. The obvious risk is that some people whom currently orienteer "casually", only three or four times a year in their local region may choose not to become club/BOF members at all. Would BOF then take it a step further and say that orienteering events must be "closed" i.e. no-one can compete as an independent: you must be a BOF/club member to take part in any orienteering events?

The second approach is to make BOF membership more attractive to non-BOF members, probably by passing a rule that says that event organisers must impose a two-tier entry fee structure for their events whereby non-BOF competitors pay a higher entry fee than BOF members. This is the approach taken in road races. Competitors, who are not members of the national association, either directly, or through club affiliation, pay 1.00 extra to enter events. Genuinely casual competitors, who only take part in two or three races a year, will probably choose to remain independent and pay the extra entry fee; for those who compete more than four or five times a year, it's to their advantage to join the national association - it works out cheaper

Personally, I think this second approach is best. I agree with BOF's efforts to persuade more people to join BOF, Orienteering needs BOF. BOF provides many services that benefit all orienteers, not just BOF members (the most notable is that BOF provides insurance for all events: without this insurance much orienteering, which insurance companies' class as an "adventure sport" would not happen). We also need a national federation to define the sport's rules, to co-ordinate a national fixture list and encourage the hosting of national and international standard events, to publicise and promote the sport and generally provide an infrastructure without which the sport would disintegrate. Since BOF supports all orienteers, I believe all orienteers should support BOF. But let's encourage people to join BOF rather than coerce them. Those who still genuinely do not want to formally join the national federation can still take part in events by paying a slightly higher entry fee to pay for the benefits which BOF members are paying from their membership fee.

What about the regions? Tangled up with this issue about increasing BOF membership is the vexed issue of regional membership. As well as BOF and clubs, there is a middle tier of orienteering structure: the regions. In our case the region is EAOA - The East Anglian Orienteering Association. At present, if you want to become a BOF member, you must also become a member of your local region. In practice, most orienteers are in one of the following three categories: (a) independent, (b) club-only member or (c) club, region and BOF member. However, it is possible for people to join the region and BOF (but not join a club) or to join a club and a region (but not BOF). What a mess!

The requirement to join a region to become a BOF member simply provides a mechanism to fund the regions. BOF is trying to sort out some of the confusion and one solution would be for the regions not to be membership entities in their own right but to be simply associations of affiliated clubs and which are funded either by the clubs, or by a BOF subsidy. The overall expense to orienteers probably wouldn't change, the money would simply come through different channels.

Of course, as soon as you start tinkering with the funding of an organisation, this tends to raise the question of its value. It's perhaps less obvious what the functions of the region are. The functions of the clubs should be obvious (if not, stay behind after class, and I'll try to explain), and I've already described what BOF does, but what do the regions actually do?

One of the reasons that the functions of the regions are less obvious than that of BOF or the clubs is that they vary from region to region. However, most regions fulfill the following roles:

  1. They co-ordinate the regional fixture list, to avoid local clashes of events. However, it's questionable whether we need an entire association just to reduce fixture clashes, and it's debateable as to whether co-ordinating local fixtures is sufficient given that many enthusisastic orienteers are frequently tempted to attractive events outside their own region.

  2. Perhaps the next most important thing that associations do is supporting the regional junior squads that is a step on the ladder to the national squads.

  3. It is through the regions that the views of clubs are represented at BOF committees and Council and most regions also produce a newsletter that provides a regional fixture list and news of regional activitity

  4. In many parts of the country, the regions are responsible for hosting large events which individual clubs could not host alone, e.g. the JK, the British Orienteering Championships, the Lakeland 5 days, the Welsh 6 days. However, there is a BOF guideline, directive, rule, whatever, that excludes the JK and the BOC from being held in East Anglia. So, in this respect, EAOA is unable to provide a similar service to that provided by other regions, although EAOA has recently successfully hosted the Harvester, an annual night-orienteering relay and will be hosting the Inter-regional junior championships in 2000. In common with most other regions, EAOA will be holding a regional round of the CompassSport Cup in January 1999.

