OURCs Captains' Meeting Minutes

1st Week, Hilary Term 2002

Apologies were received from Henry Hirsch and Francesca Gordon (OURCs), although not from Gabriel Wright this time.

1. Minutes

No objections were raised to the published minutes.

2. Matters arising


3. Squad reports

OULRC (Ross Crooke): Squad going well with a ‘brill’ training camp, and a 4ft decision in trial eights. The squad are intending to race at Burway and Reading before Henley Boat Races.

OUWLRC (Rachel Abbott): Squad have been training in Belgium with the heavyweights, selection should be finished within a week.

OUBC (Ben Burch): training going well with blue boat selection 90% done, and the squad achieving very good splits in training.

OUWBC (Jess Wilson): Halfway through selection, looking good.

4. Ratification of Senior Umpires for Torpids:

AH explained that RQ and NT had begun an informal induction process for new SUs, and that JP had shadowed them in the previous year.

Neil Townsend, Rachel Quarrell, Jonathan Price, Ailsa Curtis  were ratified as SUs.

1 Abstention

5. River closure:

Motion to close the river between the hours of 3pm and 6 pm, for private event held by Jesus, Saturday Week 0, Trinity term:

Proposed: Henry Bremridge (Jesus)

Second: AH

Passed with 5 against, 5 abstentions.

6. Vortex blades

J. Van Tulleken (S.E.H.) stated that it was farcical that a rule such as B16 should apply to some colleges, but not others. He quoted a Harvard coach as offering the opinion that the blades were worth a length over 2000m (Ben Burch suggested that this might be true for Harvard, but not all crews). He stated that the blades should either be banned completely, or not at all.

Conor O’Neill (Wadham) agreed with the need for consistency.

Heather Walker (New) stated that the blades had been purchased long before the question of safety had been raised about the blades, and that the Captains had made a decision and should abide by it.

JVT responded that SEH and others had been penalised by acting responsibly in waiting for the Captains to make a ruling on the matter. Moreover, if a cox was twatted by a New blade, after the Captains had deemed them unsafe, there would potentially be problems in the event of court action.

HW pointed out that the use of the blades was limited anyway (to the 1st VIII while they are in the 1st division, for the lifetime of the current set of blades).

RC offered the opinion that the decision had not been made on purely safety grounds.

Mark Ackroyd (BNC) stated that his recollection of the meeting had been that the decision had been largely taken to remove any uncertainty over the use of the blades, and that as many did not think that the blades were particularly hazardous, the exception for New had been felt a fair solution.

Chris Pickup (SJC) suggested that the decision had been made on financial grounds – Luke Shepherd (Balliol) suggested that voting had reflected the ability of clubs to invest in new blades.

Liz Nixon (ARA regional safety adviser), informed the meeting that no further action had been taken by the ARA, and that while several umpires had expressed concerns over the safety of the blades, the nature of side by side racing meant that the risk of contact was much lower than in bumps racing.

After threatening to descend into a repeat of arguments over the original decision, Joss Knight (OURCs) offered the opinion that the safety issues had been sorted out already, and that repeating the arguments was a waste of time.

Motion to scrap New’s exception to B16.

Proposed: J. van Tulleken (S.E.H.)

Second: Paul Randall (Oriel)

For: 16            

Against: 29

Abstain: 9

7. Torpids Start Order

AH informed the meeting that the SUs had suggested that an addition to B6 would be useful in the event of a significant loss of training time due to flooding. This addition would only be applied to large numbers of crews – not to individual colleges wishing to withdraw on the grounds of safety, as a cover for not being very good.

C O’N proposed that the rule should stipulate a number of days lost in a term, so that the rule could not be abused in this manner.

AH agreed in principle, but pointed out that the submitted proposal would not be practical as, e.g., this term Torpids would go ahead with all crews (subject to the river conditions), as novices had had ample training time, even in the event of losing much of this term.

It was agreed to modify the tabled rule addition to clearly indicate the intention that this would only apply in the event of significant loss of river time, resulting in large numbers of inexperienced crews.

Motion to add:


In the event of the Senior Umpires permitting early or late withdrawals from bumps races on safety grounds, arising from a significant loss of river time to colleges, such crews will maintain their places in the following year's Starting Order without penalty. A request for such a withdrawal must be made in writing and signed by the club captain.

Proposed: AH

Second: C O’N

Passed with 8 against and 4 abstentions.

8. Constitutional amendments

a) Proposed: Emily Baldock (Wolfson).

EB proposed the amendment because DPhil students who finished their courses mid-year but remained working in the University were effectively disbarred from rowing, and that this would allow them to continue to participate in college rowing rather than force them to join City or Falcon. Incoming postdocs would not be a member of a college, and would not, therefore, be subject to the rule.

