ARA Rules of Racing

Unofficial notes re changes introduced April 2003

These are unofficial notes, not with the authority of the ARA nor of the Rules of Racing Sub-Committee.
For full details of the rules, see the relevant issue of the British Rowing Almanack.
The complete 2003 edition of the ARA Rules of Racing (and  MSWord version)
are now available on the ARA website.

A  brief summary of the planned changes is available in the ARA council report.  

Details are now available on the ARA website & I have included a few extra notes here.

Changes to the rules - taking effect from April 2003

Overview - Areas of the rules that have been clarified are regression, open and women's events, coxes - to include veteran categories and any inconsistency regarding their weighing in after races. The rules on substitution now take into account composite crews and if substituting more than the permitted half of the crew the requirements of medical evidence from the crew or its club.

Changes to the rules include the warning given by umpires to crews about to collide with a permanent object; removal of the School/ /Junior category [this Sch/Jun change has been reversed by the February meeting of ARA Council], the introduction of a junior maidens category and there is a requirement for crews from associations other than the ARA to provide their full competition history and, if misrepresented, sanctions can be applied.

Changes to the rules - specific wording

2-3-4 Crew Composition

... b. Up to half the crew may be substituted before the crew's first race in an event. Any substitute must be ARA registered and approved as eligible by the Organising Committee. Each must be a member of the same club as the oarsman he is replacing or, in the case of a composite crew, of any or the clubs entered as the composite, and must provide Racing Licences. Substitute coxswains may belong to a different club.

[DJB note:  Under the previous wording, it was not clear whether a substitute into a composite had to be a member of the same club as the member for whom they were substituted, or merely a member of one of the clubs named in the composite.]

c. Further substitutions (other than in 2-3-4b) will only be permissible on the basis of medical evidence produced by the crew or its club. In the absence of a medical certificate the decision of the Race Committee Chairman will be final. An oarsman substituted on medical grounds may not reclaim his original place in the crew.

[DJB note:  This revised wording allows for the fact that there might not always be a medical officer at the regatta, & clarifies that a competitor substituted on medical grounds may not subsequently return to the crew.]

2-3-7 Coxswains

a. Coxswains must wear a buoyancy aid in the correct manner and be familiar with the method of operation. Self inflating life jackets and buoyancy aids must not be used in boats where the coxswain is enclosed within the shell of the boat.

b. All coxswains shall be weighed each day prior to their first race. Coxswains competing in more than one event of a similar category need be weighed once only to qualify for all such events. Coxswains shall be weighed in the clothing that they expect to wear in the race, inclusive of buoyancy aids. In agreeing what a coxswain might expect to wear, the weather and condition of the course should be borne in mind.

[DJB note:  An extraneous clause about reweighing after a race, whose removal was agreed as part of the 2002 changes, has now been removed from the rules.  2-3-7 c below includes the provision to check deadweight after a race.]

c. The minimum weight for coxswains shall be: 55kg for Senior Open, Veteran Open, J18, J16 and mixed Crews; 50kg for Senior women, Veteran Women, WJ18 and WJ16 Crews; 45kg for all J15 and younger Crews. To make up this weight a lighter coxswain shall carry dead-weight. Any dead-weight carried may be checked after any race in an event.

[DJB note:  Veterans are now included specifically, having been missed when the wording changed in 2002 from adult to Senior.]

2-3-8 Equipment check

... b. The bows of racing boats shall be properly protected. A solid ball, of not less than 4cm diameter, made of rubber or material of similar resilience, must be firmly attached to the bows. Where the construction of the boat, or its composition, is such that the bow is properly protected or its shape does not present a hazard in the event of a collision, this requirement need not apply. It is recommended that the bow ball be white as, in most circumstances, this is the most satisfactory colour with regard to judging the finish of a race.

[DJB note:  To be consistent with, & to emphasise the provisions of, the Water Safety Code, and to recommend white, which previously was mentioned only in the safety code (in which context it was irrelevant).]  

c. No boat shall make use of any substance capable of modifying the natural properties of water to improve performance.

d. No competitor shall make use of a boat with a sliding or swinging rigger mechanism.

e. There shall be no restriction on the design of boats or equipment other than as described above.

2-5-3 Steering

The umpire may call the attention of the crew to its steering only if it is about to:

... e. Collide with a permanent obstruction on or off the course. A permanent obstruction could be a bridge, pier, pontoon, weir or any other structure that may provide a risk of damage or injury to boat, equipment or crew, and may include the bank, staging or heavy buoys. The umpire may delay stopping a crew for a while, consistent with safety, to give the crew every opportunity to recognise the obstruction themselves. In deciding the point at which a crew should be stopped, the umpire should bear in mind the experience of the crew involved and the speed at which their boat is travelling.

