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G1. Race Secretary

The Race Secretary for each event shall be responsible for the overall organisation of the event. Their duties shall be to :


  1. Fix the dates, times, entry fees, entry deadlines and late entry fees for the event, subject to the approval of a Captains' Meeting;
  2. Send out entry forms to all College Boat Clubs detailing this information;
  3. Appoint a Race Committee and nominate the Senior Umpire(s) for the event. Those eligible to be nominated for Torpids and Eights shall have been ratified by a Captains’ meeting within the past academic year, except during racing when a Senior Umpire may be appointed with the agreement of the ratified Senior Umpires and the Race Secretary;
  4. Make crew-lists available for inspection during the event;
  5. Maintain a list of fines incurred during the event and notify the Boat Clubs concerned of the amount and reason for all fines incurred;
  6. With the advice of the Captain of Coxes or his/her nominated substitute senior cox, maintain a list of notable coxing actions during the competition, including both penalised errors and praiseworthy coxing.

G2. Race Committee

The Race Committee shall be responsible for the running of each OURCs event. In addition, this committee shall have the authority to:

  1. Decide, in conjunction with the Senior Umpires, Boatmen, Area Safety Officer (Sport), and on the advice of the EA, whether conditions are safe for the event to be held, and, if necessary, alter the race format to meet safety requirements;
  2. Alter the rules of the river for the duration of the event;
  3. Require participating Boat Clubs to supply umpires and marshals for specified periods;
  4. Require participating Boat Clubs to restrict the number of cyclists accompanying crews;
  5. Require participating coxes and at least one officer from each College Boat Club to attend preparatory meetings;
  6. Impose fines on Boat Clubs for not complying with the above rules, such fines to be confirmed by the Race Secretary, who shall notify the Colleges involved.
  7. Impose other penalties such as disqualification; time penalties, penalty bumps, demotion of coxes, or suspension of a cox (on the advice of the Captain of Coxes) or crew from racing, for dangerous conduct or violations of rules of racing.
  8. Any member of the Race Committee may make a decision under rules G5.1 and 5.2 (ordinary substitutions), G8.2 (registration of disputes), and G8.3 (action to be taken upon the registration of a dispute). Decisions made under rules G5.3 (extraordinary substitutions), B11 (technical bumps), B12 (penalty bumps), B13 (row-overs), B5.4 (time penalties in Rowing On), and B5.5 (time bonuses in Rowing On) shall be made by three neutral members of the Race Committee with an appeal lying only to the Senior Umpire in accordance with G8 (disputes procedure).

G3. Senior Umpire

The Race Secretary for each event shall appoint at least one Senior Umpire. For Torpids and Eights it is presumed that all ratified senior umpires will be appointed. Once ratified, a Senior Umpire shall only be removed by a vote of a Captains’ meeting, except during racing when a Senior Umpire may be removed by the Race Secretary and a majority of the other ratified Senior Umpires acting together. In accordance with the event plan for Torpids and Eights, a person shall be eligible for ratification as a Senior Umpire following a suitable period of training by the existing ratified Senior Umpires.

At any one point during racing, one senior umpire will be known to be on duty and acting as the Senior Umpire with regard to G3.2 or 3. The ratified senior umpires will consult with each other and act wherever possible collectively and by agreement under G3.1. The ratified senior umpires will agree a coordinating senior umpire to act on their behalf as necessary under G3.4 before racing, though the duty Senior Umpire shall operate G3.4 during the hours of racing.

The Senior Umpire has the authority to:

  1. Interpret the OURCs rules in the event of any dispute, such a ruling to be binding;
  2. Make the operational decision as to when it is safe for each race to start;
  3. Exclude any crew deemed not ready to start at the designated time or with unpaid fines under G6.3;
  4. With the Secretary, make modifications to the format of racing, either before or during the event, in accordance with the approved event plan and risk assessment to ensure that the maximal amount of safe racing may take place.


G4. Entry Requirements

All crews entered for OURCs events shall:

  1. Represent a single College Boat Club as recognised under C5.
  2. Consist entirely of members of that College Boat Club as recognised under C6, Associate Members in accordance with B4 in bumps races, or Associate Members without restriction on all other OURCs competitions.  (Associate Members do not need to be members of a College Boat Club as per C6.1.  Associate Members are subject to OURCs rules while training and racing with OURCs College Boat Clubs.)
  3. Accept the rules of racing, as published on the OURCs website at the time of entry, as binding during the competition.
  4. Enter entirely at their own risk, taking into account the nature of the event and the Event Plan published on the OURCs website by the relevant Race Committee.
  5. All crewmembers must be named on the entry form.
  6. Men may cox in "Women's" events and women may cox in "Men's" events.
  7. Women may row in "Men's" events.

 G5. Substitutions

Substitutions fall under two categories; regular and extra-ordinary.

