Instructions for Coxes

It is imperative that all coxes competing in the regatta are familiar with these instructions and with the Rules of the Regatta. The coxes should also ensure that their crew and coaches are aware of relevant parts of these instructions.


    Crews must arrive at Chesterton Footbridge at the marshalling time stated on the timetable of racing. The final version will be issued at the coxes' meeting. The only exceptions are crews in the first division of each day (please see the draw), who do not need to stop at Chesterton but should row straight on to the Reach and follow the directions of the marshals.
    It is essential that you are not late, as it is necessary to send batches of 16 crews up to the start at a time. If you miss your batch, you will miss your race and incur automatic disqualification. If there is a problem with boat sharing then please let the Regatta Team know. Marshals will be identified by their fluorescent yellow vests.

    Once the previous division has finished, you will be instructed to row downstream toward the start. You are permitted one practice start under the railway bridge if time allows. You should then continue around Ditton into Plough Reach.

    Once in Plough Reach you should row up to your marshalling point and spin as instructed by marshals. Plough Reach being narrow means spinning here is difficult at the best of times. Mind your bows and stern and follow instructions from marshals if they give them.

    Racing pairs will be called back around Ditton toward the Start line. Once within a boat length of the Start you will be under Starter's orders. As the cox you should ask your crew to come forwards ready to race, and raise one of your hands. It is up to you to get bow/stem pair to straighten you up, but the Start Marshal may intervene and you must obey their instructions. You should lower your hand as soon as you are ready to go. Do not keep your hand up for an excessive amount of time, if the Starter deems you straight and level they will start you before you drift out of position. The Starter will call, for example, "Churchill, Trinity Hall Attention... Go".
    Do not attempt to Jump" the Start. We are aware that some coaches advise their crews to go early - before the "Go" is called. However, we do not have time to recall crews for false starts. You will simply be disqualified. On windy days, starting races is extremely difficult. You should follow marshals' advice for the specific conditions on the day. Typically; the wind will be from meadow-side; if this is the case the meadow-side crew should be as close to their bank as possible. The towpath-side crew should proceed to the start with the edges of their strokeside blades on the centre line of the river. In bad conditions you will need to be even more alert to Starter's orders as they will have only a short window before crews are out of line.

    Please remember that safety is always more important than winning. If a collision with another crew is imminent, you must stop the boat rather than crashing. Your crew are much more likely to listen to you than to voices on the towpath, so you must always be aware of conditions on the river. The course is fairly straight, and you should be used to rowing up and down it by now. However, be aware that there are some fairly sharp bends, particularly the one under the Railway Bridge. You must stay on your side of the River and not drift in to the other boat. If you do drift, you will be warned by the Junior Umpire who will give short, sharp whistles followed by shouting your college. If you do not heed this warning your crew will be disqualified.
    Stay calm, stay in control of your boat and pay attention to your position on the River throughout the race. In the event of an accident, or potential accident, races will be stopped by the Junior Umpire. This will be indicated by a continuous whistle blast. If you hear this, you must stop your boat. At the very least, if you ignore these signals, you will be disqualified. More importantly, you could be risking injury to your crew or damage to your boat. Races will be restarted by the Junior Umpire overseeing your race at the same separation as when the initial infringement occurred.

    These are restricted to four people per boat - whether cycling or on foot. Your support party is not allowed to overtake the Junior Umpire at any time. Please ensure that your coach knows about this rule, or your crew could be disqualified. The use of loud-hailers, whistles or foghorns by any bank party is not permitted.

    The Finish is Morley's Holt, where the Senior Umpire will be positioned. The signal for the finish will be a short foghorn blast as each boat's bowball crosses the line. The Senior Umpire's decision is final. Once you have finished racing you must KEEP ROWING to clear the course. Those crews that have been knocked out should proceed back to their boathouses immediately, unless they are boat/blade sharing with another crew. If this is the case, then they may pull in on tow-path side at the Penny Ferry

    If you have another race immediately after racing or the crew you may be boat sharing with does, you will need to pull in to the bank outside the Penny Ferry pub. Marshals will note your position. When the division has finished racing, push off and spin to go back down to the start when instructed. If you have lots of time, it is generally better to go back to your boathouse and keep warm than to sit around at Chesterton. But remember that you must be back at the marshalling time for your next race. Even if we seem to be running late, please keep to the timetable.

    Orders given by marshals must be obeyed. The decisions of Junior Umpires during races must be adhered to. If you have any problems, please bring them to the Senior Umpire at the finish. Remember that your crew will be disqualified for rudeness or intimidation of an umpire or marshal, by you or by your coach or bank party. It is much better to come calmly to us if you feel that a decision has been unfair.

    These will be presented at Clare Boathouse or the Finish line as soon after racing as the winning crews, Senior Umpire and Regatta Secretary can get there.

    The course map is available to view here.