Rame Gig Club – Tribute Regatta 2012

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Rame Gig Club, winners of the CPGA award for best Regatta of 2011, invites you to their Regatta in 2012. This will be the last of the series of Tribute events, for full details see our website http://www.ramegigclub.com/page25.htm

Order of the Day

10:00 Boats start arriving
12:30 Cox’s Meeting in the Boat House
13:00 First Race

Race Order:

Mens A
Men’s B
Ladies A
Ladies B
Mens Vets
Ladies Vets

Unfortunately, due to time restrictions there will be no C Races.

Presentation of trophies on completion of races Cawsand Bay Hotel.

Car parking, shuttle bus transportation for everyone in your car, programme & prize draw entry (1 per car) all included in the £5.00 charge. Additional programmes inclusive of prize draw entry can be purchased at an additional £1.00

1800 licensed bar in the boat house.
20:00 DJ and Live Music
22:00 Fireworks on Cawsand beach…


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  1. MAP

    When is the starter going to stop the so called big crews from pushing the start line. Mens B today Caradon at least 2 lengths over the start line yet not being called back !!!!

    • Musto

      Coxswains will pretty much always point their gig straight at the first mark when on the start line. With this in mind, a cox can (and should always) look 90 degrees left or right and see a line of other coxswains lined up identically. All crews have a sense of what a fair start is (even if they’ve benefited from a bias) and today was miles from that.

      Today’s start line was hugely biased and diagonal. As much as 20 degrees, no wonder it looked like every boat to your right was ahead, because they were.

      Couple this with a bit of aggressive start line placement and the line and start process became a joke.

      Did any race organisers actually take a compass bearing of the first mark from the middle of the line and check that the start transits were giving a square line?

      Spoiled an otherwise very well put together event. Shouldn’t we all be striving for the fairest possible racing?

    • Nick

      Hi Map,
      Not sure which boat you were in, I was in the Caradon Mens B and we, to my knowledge, didn’t push the line at all. From where I was sat in 2 looking back and forth the line we were pretty much right…but I wouldn’t be 100% sure without photo evidence :), it was difficult to gauge due to the yachts in the way. If (I’m assuming you were in one of the boats drawn 1 – 3 as we were 4) it’s any consolation the boats outside us felt as though they were well over the line. After 20 strokes we were quite a few lengths down on Mounts Bay, Charlestown and Falmouth, and all I can put that down to is the bias on the line that Musto has talked about.
      At the end of the day lines are always going to get pushed, not necessarily from people trying to get in front of the start, but to ensure they are not left at a disadvantage as other boats are pushed by wind and tide (or perhaps a sneeky last stroke) just prior to the start of the race. If crews rely on the starter then I think they will always be at a disadvantage. I personally would always look to stay just behind the boat that is furthest toward/over the line. If the starter calls them back then I would backwater…if he doesn’t then they only have 1/2 a length advantage..however if I stayed on the line assuming the starter would sort it out that disadvantage might end up being 2 lengths by the time the flag drops.

      I wonder what the ethos of other people is….do you assume the starter will sort a fair start line…or do you make sure you stay with the boat that is pushing the line?

  2. Alan

    I rowed in the caradon b crew, and to our mind the crews outside were well up on us. We were lying 4th until nearly the first mark. The inside crews did seem to drop back after the start. I assume MAP must have been in one of the inside berths.

  3. Charlotte

    The start line was the worst I have ever experienced, when I lined up in berth 3 for the mens A it was immediately clear we were down on the field and constantly being called back! The same happened in the ladies A. Both crews had to race with pure guts and determination to pull back what we did. There are no sour grapes as I had a couple of great races. However after the mens A both Roseland and us contacted the starter who told us it would be looked at, it clearly wasn’t .

  4. Seals

    I’m very cross on behalf of our MA crew who finished much further down the fleet than they would’ve done if the startline had been fair. How dispiriting to travel all that way & put in all that training to have it ruined by a bias at the start – which set them back a number of boat lengths before they’d even begun.

    The rest of the Rame event was great however. So well done to everyone responsible for the more efficient sides of the organisation and welcome.

  5. bob

    I agree worst start line ever crews in outside berths had a massive advantage over the rest of the field. you train hard turn up to race and your let down by poor organization.