The instruction to a crew in this circumstance shall be:

- raise a white flag vertically above the head

- name the crew

- give the command 'Obstruction, Stop'

Once they have taken notice of the obstruction the crew may continue with the race.

[DJB note:  Under the previous rule an umpire could WARN a crew in this situation, and could therefore have been regarded as steering & assisting them.  Under the revised rule the umpire will STOP the crew (early enough to ensure safety), and though the crew may restart subsequently they are not therefore likely to have gained an advantage in the race through the umpire's intervention.]

3-1-1 ARA Standing

Only competitors who are registered competition members of the ARA and who are members of an affiliated rowing club, or who represent a club affiliated to another association recognised by ARA or FISA, may compete in races and regattas held under these Rules. Any competitor misrepresenting their history shall be subject to the penalties as described in Rule 2-7-3

[DJB note:  The disciplinary procedures, including regarding misrepresentation, are currently listed under "Conduct of the race", and it was felt that there ought to be a reference in the section regarding competitors.]

3-1-2 Misuse of Drugs (Doping)

... b. The ARA's appointed national agency for testing for the misuse of drugs is Sport England (which may test both in and out of competition).

[DJB note:  change of name from the Sports Council to Sport England.]

3-2-1 Senior Classification

... b. A competitor may request, in writing to the ARA, that one point be deducted from his total if he has not won a qualifying event at senior level or its equivalent in the previous calendar year subject to reduction of that competitor's total to a minimum of four points.

[DJB note:  previous regression rule did not make it clear that the competitor needs to apply.]

3-3-3 Juniors

...c.  J12, J13, J14, J15, J16 and J18 are competitors who have not attained 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 or 18 years of age respectively before the first day of September preceding the event.

[DJB note:  clarification that the dividing line of the age groups is between those born in August (or before) and those born in September (or after).


... f. Juniors of each age band are termed Junior A once they win a qualifying junior event, other than Junior Maiden, for the rest of their time in that age band.

[DJB note:  addition of provision that Junior Maiden doesn't affect Junior B status.]

g. A qualifying win at J18B, J16, WJ18 or WJ16 level shall count as a novice win.

h. The first qualifying J18A win in any one year counts for one senior point. This does not apply to Women's J18.

[DJB note:  removal of School/Junior events was reversed by Feb 03 meeting of ARA Council, so 3-3-3 h will presumably remain as it was;  3-3-3 g was already unchanged.]

4-1-1 The Main Classes of Events.

... and in each of these classes, open (regardless of sex), women and mixed (see 4-1-9); and in either discipline (sweep-oared or sculling). See the particular conditions below pertaining to each class. Where the class of an event is not specified it shall be interpreted as Senior, and open to either sex.

[DJB note:  There should in here be a further clarification that events restricted to men may NOT be offered.]  

4-1-6 Junior Class

[DJB note:  Removal of old 4-1-6 b re School/ Junior has been reversed at Feb 03 Council meeting;   4-1-6 b now remains as is.]

... b. The first qualifying J18A win in any one year counts for one senior point. This does not apply to WJ18.

[DJB note:  Removal of reference to School/ Junior reversed, so 4-1-6 c now remains as is.]

c.  d. A qualifying win at J18B, J16, WJ18 or WJ16 level shall count as a novice win.

[DJB note:  Now remains as 4-1-6 d.]

d.  e. Junior Maiden events may be offered at Junior, J16, J15, WJ18, WJ15 and WJ15 levels for junior members who have not yet won any qualifying junior or qualifying Senior event.

[DJB note:  Junior Novice renamed to Junior Maiden to avoid confusion with senior Novice status, & clarification of conditions for losing Junior Maiden status;  presumably remains as 4-1-6e.

5-2-3 Closing of Entries

... g. The Regatta shall make enquiries of any foreign crew from an association other than the ARA, to check, as far as they are able, that the crew enters an appropriate event for their experience and crew record. Such crews should provide an event with details of their competition history with the understanding that their governing body may be contacted.

[DJB note:  This change extends the enquiries to cover not only foreign crews but also crews from associations with different rules from the ARA's.  The word "foreign" should have been removed.]

The complete 2003 edition of the ARA Rules of Racing (and  MSWord version) are available on the ARA website.

Page produced 20 Dec 2002, last updated 28 Jul 2004

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