General Race Instructions to Competitors 2019

SATURDAY 30th March 2019 at 11:30 hrs GMT


ALL coxswains and coaches are required to observe the Rules of the Race
In addition to the specific Rules, all coxswains are required to ensure that they treat their own safety and that of other crews as a priority. Coaches are to ensure that their coxswains are familiar both with the Rules of the Race and the River. The River will be closed between Putney and Kew bridges from 10:30 hrs on race day until the last boat has crossed the finish line. At all other times and all other sections of the river, all crews must comply with the navigation rules laid out in the TRRC Navigation on the Tideway document.


Random inspections will take place to assure compliance with the British Rowing Row Safe Code. Safety cover will extend from Kew Railway Bridge to approximately 200 metres below Fulham Railway Bridge.

As is well-known, this event has had to be abandoned/cancelled in the past and we remind ALL crews of the need to bring sufficient kit, not only in the event of a long wait in the Marshalling Area, but also in the event of abandonment. If you have an accident on the Tideway and your boat fills with water, it is advisable to stay together as a crew so that strong swimmers can look after the weaker members. If your boat still floats, you should make sure your crew hangs on to it until the rescue boat arrives, or you have pushed it ashore.


  1. The ‘Marshalling Area’ extends from Kew Railway Bridge to the crossing upstream of Chiswick Eyot.
  2. Crews may only paddle up to half pressure and rate 21 in the marshalling area unless instructed to do so by an official.
  3. Beginning one hour prior to the start of the race all crews must boat and marshal in accordance with these marshalling rules, even where this may conflict with the normal traffic rules of the Tideway.
  4. Shore based marshals are identified by yellow tabards.
  5. Crews will await the start in 7 divisions, heading upstream in reverse order of starting. Division 1 should be approximately in line with the Surrey buttress of Chiswick Bridge

Division 1 crews must leave a sufficient distance from the bank to permit Division 2 crews to marshal on their inside.

Surrey Side Middlesex Side
(Linen numbers Black on White) (Linen numbers Black on Yellow)
Division 1 (centre) 1 – 50
Division 2 51 -100 Division 3 101 – 150
Division 4 151 – 200 Division 5 201 – 250
Division 6 251 – 300  Division 7 301 – 311 & 321-344

Please note exact Division composition and numbers is subject to change following the completion of the draw. The final order will be posted on 25th March 2019

Please see the plan of the marshalling area and identify your position in relation to landmarks. When waiting, crews must maintain their position against the tide, leaving half a length between crews.

  1. In the marshalling area, the middle of the river must be left for crews going with the tide, crews going against the tide must be on the side in which they are marshalling.

By 11:20 hrs, all crews marshalling in Divisions 1, 2 & 3 must be upstream of Chiswick Bridge and in their Marshalling positions. Any crews which have not reached Chiswick Bridge by that time will be held below the Bridge, and will have to row at the end of Divisions 4 or 5 as the case may be.

By 11:20 hrs crews marshalling in Divisions 4 – 7 must be downstream of Chiswick Bridge and on their marshalling side of the river. You may not cross the river in the marshalling area after this time. The last crossing place heading upstream after 10:35 hrs is at Chiswick Steps – below the marshalling area – and is patrolled by a marshal.

Crews in divisions 4 – 7 should be assembled by the following times:

Div 4 & 5: by 11:20 hrs; Div 6 & 7: by 11:20 hrs

  1. Crews must abide by the boating arrangements of their host clubs. (Crews must obtain permission to boat from a host club in advance of race day.)
  2. Number plates, and linen numbers on both bow and cox, must be visible at all times.
  3. On the instructions of a Marshal, boats in the division will turn, bows towards the middle of the river. Boats must then proceed downstream through Chiswick Bridge.
  4. Boats will be formally started from a launch just below Chiswick Bridge.


  1. Coxswains should carry a card detailing the marshalling instructions. Coxes are reminded that if they arrive late to the start, they may be required to wait to the end of the division to be allowed to race, or may not be permitted to race at all.
  2. Coxes are expected to ensure that the boat number, bow-ball, hatches and heel restraints are secure.
  3. When marshalling, coxes are reminded to ensure that they are on the right side of the river – if the crew’s linen numbers are Black on White background, the crew’s station will be Surrey(south) side, if they are Black on Yellow background, the crew will be on the Middlesex (north) side of the river. Coxes are not to approach their station on the wrong side of the river as they will not be permitted to cross at the last moment in the marshalling area. Crossing points downstream of the marshalling area are controlled by an umpire/marshal.
  4. The linen numbers must be visible before and during the race. They are waterproof. The bowman must wear one number on the back of his racing vest, the other on his outer garment.
  5. Coxes are reminded that the Tideway is subject to strong currents – when a crew is stopped on the water, it will still be moving at 3-4 mph. Crews must not attempt to stop or turn close to stationary objects, such as bridges or moored boats.
  6. For crews boating away from Putney, both number plates and linen numbers will be delivered to your nominated host club; you do not collect them from Putney. Crews boating from Putney should collect them at Ranelagh Sailing Club on either Friday (29th March) between 09:00 and 19:00 hrs or Saturday (30th March) between 08:00 and 09:45hrs. There will be detailed instructions on the envelope with the numbers. Number plates should however be returned to Putney in the usual way after the race. Crews are responsible for returning their race numbers. Plates that are not returned within seven days of the race will be charged a penalty.

During the Race

  1. Overtaking crews should manoeuvre so as to overtake at a point where they will be as close as possible to their best course. A crew that is overtaking must have consideration for the slower crew and allow it sufficient time and space to give way. All crews have a responsibility to avoid collision.
  2. If a crew encounters any mechanical difficulties with their boat during the Race, they should stop racing, move away from the racing line towards the nearest bank and seek assistance.
  3. Crews MUST pass the Black Buoy and line of moored boats at Putney on the Middlesex (north) side. Crews attempting to pass by the Surrey side of the Black Buoy will be automatically disqualified.

Enjoy your racing!

Ben Helm
Chief Umpire