  6. Hi all, well, I’m going to stick my head above the parapet because I was the person who volounteered to do the starts at Rame, so I feel I should chuck in my two pen’rth.
    First, the angle of the start line. I had no control over this as it is set in concrete and is the same every year.
    Secondly the two oars that form the transit are way too close togeher and (as I realised when I went out to row in the Vets)they do not give a clear enough line to coxes. Also , for the same reason, the oar I was trying to line everyone up on actually obscured about 3 boat lengths at the far end of the line, so I was trying desparately to line everyone up on the right hand side of the oar to reduce the skew on the line that people were complaining about, which then meant that boats were potentially hidden behind the very thing I was trying to line them up with!
    Thirdly there were 3 or 4 yachts moored in the middle of the line hiding some boats from clear view. And some coxes WERE pushing and there was a gusty tail/cross wind. From where I was, it was a complete nightmare and very stressful.
    The contrast from Paignton the week before was staggering.There they had a clear transit at BOTH ends of the startline, I had a clear view, the was zero wind and everyone behaved impeccably.
    So to sum up, yes, I agree that the start line arrangements were unsatisfactory at an event at this level, and needs sorting out for the future, but since I’m not from Rame club I have no control over this.
    I will say that partly due to inexperience and partly down to good nature, I was too patient with the odd cox that should have been sent back to the beach.
    It is so easy to slag off umpires and starters when people feel aggrieved or disadvantaged in someway. If you think you can do a better job, give it a go sometime, it might just surprise you.

    • Charlotte

      Hi Justin,

      Your frank repsonse is appreciated. It was not my intention to slag off the starters at all, you were right to call me back if I was over the line which had been created. Something was different to previous regattas at Rame.

      Regarding Paignton, yes this was a better start line but once again poor organisation where we were told the position of berth one had been changed since the coxes meeting. Here the problems arose with the finish line, i.e it was a moving boat!

    • Musto

      Justin, I agree with Charlotte, thank you for taking the time to reply.

      We’ll do a review on this website of the Rame and Paignton events which will cover the course and start line issues.

      Note I mention the start line, NOT the starter, and at no point has the quality of umpiring been called into question. If we’re relying on volunteering too much then maybe the sponsored events such as the “Tribute” ones should pay the race officials? I assume you’d have been happier to invest your time and effort as starter for, say, £200 for the day? St Austell Brewery pay the CPGA plenty and the host clubs would be more than able to reward a starter as well as umpires for their time.

      The thing is, the race officials are there to try to ensure the fairest and safest possible racing. The start line problems (bias, transit issues and yachts interfering with the line) should have been dealt with by a pre-race course inspection, as you say this was a high level “flagship” event and as such should mean extra care is taken. There was plenty of time in the day to do this.

      One thing I will mention is that the Rame event brochure (a welcome addition) shows a course with start and finish lines very different to what was laid out on the water!

      • justin harmer

        Hi Musto and Charlotte,
        After having given the Rame startline issue a great deal of thought over the course of the day having last night read peoples thoughts on here, I think a review of the whole thing is a good idea and I would be willing to help that process in anyway i can.
        As other respondents point out the top level of the sport is almost at semi professional level these days and I absolutely understand that the people who commit to training at the level they do, expect the same level of commitment from those setting the courses and running the Flagship events. I am an active rower as well after all!
        There seems to me to be very little excuse what with GPS track plotters and all the rest of it, to have a start line that is at odds with the first leg of the course.Maybe as someone suggests, I should have insisted on calling a halt until the bouys were moved to line up with the start line, but all three marks would have to have been moved and there would have still been the lesser problems of the line itself being too vague and the moored boats etc.
        Gareth questions whether rowers are expected to umpire and time their own races; well actually yes, that’s what most umpires are: rowers! Quite a few people I know may very likely row, cox AND umpire at the same event. It is how Gig Racing works!
        As far as being paid to officiate at events, I would hate to see the sport go that way. Every one is in the end involved in gig racing, in whatever capacity for the same reason; because we ENJOY it at whatever level and whatever that means to us all as individuals. I enjoy umpiring/ starting etc as well as rowing because I like to be involved in the whole sketch, and I’m quite happy to do it for nothing more than a sandwich and a cup of tea.
        So I think we all need to learn from this and be positive and make sure it doesn’t happen next year. Peace and good will to all!