So, that's the position: moves are afoot to rationalise BOF membership, which will affect everyone who orienteers. If you want your opinion to be heard, now's the time to speak up. Either write to the Jabberwaoc editors (Neil and Pauline) or bend the ear of anyone on the committee.


Junior Inter Club Competition

The regional round of the competition took place at Brandon Country Park on 10 October. With 2 teams going onto the final WAOC were up against strong opposition from SOS and NOR. After the scores were totaled it emerged that SOS had come first with 394 points with WAOC coming second (381 points) ahead of NOR (376 points). Therefore SOS and WAOC qualified for the final at Fairoak & Brindley on 6 December.

Well done to all the juniors who supported the club.

Helen Bickle

Edmund Brown

Leonie Brown

Helen Gardner

Peter Gardner

Simon Gardner

Stephanie Gash

Martin Humphries

Philip Humphries

Steven Lawson

Edward Louth

Ian Wadeson

Lucy Scutt

Emma Scutt

The final result are not yet available but I understand that WCH came first with NOC second and EBOR third. More in the next Jabberwaoc.


Committee Turnover

There is likely to be a radical makeover in the composition of the WAOC club committee at the next AGM, as a number of long-standing and influential committee members stand down from their posts.

In no particular order: Sue and Roger Orpin have resigned as club captains with immediate effect. This is due to circumstances outside of 'O' which have prevented them from attending events throughout the season and thereby make a captaincy role virtually impossible. On behalf of the club, I would like to thank Sue and Roger for all the support they have offered to the club, both as club captains and previously as enthusiastic club members, and as our local Ultrasport vendors. Until the AGM, we will manage without club captains. If anyone requires club kit in the immediate future, please contact myself (Dave) or Anne Duncumb, membership secretary.

After 21 years as equipment officer, Anne Braggins feels the time is ripe to hand over the responsibility to someone else. Many new members of the club may not know Anne personally as, in more recent years, her responsibilities have widened in promoting Trail-O (a variant of orienteering suitable for the disabled, as well as the able-bodied) as chair of the BOF disability advisory committee. Indeed, this role results in much international travel, making it less convenient for her to manage the club's equipment and to be present to check it out and back in again. 21 years is a very long time to be keeping WAOC's equipment in tip-top condition, so many thanks to Anne for all her work in this capacity.

Tim Mulcahy will also be standing down from his committee position as events convener at the next AGM. Tim is another person who may not be familiar to newer members as family commitments have made it harder for him to be present at a lot of events in recent years. However, Tim's role has been essential. It is the events convener's job to find volunteers for the key roles of organiser, planner and controller for each WAOC organised event. This is arguably the 'initiating' task for each event: once suitable volunteers have been found, everything else falls into place but without it no events would happen.

But that's not the end of turnover. Lindsey Freeman has indicated that she wants to stand down from the committee, vacating her post as publicity officer, and Anne Duncumb wishes to relinquish her role as club secretary, although she is willing to carry on the job of membership secretary.

Many thanks to Tim, Lindsey and Anne for all their work in their respective roles. Finally, I've come to the end of my three-year stint as club chairman. Although I'm willing to remain on the committee in some capacity, it is club tradition that the Chairman's tenure is for three years only and so I'll be handing over to someone else at the AGM.

So, lots of changes, and this is where you come in. We need new members on the committee to fill these roles. Some clubs have almost folded by being unable to find members willing to put themselves forward as committee members and, although it's unlikely in our case, it's always a possibility. So, if you've ever thought that you'd like to get more involved in keeping the club going, now is the time to act. None of the jobs are particularly difficult and most only require a couple of hours work per month. As well as actually doing the job you've been nominated for, you'll also be expected to attend evening committee meetings which take place approximately every 2 months. At the committee meetings each officer reports on their actions since the last meeting (e.g. the treasurer reports on the health of club's finances, the events convener and fixtures secretary report on obtaining land use permissions and appointing event officials etc.). The committee also discusses and responds to BOF and EAOA initiatives. Quite a lot of the content of this JW is the result of deliberations at the last committee meeting, so you get the idea.