Christ Church objected on the grounds that these people would no longer be students. It was pointed out that JRFs and other college staff were permitted to row.

JK pointed out that anyone coming back to the University to work would be eligible to compete.

C O’N proposed an amendment to the tabled agenda, stipulating a continuous period at the University.

C5.4: Delete

"Subject who is not a member of a college as defined in C5.1 - Not allowed."

and replace with:

"- Subject previously fulfilling C5.1 for College A, having been in continuous possession of a valid university card, and currently in possession of a valid university ID card showing no college affiliation, to college A – typically allowed.

- Subject who has never been a member of a college as defined in C5.1 – not allowed.

- Subject who is not in possession of a valid university ID card – not allowed."

Passed with 4 abstentions and 1 against

b) Clarification of Osler-Green transfers

Lucy Sykes asked why the annulment of transfers approved by the Captains in Hilary 2001 did not apply to Osler, when it she had been advised by the previous committee that this was the case.

AH responded by pointing out that a “transfer” was a granting of honorary membership to a College Boat Club of which a rower or cox was not a member, by the Captains. In contrast, the choice of competing for Osler or a College was a choice between 2 Clubs which did not require a transfer, as Clinical Medics are members of both. Any advice to the contrary had been given in error.

Sarah Livermore (New) asserted that the principle should be that someone should not be able to chop and change clubs at will.

JW pointed out that she was a clinical medic, and that College training times were often not compatible with timetables, thus the ability to choose to compete for Osler was an important one.

C O’N: if someone ends up competing for a college (thus disbarring themselves from

competing for Osler) they must have managed to cope with training.

LS stated that there were not large numbers of people wishing to chop and change clubs. AH responded that this had been the case in the past, which is why the rule had been introduced originally.

Stuart Jones (OURCs) suggested allowing one transfer, but was shouted down.

Eventually, a move to vote:

C5.3.6, replace:

"but may not change clubs after competing in their first OURCs event"


"but may not change clubs after competing in their first OURCs event except by being granted honorary membership under C4"

Proposed: AH

Second: LS

For: 38

Against: 11

Abstain: 9

Amendment passed

9. Transfers (2/3 majority, as constitutional amendments)

a) Lesley Parry-Jones from Mansfield to Merton.

Passed with 2 abstentions

b) Melissa Pine from SJC to ChCh

Passed with 2 abstentions

c) Nicole Schueller (no college affiliation) to Wolfson.

Nicole is an ex-St Cross member (therefore honorary Wolfson BC member) now working for the University, but with no college affiliation. Allowed under new C5.4

Passed with 4 abstentions

d) Kate Allen from New to Osler-Green.

For: 38

Against: 5

Abstain: 25


10. AOB

a) Report on meetings of the OUBC trust fund sub-committee on safety

C O’N reported on the meetings of the OUBC trust fund sub-committee that reviewed the Strategy Document presented to the Captains in Michaelmas term. The sub-committee reviewed the safety aspects of the document, shelving the development. C O’N felt that the right balance between safety and reason had been met, and that the forthcoming document would not be prescriptive, but advise on best practice in rowing, as applied to Oxford and in reference to the ARA Water Safety Code (WSC). C O’N summarised dome of the points the committee had agreed on:

The roles of Senior member (SM), Safety Adviser (SA) and Captain of Coxes for each club will be clarified an laid down, so that the SM’s task of ensuring that the club’s activities conform to the WSC is eased. These roles were emphasised as they carry special responsibilities for safety for the club and crews.

Risk assessments, applying to all the clubs activities, will also need to be carried with more thoroughness than at present.

All clubs must be ARA registered, and all coaches should be ARA members, as this carries considerable protection. It was pointed out that liability insurance conferred by ARA membership was not dependent on being a qualified coach.

Attendance at a captain’s induction meeting should be compulsory for college clubs.

SAs should be permanent members of staff (ideally the boatman), to ensure continuity.

Finally, C O’N restated his belief that we should continue to maintain that rowing in Oxford is a safe sport, thanks to the framework provided by OURCs and OUCS, and that these recommendations would help clubs continue to operate within the WSC.

LN pointed out that the new version of the WSC was not yet approved, and that the emphasis on rowing during high stream conditions may change to recognise the ARA as the expert body in determining appropriate safe conditions for rowing, and may allow more flexibility than the current adherence to EA boards allows.

b) Guy Barnett pointed out that OURCs would be holding RYA courses on the Isis from 9-11 February, and that crews may be required to turn early, before Haystacks on those dates.

c) LN asked that only serious incidents should be reported to her, as ARA Regional Safety Adviser.

d) AH stated that a notice would be appearing asking for volunteers to scull at Godstow, to participate in a study of sculling stroke profiles.

The meeting closed at 9:14pm