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HowTo: Spin at Longbridges

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Longbridges is a more complicated area than the Head or at Haystacks, since boats here can be transiting the gut, boating, landing, or spinning.


The red area denotes the gut, and the central grey line the middle of the river. Boats should at all times stick to the correct circulation pattern (ie to the right hand side of the river).

We choose to divide this section of the river up as follows:

Boats that wish to go through the gut go down the orange lane. This is known as the ‘’transit lane’’. The transit lane is wholly to the right-hand side of the river. Boats that wish to spin hug the bank closely.

If a boat wishes to go through the gut, the coxswain should enter the transit lane at a suitable point, and take the corner as best as they can. If a boat wishes to spin, it should obey two main principles:

  • Spin safely and efficiently
  • Never obstruct another boat

If the river is quiet, you are at little risk of obstructing another boat. This is the procedure you should follow:

  • Instruct your crew to easy when you are halfway along the pontoon. Instruct your stroke side rowers to hold it up. If you are really close to the bank, just get stroke and 6 to hold it up, as this will swing the bows around; conversely, if you are close to the centre of the river, get 2 and 4 to hold it up, as this will kick out your stern and point it under the bridges.
  • Never enter the red part of the river while spinning at any time.
  • Get your crew to start spinning. Get stroke side to principally back down. You should aim to have your (the coxswain's) seat under the bridges. Be aware that depending where you stopped, you might need to get a bit of bow side rowing on to make sure your stern does not hit the bank.
  • Unless the transit lane is clear, at no point should your bows meander in to the orange area.
  • Once you have spun about 150 degrees, stop. If you don't spin enough, you will have to spin further on the wrong side of the river, obstructing the gut. If you have spun too far, you will be aiming straight in to the transit lane. Aim for the red dot in the picture below.
  • Check that both sides are clear, and then order your crew to row on, preferably in sixes or all eight. Be aware that crews could emerge from the mouth of the gut at any time; you should not get in their way.


 The approximate locations where the cox should call to easy, and where the boat should be when it is stationary.

The location of the boat after stroke side have backed down. Remember a coxed eight has a large turning circle - even in reverse. You can slightly reduce the turning circle by getting bow to hold it up.

Aim to be about perpendicular by this point.

Continue using bow side and stroke side to spin a total of about 150 degrees. Aim for the red dot. If a crew does emerge from the gut, you are at the best angle to either cross over fully and hug the bank, or turn towards the centre and let the faster crew undertake.


 If the river is busy, then it may be the case that there is a queue at Longbridges. The queue should keep close to the Longbridges pontoon, taking care not to get in the way of any crews boating. It is possible for two crews to spin simultaneously; the other one goes under the second bridge. However, the margin for error is much smaller here, as you need to take extra care not to swing out into the orange area, even when backing down. If you are not sure, use your own judgement. If you are not confident, spin solo.

It is important to also remember:

  • Crews who boat Longbridges are allowed to cross over and land upstream, but only if it is safe and clear to do so - transiting crews have right of way. Bad crews may assume it is clear without getting their bankrider to check first. If they have done this and you are in the transit lane, you risk being collided with. The other crew will be at fault - but it would be much better not to be involved in the collision in the first place.
  • It is forbidden to spin at Longbridges under blue or amber flag, except for crews that are landing there.