  1. It is the responsibility of the club captains to ensure that such substitutes are legal, noting specifically that the online system may not recognise an illegal substitute. All substitutions approved, whether regular or extra-ordinary, are conditional on the validity of the information provided. In the instance of a substitution being subsequently discovered to be in breach of any of the rules contained in G5, the substitute will be considered ineligible to race and the crew will face penalty from the race committee.
  2. All substitutes must be on the OURCs swim-test database.
  3. If substitutes conform to the entry requirements laid out in G4, as modified by B3 and B4, then that substitute is considered regular. Any substitution that does not so conform is to be considered extra-ordinary. This includes swapping a rower between crews.
  4. Coxing substitutions that are within the defined coxing restrictions, which may be relaxed for poor conditions, are deemed regular but must still be done in accordance with G5.1. All coxes must be on the OURCs cox database.
  5. Regular substitutions will be approved by the race committee upon receipt of the information required and having confirmed that they conform to the rules of racing.
  6. Extra-ordinary substitutes may be permitted at the discretion of the race committee in circumstances including, but not limited to, sudden injury:
    1. If a rower in a given boat is injured, it is encouraged that a rower from a lower boat is substituted up; further consequential substitutionsof this type are equally encouraged such that the vacant seat is in the college's lowest boat. It is not expected that men's crews substitute a rower from a fixed division boat in a women's division.
    2. It is expected that this vacancy is then resolved by the use of a regular substitution; examples include: the use of any associate rowers under B4; or the use of rowers of either gender (where applicable) that failed to Row On.
    3. If the college's lowest boat, as in G5.6a is in a Rowing On division, and all three associate member slots are in use, a fourth associate member will be permitted. If this boat is in a fixed division, an associate member may be permitted at the discretion of the Race Committee.
    4. In each of the cases in G5.6c, the associate member must provide the Race Committee with a summary of their previous rowing experience. If this is judged to be an enhancement to the crew, then the substitution will be refused. If this associate member is eligible to row with another college boat club as defined by C6.1, then written or oral permission must be given by the relevant club captain, and the decision is still at the discretion of the Race Committee.
    5. If an extra-ordinary substitution is permitted, this must be announced, most often through the tannoy, between 60 and 5 minutes before the relevant division(s) are due to start. Appeals may be lodged at any point until 10 minutes after the results have been announced.
    6. It is at the discretion of the Race Committee to allow any person who has been moved to a higher-ranked boat to move back down to their original boat on subsequent days. This permission will not be granted in the case of Rowing On


G6. Starting Requirements

Starting requirements for OURCs races are as follows:

  1. The crew and boat must conform to the safety requirements as detailed in R2 and R3.
  2. The crew must conform to the rules on entry requirements and substitutions.
  3. The College Boat Club must have paid all debts (including fines) incurred up to and including the previous day.
    1. before ANY boat of that college races in Autumn Fours or the Isis Winter League.
    2. before the TOP boat of that college races in Torpids or Eights proper, or the LAST racing crew of that college races in Rowing On.
  4. No boat shall be allowed to start in a race with more or less than its full crew and, having started, no crew member may voluntarily leave the boat.
  5. Crews must row with blades recognisable as belonging to their College Boat Club, unless they have the permission of the Race Secretary to do otherwise.

G7. Identification

To assist in resolving disputes over crew identification, the following rules will apply:

  1. Coxswains shall be required to be in possession of identification for all crewmembers while they are on the water. Such identification must contain a picture of the person being identified. A University card or coxing permit will be sufficient for competitors who satisfy C6.1.
  2. Such identification may be used by the Race Committee for adjudication in the event of a dispute concerning crew composition.
  3. Lack of identification may result in automatic loss of a dispute over crew composition.
  4. Complaints about crew composition must be made while the allegedly offending crew is still on the water.

G8. Disputes Procedure

Registration of complaints or appeals can be made directly to the Race Committee at Race Desk, or via a marshal with a radio.  The procedure for handling complaints or appeals is as follows:

  1. Complaints against other crews must be registered with the Race Committee within 10 minutes of the incident.
  2. Appeals against routine Race Committee decisions (i.e. excluding those treated as resolutions of disputes) must be registered with the Race Committee within 10 minutes of the announced decision. The Captain of the appealing boat club may withdraw the appeal up until the appeal is decided by the Race Comittee.
  3. Having been notified of a complaint or an appeal, the Race Committee shall inform all other interested parties, who then have 10 minutes in which to send a representative to put their case.  In exceptional circumstance, people can contact Race Desk by phone. No evidence shall be accepted more than 20 miutes after the announcement of the appeal. Evidence shall be accepted by a member of Race Committee.
  4. All disputes shall be resolved by a minimum of 3 neutral members of the Race Committee. When ruling on an initial appeal, the Race Committee shall treat the sppeal as a challenge to the original decision at first instance. Evidence must be provided that supports the need to overturn or to re-consider it (including an error by the original decision-maker or new evidence). In the absence of such evidence, the original decision should stand.
  5. The only grounds for appeal against the Race Committee ruling on a complaint or initial appeal are if the OURCs rules have not been adhered to, in which case the appeal must be registered with the Senior Umpire, stating the rule(s) in question, within 10 minutes of the Race Committee ruling.
  6. In the event of the Senior Umpire not being neutral in an appeal against a Race Committee ruling (including the grounds of having been involved in the original ruling), another Senior Umpire or an agreed member of the Race Committee shall be appointed to act as Senior Umpire to rule on the appeal.
  7. The Senior Umpire shall have the authority to interpret the OURCs rules, and may make a ruling as to whether the race committee decision adheres to those rules. The SU may re-submit the appeal to the race committee to re-decide within the rules, or order it to be considered by an alternative race committee if appropriate. Nothing in G8 shall be read as permitting a Senior Umpire at appeal to decide the facts, nor validates a decision by any person or persons that is outside of the rules.