        • gareth netherton

          Hi justin. I must say it is good to see a starter finally admit we have problems that need sorting and i appreciate your honesty. I hope you don’t feel any of this is personally aimed at you as I myself am not here to cause any kind of argument and I’m sure no one else is either. It is good to air these problems. I have to say though many of us are now not enjoying gig rowing much at the moment. Week after week there is just always something that causes one or more crews to feel they have been cheated. Just as an example, at falmouth event. We backed up off the start line to re align so we wouldn’t clash with another boat. And while we we about 8 or 9 lengths back the flag dropped, and we were out of the days racing. This is just one example of many things happening to crews and I myself am a hair width away from just walking away and doing a different sport. I do not agree that rowers should have to umpire. You don’t see a right back put on the ref kit at half time at a local footy match. Nor a prop start blowing the whistle half way through a local rugby game. There are plenty of people out there who I am sure, if the right message was put out there, would love to join the sport as a qualified full time umpire. It just needs promoting in the right way. We have to move forward with this amazing sport before it dies of old age.

    • gareth netherton

      Without making anything personal to any individual I would just like to say that as an a crew rower I find this response very hard to take in. Many of us in gig rowing are now training to almost semi professional standards. Yet we are let down by such poor race day standards. To hear that boats were seen over the line but were not called back because of good nature, and that two old oars stuck in the air were used as a transit line which blocked out boat lengths worth of view quite frankly makes me just want to give this sport up. It is not fair. And the same old argument that we hear every time of ‘if you think you can do it better then do it yourself’ I’m afraid just does not stand any ground. As rowers we commit totally to training and rowing. We pull on an oar. That’s our job. Are we seriously being asked to time and umpire our own races? A starter and umpires job is to ensure rules are kept to. A rowers job is to row and I am tired of hearing umpires moaning about rowers not doing it. These problems do not happen in any other sport I know. It needs sorting

      • madie steer

        Justin did call many crews back on the start line actually… and threatened disqualification many times. His good nature meant that he didn’t disqualify anyone for the same reasons you have stated about making it fair (everyone trains so hard and travels so far it would be a shame to disqualify). I am a member of the same club as justin and when I was coxing a boat starting in berth 1 justin threatened me with disqualification! He was being as strict as he could with a bad set up for the line. Then I rowed in the ladies A race from an outside berth and we had a yacht in the way to try and line up and all the crews around us were drifting (not tapping up) out and forwards trying to avoid mooring buoys and lobster pots whilst Justin was trying to line us all up through all the moored boats that were swinging around on their moorings. A complete nightmare!!

        • Musto

          So, we’re all agreed that the only real option was for the starter to say to host club and CPGA : “This is nonsense and unfair. Let’s stop proceedings and sort out the line”.

        • gareth netherton

          Athletes train for 8 hours a day for years and years to compete at the Olympics, but if they break they rules they get disqualified. It’s all very well having these excuses of boats drifting in the way and not being able to see properly but that does not make it ok. It should have all been sorted. It’s not just this event where its happened. This is a common occurrence now. Like I said to start with, this is not personal against Justin, or anybody else. It’s part of a huge issue of UN professionalism in gig rowing and is a reason why so many people leave the sport.

          • Musto

            I hope people don’t leave such an accessible and inclusive sport – and it’s very good to see some proper grievances aired and debate here. There are plenty of people who want to take this sport forward.

      • Clare

        So who is going to umpire and start? No one wants to do the job – hence a PA announcement going out after the Tribute events saying that there were no umpires to carry on with the club races.
        We all hope to have fair start lines – and finish lines that don’t involve moving boats; fair calls on the marks and ‘policing of the calls given’.
        The sport relies on volunteers – what other way forward is there? I would be very interested to hear how people think the situation can be improved.Clubs rely on volunteers for all roles – and we mustn’t forget that the ever unpredictable UK weather conditions come in to play as well. If the wind hadn’t blown then Rame would have been left to carry on their wonderful regatta as a club event.

    • MAP

      Thanks for the honest reply Justin.

      Threatening to disqualify people doesn’t work, at Weymouth last year I heard the starter threaten boats 5 or 6 times to disqualify them, but still didn’t do it.
      Isn’t it about time the CPGA sorted out a standard starting policy for all regattas.

