Updated Racing Rules :: May 2010

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Prior to the races

    1. All crews must carry VHF radios which must be switched on and working throughout the entire duration of the race.
    2. Bow fenders must be in place, correctly secured and all floorboards, of correct specification must be in place.
    3. All coxswains must be 18 years of age or over.
    4. It is fundamental that a safety boat is in place for a race to commence. This does not refer to the umpire boat.
    5. A race must not take place without the presence of both umpires and umpire boat(s).
    6. A shore base MUST be manned and maintain communication with the umpire and safety boats AT ALL TIMES.
    7. All umpire boats must have suitable safety / medical kits.
    8. All gigs must have an attached bow rope. This should allow for the safe towing of the gig if the need arises. (It should be roughly from bow to coxswain seat in length and 10/12mm thick).  Advice: no gig should be towed by the ring, needs to be round two thwarts and then fastened

Crew Information

9. Gigs are to complete a race with the same crew members as they start with. A crew consists of six (6) rowers and one (1) coxswain.
10. In any junior race, lifejackets must be worn by the crew and coxswain in such a way that is clearly visible to the umpires.
11. In any senior race, if there is a junior rowing, then lifejackets must be worn by both the junior and coxswain.
12.  Stretchers: Many question are asked about the angle of stretchers in the boat, this is entirely up to the club. The specification is that there must only be four (4) stretcher positions.

Regarding foot restraints, the CPGA advises against this, but if a club / individual wishes to do so it is their responsibility and NOT the CPGA. In relation to this there are a number of illustrations as to the right and wrong way of restraining the feet. With juniors, again it is now the responsibility of the Club and NOT the CPGA. See at bottom of article for illustrations.


    1. A crew may be disqualified for failing to obey the umpire’s instructions.
    2. A crew may be disqualified for any unsporting like behaviour (see Code of Conduct).
    3. Any umpire has the right to order a gig to withdraw from a race at any time. This right should be exercised in the event of poor seamanship or for safety reasons.
    4. The decision of the umpires on the day will be FINAL.
    5. The action of any coxswain deemed unnecessary/unsafe/unsporting, will be reported to the CPGA committee for disciplinary action if appropriate. The Umpire Rep will monitor situations / coxswains via a yellow and red card system as noted in an umpire book. (See Umpires Code of Conduct)
    6. One nominated person from a crew is to speak to race stewards regarding any racing incident. Race Stewards will speak to this one member of the crew regarding race incidents/umpires decisions only.

Umpires Code of Conduct

  • A common sense approach should be applied at all times
  • A straight red card/disqualification must be carefully considered and a last resort decision.
  • Umpires should actively seek to encourage the race to continue and any decisions to stand so to consider the interests of both the competitors and ultimately the sport.

With this in mind the following should be considered:

    • Whether the nominated person of the crew concerned has indicated the possible racing incident/infringement to the stewards/umpires

From this it should be considered:

    • Whether the infringement affected the final outcome
    • Whether the infringement created a dangerous or costly situation


Umpire Reps must be informed of all of the details (including their opinion sanction i.e. red or yellow card) and severity of all incidents. The Umpire Rep will subsequently inform the Race Stewards of the situation. The race stewards will then consider the sanction (demoting their racing placement, a time penalty, a verbal warning to coxswain etc)

2 yellow cards over a season does not necessary mean a red (disqualification) the next time it happens, but continual offenders will be monitored and dealt with as required.

A disqualification = serious/deliberate/dangerous infringement and/or damage caused decided at the umpires discretion using the above Code of Conduct.

A yellow card = an infringement deemed less serious by the umpires.

At a timed event, the sanction could vary from a verbal warning to a 5, 10 or 15 second time penalty.

At a non-timed event, the sanction could vary from a verbal warning to a 1, 2 or 3 position demotion or a swap of positions with infringed boat



    1. Safe handling of the boat is of the utmost importance at all times. Coxswains should always endeavour to avoid collisions. They should anticipate situations, take avoiding action and even instruct their crew to stop rowing/hold water if necessary.
    2. In the event of an accident, it is the duty of the umpires and any competitors to abandon the race and provide all possible assistance.
    3. In the event of some unforeseen circumstance, umpires have the right to order the abandonment of the race. All gigs must then follow umpires instructions.
    4. In the event of an obstruction all crews/coxswains must act in a safe manner to allow the passage of all gigs.
    5. The coxswain is strictly not permitted to aid the momentum of the stroke paddle at anytime during the race, unless there is a safety issue.


    1. The start line must be clearly marked at each end with transit lines to allow for clear sighting for both coxswains and starter. All racing gigs should be in a straight line in accordance with the markers. The starter will judge the line using the cox’n seat. * see starting procedure below
    2. A leading gig should follow a straight course and must not “zigzag” with the intention of impeding a following gig.
    3. An overtaking gig, whether taking the port or starboard route, must keep clear of the gig being overtaken.
    4. The umpires calling point will be marked with a buoy, approx 6 length from the turn. The positioning of the umpire boat is critical, this needs to be discussed and clarified with the skippers / club, prior to the first race of the day. At this point the umpires will decide who has the advantage by assessing whether the bow of the port side gig has reached the coxswains seat creating an overlap. They will then inform the crews using a loud hailer and vhf radio (if this does not affect the start of a following race). No crew should slow their gig on or approaching the mark as far as reasonably practicable once the call has been made, so not to create an obstruction to following gigs.
    5. The gig which is given the advantage has the rights to the mark and the following gigs must avoid it whatever the situation. Each following gig will be given instructions from the umpires. If the boat given the rights to the mark leaves a gap, a following gig can go into that gap – so long as they do not impede the gig with the rights. No impeding on the stroke side or ahead of the number 5 oar is to take place. Please also refer to rule 19 for further information
    6. All gigs shall pass the umpire boat on the gigs port side, unless informed differently at the coxes meeting.
    7. All gigs must complete races by following the course as instructed.



Starting procedure

Controlled starts that make them fair and take no longer than 5 minutes

Any crew within 3 lengths of the start line before the flag goes up will be sent to the beach before the race even starts.

The starter will call crews into some kind of order 3 lengths behind the line then the flag is raised, that is when crews can come up into line.

From the time the flag is raised, there is up to 5 minutes for the race to start, after that the flag drops anyway (anyone over the line is dq)

If a line is achieved during the 5 minutes, the flag will drop.

The ideal is that the crews come up from 3 lengths down together and then the starts will take no time at all. Anyone pushing the line and not taking the instructions from the starter has 3 warnings, the fourth time that crew is called they will be told to go to the beach.

When a line is achieved the call will be ‘attention’, no boat is expected move forward after this call (to stop any running starts) any bow that presents its self between the starter ‘attention’ and ‘go’ will again be dq.


A rope set up that allows quick release of
feet. Simply slipping feet under the rope.














Inappropriate methods – zip ties and duck tape. No easy release.

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  1. Mike

    So what’s going to happen with the cox of Lantic, who was asked to leave the start line at the start of the Men’s A at Rock and refused to do so.

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