Personally, I don't think that all the roles should necessarily include a requirement to attend committee meetings as long as the committee is kept informed of progress, but we do need a reasonable number to be present at the meetings to have a representative point of view concerning policy matters (but the next chairman/woman might have a different view on this). Anyway, committee meetings are hardly onerous. If you're interested in any of the vacancies get in touch with me (Dave), or just turn up at the AGM and nominate yourself. If none of the roles actually appeals, but you'd like to become more involved anyway, also get in touch: it's possible that we could juggle jobs within the committee to create a suitable post for you. To see who else is on the committee, refer to the inside front cover of Jabberwaoc.


Electronic Punching

EAOA is looking at the possibility of making a lottery grant bid to buy electronic punching equipment for the region. The conditions of this grant are that it must be matched by an equal contribution from the bidder. Electronic punching will cost about 10,000, so the region must find 5,000. In practice, WAOC will probably be asked to contribute about 1,000. So, do you think this is what we should be spending our money on?

First of all, what is electronic punching? Quite simply, it's a replacement for the control-cards and pinhole punches that we use at present. Instead, each competitor will be issued with a swipe card, similar in principle to a cashpoint card, which will be swiped though a mechanism located at each control site. There are currently two competing systems that have been thoroughly tested and used in international competition. It is likely that electronic punching will be used more and more. It has several advantages over traditional punching. It's more reliable - no faint punching, or punching in the wrong box, or your control card disintegrating when it gets wet. It eliminates cheating by preventing controls being taken out of order - it simply won't register if you try. This makes it useful for small areas where a course may cross itself several times, you can avoid the need to have manned controls or second master maps. Finally, it makes producing the results a doddle; the completed swipe card is handed in at the finish, read into a computer and the results list updated immediately. It can even produce a split-times breakdown for each competitor of how long it took to get to each control (would you really want everybody to know how long it took you to get to the first control?) - there's no need to invest in a special watch to do this.

However, is it worth 10,000? It seems unlikely that individual clubs would want to spend this sort of money on equipment of their own, which is why EAOA is investigating pooling resources to buy a set. But even then, is it cost effective for the size of events put on in the region? It's obviously a boon for events such as the JK or the Lakeland 5 days that have two or three thousand competitors and need to produce results quickly, but EAOA doesn't put on events of that scale. Presumably it would be used at badge events in the region. There's about 4 or 5 per year, each with about 400 competitors. Is that enough to justify its purchase? Would it be used for colour-coded events? There's no reason why not - in fact, we should try to get as much use out of the equipment as possible, but is it practical for events of this size? The planner would need to travel further to collect and return the equipment and there's a learning curve for the organising team to overcome. And what are the "hidden costs", e.g. maintenance, replacement of stolen or lost controls, additional insurance? How much extra value would this equipment add to local orienteering?

Finally, it's possible that the cost of events might go up where the equipment is used. I'm not sure of the details, but it's likely that clubs will try to replenish their reserves by increasing the entry fees for events which use the equipment to pay back the money used to buy it.

EAOA is asking clubs to consider this proposal, so we need to know what you think. Do you want to see electronic punching in the region? Do you think the price is worth it? Or do you think the purchase is unnecessary at the moment? Write to the Jabberwaoc editors (Neil is also the club's representative on EAOA, so you can't go wrong) with your views. If you don't let us know, the committee will have to make a decision without your input.


Trail-O

I am sure that everyone knows about WOC 99 in August next year and that Tim Pugh has approached clubs for helpers, however there is also a World Cup in Trail Orienteering taking place at the same time centred in Aviemore. The organiser is past HAVOC member Anne Hickling and she is currently seeking volunteers to help on 31 July and 1 August 99. Depending on your job you should also be able to get a run on the first two days of Highland 99. If you would like more information or have some time to offer then please contact Anne ( Hickling4@aol.com ).


WAOC Gallopen (WAGAL)

I have omitted this article from the online Jabberwaoc, as the WAGAL is fully described at its own web-page.


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