      The World Championships have done it, no one pushes the line now, because they know they will be disqualified.

      As for start line bias, I’m sure GPS can be used to ensure fairness.
      Just because Rame have always done it that way, doesn’t mean it is right and can’t be changed.
      Yacht’s moored on the start line is not acceptable, if you can’t move the yachts move the start line.

      If we want our sport to be taken seriously, we need to be more professional across the board.

      A level playing field for all rowers, is all we want.
      If you get beaten by a better, fitter crew you can except it. If the start line is biased, or crews push the line to gain an unfair advantage, cheating in my book, rowers do get upset. As we can see here.

      I hope the CPGA take note, this is a great sport but rowers are getting disillusioned.

  7. Dan

    Interesting debate, many points I agree with, particularly the biased start line.

    Just to add to the umpiring debate, my wife’s experience of the job at Rame was not a pleasant one. She was put in a boat with another volunteer, a volunteer boat handler and 2 representatives of the CPGA. Throughout the very long time she was out there, the opinions of the volunteer umpires were not needed, one of the CPGA officials was repeatedly rude to the boat handler to a point where the recipient of the rudeness remided him that they were volunteers, and she returned to the beach with the opinion that it was utterly pointless any of the volunteers being there. At the time there were 2 CPGA officials in mark one, 1 on mark two and two volunteers who’d never done it before on mark three!

    This clearly doesn’t encourage her or the other two who volunteered on the day, to ever do it again

    It can’t be hard for the CPGA to organise three boats and three officials into the correct places. Clearly a host club has enough to organise with food, parking, gig unloading and loading, PA announcements and other details of the day. Surely then the governing body of our great sport should be able to organise the actual course and umpiring duties? I don’t see Bradley Wiggins stopping the clock for the ladies bike races, or a triple jumper measuring his own leap!

    Oh and the parting comment from the CPGA official was along the lines of “This is a farce! Devon clubs know how to run an event, Cornish clubs can’t organise big events” !!!

    All interesting points for discussion!

    • Dave

      A bit late to carry on the comments of Rame start line but the shambles was partly made by the starter not having clear sight on the start line and the line was far too long.
      The start is not for the convenience of the starters sat on rocks, they must have a clear view of all the gigs. The Scillies have mastered the starts and shown how to ensure the start is as fair as possible.

    • C

      I totally agree with everything Gareth, Dave & Musto have said.

      I’m personally spending a lot of time wondering what the role of the CPGA is in all this? What are they doing to try and make things more professional and fair? Isn’t it their job to be taking the lead on improving things? Don’t we all, as clubs, give them money each year to spend on moving our sport forward? Have they got any money in the bank at the moment? If so, what are they planning to do with it? – I suggest some investment in giving the organisation of our racing a kick up the arse. As the standard of the rowing is going up, the standards demanded by the governing body need to be raised as well.

      Whether our racing relies on volunteers or paid officials (I personally don’t see any problem in paying for a more professional service if this is what it takes), surely the CPGA should be trying to improve things for the future. Maybe they are doing amazing things behind the scenes and have great plans in progress, but, as a mere rower I have absolutely no idea what they are.

      Start lines and procedures seem to be the number one point of contention at regattas. Why can’t the CPGA organise a dedicated starting team to travel to as many events as possible over the course of the season to improve this side of things, train others to do it properly for the future and help to put a bit more confidence back into this area of our racing so that we can feel it’s worth all the time and effort we put into training and attending our otherwise usually enjoyable events.

    • Séamus

      Thank you Rame – an awesome event, always well run by your club considering the location.

      One question: Loading and extraction from the beach –
      I’m sure this must have been suggested and debated ad nauseam, but logic would suggest that the boats should leave the beach in order of the trailer queue and not who’s boat is ready and stuck in a completely uncoordinated, other queue.
      If all the boats were held down the beach, ready to go with enough respective crew members on hand, each boat could be called for by a marshall, shipped to trailer and gone in double quick time with less hassle. It would be in everyone’s interest to get each boat up quickly. Get the collective going – more chilled-out and more fun. It would be down to the towers to get themselves in the queue early if they need to escape early. Maybe this is already the intent but we’re not quite there yet…?
      Just a thought

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