Race Categories & Rules

Categories of racing

The Welsh Sea Rowing Association recognises the following categories in league events:

Longboat

  • Senior – this is effectively an open class. Men and women are permitted to row in senior crews. (It is also permissible, but not necessarily advisable, for junior rowers to row in senior crews).
  • Senior Veterans – As for senior rowing, but with the added condition that all rowing crew are 40 years old or above.
  • Senior Supaveterans – As for senior rowing, but with the added condition that all rowing crew are 50 years old or above.
  • Senior Ultra Veterans – As for senior rowing, but with the added condition that the combined age of all rowers is 240 years or more.
  • Ladies – All rowing crew must be female.
  • Ladies Veterans – All rowing crew members must be female, and 40 years old or above.
  • Ladies Supaveterans – All rowing crew members must be female, and 50 years old or above.
  • Ladies Ultra Veterans – All rowing crew members must be female, and the combined age of all rowers must be 240 years or more.
  • Mixed – At all times at least half the rowing crew must be female. Rowers may row in any configuration.
  • Mixed Veterans – At all times at least half the rowing crew must be female. All rowing crew must be 40 years old or above. Rowers may row in any configuration.
  • Mixed Supaveterans – At all times at least half the rowing crew must be female. All rowing crew members must be 50 years old or above. Rowers may row in any configuration.
  • Mixed Ultra Veterans – At all times at least half the rowing crew must be female. The combined age of all rowers must be 240 years or more. Rowers may row in any configuration.
  • U18 Open – All crew members must be 18 or under at end of season i.e. 30th September. Boys and Girls may row in open crews.
  • U16 Open – All crew members must be 16 or under at end of season i.e. 30th September. Boys and Girls may row in open crews.
  • U18 Girls – All crew members must be female and 18 or under at end of season i.e. 30th September.
  • U16 Girls – All crew members must be female and 16 or under at end of season i.e. 30th September.
  • U18 Boys – All crew members must be male and 18 or under at end of season i.e. 30th September.
  • U16 Boys – All crew members must be male and 16 or under at end of season i.e. 30th September.

Notes

Coxes may be male or female in all categories.

Juniors race at the age they will be at the end of the season ie 30 September. For example, a person born on 1 October 2002 will still be 18 on 30 September 2020 so is eligible to race Under 18’s for the 2020 season.

Juniors must be 14 before they are permitted to row in any junior race.

An Under 14s participation event can be held at the discretion of a race host club, for juniors between the ages of 11 and 14. This is recommended to be an 800m straight line sprint.

Novice crews – race at the same time as Junior crews. The novice crews have no restrictions on gender and no age categories. Novices races do not earn league points.

A novice is classed as a person who is within their first year of affiliation to the WSRA, once they are affiliated for a second time, they are no longer classed as a novice. An affiliation year runs from 1st April until 31st March. If individuals wish to compete in a novice class, even when they are no longer a novice, they are welcome to do so, but the boat must be entered as a non-competitive crew on the race entry form.

Coastal Sculls

  • Senior – As per longboat rules. May consist of 1x, 2x, or 4x.
  • Ladies – As per longboat rules. May consist of 1x, 2x, or 4x.
  • Mixed – As per longboat rules. May consist of 2x, or 4x.

Coastal Sculls will race in the same races as the relevant category in longboat races. There is no breakdown of Yole size for league points due to the small number of competing boats.

Race Rules

Provided below are the basic rules competitors must follow in order to compete fairly in WSR League Races. If more detailed information is required the following two documents will help race organisers and officials.

This document provides detailed rules and the penalties that can be imposed for not following them and for unsportsmanlike behaviour.

Before racing

  • Crews will be registered before the start of the event. Unregistered crews must not take to the water during events
  • Crews will declare their WSRA points category at registration. This cannot be changed once racing is underway.
  • All boats must display their correct number on the hull in a legible size.
  • All boats must be seaworthy to race.
  • All crew members must have paid their WSR personal levy/affiliation fee and be registered with the WSR membership secretary. Crews consisting of non-affiliated members will not be allowed to race and will be disqualified.
  • All crews must send a representative to the coxes’ briefing. All local rules explained in this meeting must be abided by.

Race starts

  • All crews are to take to the water promptly when asked to do so.
  • Crews should form a line between 2 start markers (2 buoys or 1 buoy and 1 start boat). Crews may start behind the line but not in front of it. Penalties may be applied to crews jumping the start line (see organising events).
  • Yoles will start a one end of the start line.
  • When crews are resembling a line, the race organisers will signal a ‘ready’ alert (identified in coxes’ briefing) and the raising of the race flag. Racing may start at any point after this.
  • The start of the race will be signalled by the dropping of the race flag and the sounding of a hooter.
  • All coxes must wear lifejackets.
  • All junior crew members must wear lifejackets. U18s must wear a lifejacket even when rowing with a senior crew.

During the race

  • The race will take the course outlined in the coxes’ briefing. A lead boat will lead the rowing boats around the course and will display the following flags:
  • Green flag – Racing under way. Course as advertised.
  • Yellow flag – Racing under way. Course altered. Follow lead boat against advertised course.
  • Red flag – Race cancelled. Follow lead boat to shore. Do not hinder progress of other boats.
  • Overtaking boats must yield to the crew being overtaken. The leading crew has priority (except under certain circumstances – see buoy turns). An overtaking crew becomes the leading crew once overtaking has been fully completed and clear water is obtained.
  • Oar overlap is permissible, but the crew being overtaken has priority and should not be obstructed by clashing oars.
  • Ramming from any direction is prohibited.
  • Weaving and other unsportsmanlike behaviour is prohibited.

Buoy turns

  • Priority at any turn is determined 3 boat lengths from the turn.
  • At 3 boat lengths, if there is any overlap between 2 crews, the inside crew (i.e. crew closest to the buoy when turning) has priority. The outside crew must yield to the inner crew and not impede their progress.
  • At 3 boat lengths, if there is clear water (i.e. no overlap) between the 2 crews, the leading crew has priority. The chasing crew must yield to the leading crew and not impede their progress.
  • As the distance to the buoy decreases, it is likely any gap will shorten or disappear due to the lead crew slowing for the turn. If the chasing crew catches the lead crew and gains inside overlap inside 3 boat lengths, the chasing crew must still yield at the turn.
  • The crew with priory may take any course around the buoy unimpeded.
  • The above rules will cascade through the field. It is possible that a leading crew may have to yield to the crew in 4th or 5th position under some circumstances.
  • An official boat may be stationed on buoy turns to ensure correct procedures are followed. Crews found to obstruct other crews holding priority may have points/positions docked or be disqualified entirely. This is at the discretion of the league official at the race.

Buoy turn diagram

This diagram shows several buoy turn scenarios.

Appeals and Objections

  • Appeals and objections should be addressed to the race referee immediately after the race (see organising events).

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