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Rules of Racing

(Revised 20th April 2004)


  1. General
  2. Race Committee
  3. Entry Requirements  
  4. Starting Requirements  
  5. Disputes Procedure  
  6. Divisions
  7. Withdrawals
  8. Starting Order
  9. Embarking & Warming Up
  10. Starting Procedure
  11. Delays
  12. Bumps
  13. Technical Bumps
  14. Penalty Bumps
  15. Row Overs
  16. Finishing Order
  17. Stopping Racing
  18. Disembarking

L1. General

L1.1. Oxford City Bumping Races are affiliated to the A.R.A. as a non-qualifying event and shall be conducted according to A.R.A. Rules of Racing, subject to the Local Rules defined here.
L1.2. These Rules shall be read in conjunction with the A.R.A. Rules of Racing.

L2. Race Committee

L2.1. The Race Committee shall have the authority to:
a) require participating Boat Clubs to restrict the number of cyclists accompanying crews;
b) require participating coxes and crew members to attend pre-race safety briefings;
c) impose, in addition to the disciplinary measures specified in A.R.A. Rule 2-7-5, penalty bumps for dangerous conduct or violations of rules of racing without issuing a prior 'Official Warning'.

  L3. Entry requirements   

L3.1. Each crews shall consist of 4 oarsmen or oarswomen, a cox, a poleman and a judge with a bicycle, all of whom must be named on the Entry Form.
L3.2. Composite crews are not permitted.
L3.3. No person may row in two crews, or row in one crew and cox another.
L3.4. Boats may be shared by one men's and one women's crew. (For the purposes of doubling up, coxes will be considered as being part of the boat, i.e. a cox may double up provided only that s/he is coxing a men's and a women's crew sharing one boat.)
L3.5. There shall be no coaching from the bank such as might influence the assigned crew judge. This includes verbalization of the distance between crews.

L4. Starting Requirements

L4.1. The coxswain, stroke, poleman and judge of each crew must attended the mandatory pre-race safety briefing for crews to be eligible to race.   

L5. Disputes Procedure   

L5.1. Complaints against other crews must be registered with the Race Committee within 10 minutes of the incident.
L5.2. Complaints against routine Race Committee decisions (excluding those treated as resolutions of disputes) must be registered with the Race Committee within 10 minutes of the announced decision.
L5.3. Having been notified of a complaint, the Race Committee shall contact all other interested parties who then have 10 minutes in which to send a representative to put their case.   

L6. Divisions   

Unless resolved otherwise by the Race Committee:

L6.1. Oxford City Bumping Races shall consist of 2 Men's divisions and 2 Women's divisions.
L6.2. The races will be held on the Isis over one day.
L6.3. Racing will be in stern- or bow-coxed fours.
L6.4. Each division will race at roughly 2-hourly intervals, with successive races scheduled at 35 minutes intervals throughout the day.
L6.5. Divisions shall consist of up to 16 boats, plus the `Sandwich Boat', except for the bottom divisions which shall consist of up to 17 boats.
L6.6. Divisions are to be raced in descending order numerically (division 1 being the top division, and the last division to race).
L6.7. The boat which finishes first in each division may row as `Sandwich Boat' at the bottom of the next highest division.
L6.8 The boat finishing bottom of each division shall row at the head of the next lowest division in the next round.

L7. Withdrawals   

L7.1. The Race Secretary should be notified of any withdrawals  in writing. If a crew fails to boat for a race, it shall be regarded as having withdrawn from the competition.
L7.2. In the event of a crew withdrawn after the deadline for close of entries, but before the Starting Order is finalized, the crew shall be removed entirely from the Starting Order, and all crews below it in the starting order moved up one place.     
L7.3. In the event of one or more members of the crew becoming ill during the day, the A.R.A. Rules of Racing will apply.

L8. Starting Order   

L8.1. A provisional starting order shall be prepared by the Organizing Committee as soon as possible after the closing date for entries and shall be posted on the OCBR website. 
L8.2. In the Millennium Year the new starting order shall be as follows, 68 positions shall be allocated as entries are received in the following manner Elite, Senior 1, Senior 2, Senior 3, and Novice, with the Elite crews heading Division 1. Within these categories, the crews will be drawn at random. 
In subsequent years the starting order shall be determined by draw according to status, taking into account the previous year's finishing order. 
The starting order shall be finalized at midnight before the day's racing, until which time the provisional starting order may be amended in the event of further withdrawals.
L8.5. The new start order after each race will be published at City of Oxford Rowing Club 1 hr prior to the next race of that Division.
L8.6. Should a crew fail to start because of a proven equipment failure, it will be placed one position lower in the starting order of the next round or immediately below any crew that started above them in that missed round (whichever is the lower).

L9. Embarking & Warming Up   

L9.1. All crews must embark from their designated landing stages with their bows pointing upstream as soon as the safety launch following the preceding race has cleared the landing stage.
L9.2. Except when racing, crews must keep to the right hand side of the river above Donnington Bridge, and to the left hand side of the river below it (i.e. normal circulation is reversed below Donnington Bridge).
L9.3. Warming up should take place along the Greenbank, upstream of the Gut but below Christ Church Boat House. Any crew practicing starts or firm pressure rowing in or downstream of the Gut will be penalized.
L9.4. Crews proceeding on the right hand side of the river downstream towards the Start must stop at the marked crossing point at Donnington Bridge (see map) and await instructions from the Crossing Marshal before crossing over to left hand side of the River.
L9.5. Crews which have passed the crossing point into the start area below Donnington Bridge may not leave it, except in the course of racing.
L9.6. All crews should be near their bunglines by the 5-minute gun (see L10.4). At the very least, all crews MUST be below Donnington Bridge at this point.
L9.7. All crews MUST be on their bunglines by the firing of the 1-minute gun (see L10.5). Failure to comply will incur a penalty.   

L10. Starting Procedure   

L10.1. Each boat shall be started from a rope 50 feet in length, held by the coxswain or stroke, the other end of the rope to be fastened to a post on the towpath.
L10.2. The distance between each starting post shall be 100 feet, the first situated 150 feet downstream of Donnington Bridge.
L10.3. Divisions shall be raced at intervals of not less than 25 minutes and not more than 45 minutes (unless safety dictates otherwise).
L10.4. Not less than five minutes before the start of the division, the Senior Umpire shall order the firing of the `Five Minute Gun'. Four minutes later, or later if safety dictates, the Senior Umpire shall order the firing of the `One Minute Gun'. One minute later, another gun shall be fired to signal the start.
L10.5. If the Starting Gun has not fired within seventy seconds from the One Minute Gun, crews will be notified by the Senior Umpire that the sequence of guns shall be repeated from the One Minute Gun.
L10.6. For a race to be deemed to have taken place, 75% of the  boats in the division must be attached to their bunglines when the Starting Gun is fired.
L10.7 The stroke of a bow loaded boat may let go of the bungline not more than 5 seconds of the final gun, provided the boat does not move upstream before the start gun, otherwise normal penalties will apply.

L11. Delays   

L11.1. Subject to L10.3, delays may be granted by the Senior Umpire provided that the request is delivered before the One Minute Gun.
L11.2. Crews needlessly causing the start to be delayed are liable to be penalized, at the discretion of the Senior Umpire.   

L12. Bumps

L12.1. A bump shall be deemed to have taken place when:

a) a boat touches any part of the boat in front of it, the term 'boat' to include oars, rudder, crew, pole or bungline;
b) an umpire or judge deems an equivalent overlap equivalent to L12.1a, above, to have taken place; or
c) when the coxswain or stroke of the leading boat acknowledges, by raising his arm, that a bump is inevitable; or
d) when one boat rows clean by another.

L12.2. A boat shall be liable to be bumped until every part of it has crossed the finishing line.
L12.3. On achieving a bump, a boat ceases to be part of a race.
L12.4. Crews dropping out of the race at any time (e.g. on achieving bump) must pull over immediately to the right hand bank of the river without stopping (other than to avoid a collision). Any crew which obstructs the race by failing to observe these instructions is liable to be penalized. 

L13. Technical Bumps   

L13.1. Technical bumps may be awarded by the Race Committee if a boat does not start in accordance with OCBR Rules.
L13.2. In the event of a technical bump, the division shall proceed as normal except that the offending crew shall lose one place.
L13.3. If the offending crew has attempted to start, any bumps gained by it shall be disallowed while any bumps gained on it shall stand.
L13.4. The Race Committee may choose not to award a technical bump if they decide that a crew never intended to start, in which case the rest of the division shall proceed as normal save that the offending crew shall be placed at the bottom of the division.
L13.5. The crew benefiting from a technical bump may choose to decline it.   

L14. Penalty Bumps   

L14.1. Penalty Bumps may be awarded by the Race Committee in the event of dangerous conduct, or illegal interference with other crews racing.
L14.2. The number of places lost through a Penalty Bump is at the discretion of the Race Committee.
L14.3. Crews receiving penalty bumps shall automatically have any valid bump gained disallowed.
L14.4. Penalty bumps shall not be awarded until the crew involved has been invited to present their case, and shall follow the disputes procedure.
L14.5. If anyone deliberately jumps out of a boat while racing, the boat shall be bumped as if it remained stationary at that point.
L14.6. Penalty or other bumps shall not be awarded against crews which, after gaining a bump, continue to race due to reasonable uncertainty over whether or not the bump had occurred.   

L15. Row Overs

L15.1. The Race Committee may disallow otherwise valid Bumps and award Row-Overs to the crews involved in the following circumstances:

a) Bumps on crews that were only caught due to unavoidable external influences shall be disallowed;
b) Boats that have had bumps disallowed shall be awarded row-overs unless they have also accumulated penalty bumps;
c) Boats easying under a reasonable misapprehension that they have gained a bump shall be awarded a row over, otherwise all boats are expected to complete the course where possible;
d) Overbumps shall stand despite crews in between subsequently being awarded row-overs.   

L16. Finishing Order   

L16.1. The Finishing Line is marked by the Cox Stone (see map). 
The finishing order of a division shall be the order in which the remaining boats cross the finishing line, except that all boats achieving a bump shall be placed above the boat bumped.   

L17. Stopping Racing   

L17.1. In the event of a hooter sounding continuously during a race: 

a) All boats shall cease racing immediately;
b) Bumps gained prior to the hooter shall stand;
c) Senior division crews still racing when the hooter sounded shall re-row from their original bunglines;
d) Crews in other divisions still racing when the hooter sounded shall be awarded a row-over;
e) There shall be a maximum of one re-row per division.

  L18. Disembarking   

L18.1. At the end of a race, the procedure for disembarking shall be as follows:

a) Crews that have crossed the Finish line should wait in the turning area (see map) facing into the stream until the last boat remaining in the Division has crossed the line. b) On turning, crews should immediately proceed downstream on the right hand side of the river and disembark at their designated landing stage. 
c) Crews disembarking below the Gut should proceed to the crossing point at Donnington Bridge, where they should stop and await instructions from Crossing Marshal. On crossing the river, crews should turn immediately by the houseboats at Salters' and approach the landing stages with bows pointing upstream. 

L18.2. Crews may not turn in the turning area after racing except under the direction of a marshal.
L18.3. After a race, all participating crews must have disembarked at their designated landing stages before the Five Minute Gun signalling the start of the next race. Failure to do so may incur a penalty.

Revised: 26 April 2004 .