Henley Boat Races

The agreement under which the annual boat races are rowed between Oxford University and Cambridge University Men's Lightweight Crews and Women's Lightweight Crews:

  1. The Races shall be rowed on the River Thames at Henley, from the Royal Regatta finish to the mid-point on the Temple Island on a date to be agreed by the Presidents at the time of the Challenge, in conjunction with the Chairman of the Organising Committee.
  2. The Challenge shall be proffered in writing by the President of the previous year's losing University, and shall be made in October preceding the Race.
  3. The conduct of the Race shall be the sole responsibility of the Umpire, who shall be chosen by mutual consent at a meeting of the Organising Committee.
  4. The Umpire shall be responsible for the positioning of the stakeboats which shall not be moved after the Toss for stations has taken place except with the agreement of all parties. (Notwithstanding the fact that the stakeboats may have to be placed after the Toss depending on conditions).
  5. The crews shall be at the Start together five minutes before the time of the Race.
  6. The Umpire shall start each race using the commands in current use by the Amateur Rowing Association, and include calling over the crews and stating the start commands he will use. (F11-12)
  7. If the Umpire or Aligner considers the start false he shall at once recall the crews to their stakeboats by ringing a bell and then by waving a red flag. If a crew refuses to start again or makes or causes two false starts, the Umpire shall disqualify that crew. (F13-14)
  8. A boat's proper course is such as will enable it to reach the winning post in the shortest possible time provided that it allows unobstructed passage for the other crew to steer its proper course on the side on which it started. (F15)
  9. During the Race, each crew shall remain in its own water, not interfere with, nor prevent, the other crew from following its proper course. A crew continuing out of its proper course after due warning may be disqualified by the Umpire. (F15)
  10. The Umpire shall be the sole judge of a boat's proper course. He may call the attention of a crew to its steering only if the crew is about to interfere with or foul the other crew, or if a collision is about to occur, or if disqualification is possible under Rule 9.(F16-17)
  11. When the Umpire warns a crew he shall hold up a white flag vertically, name the crew, and move the flag in the direction in which the boat is to move. When the Umpire stops a Race, he shall ring the bell, hold up a red flag and give the order "Stop". (F18)
  12. Crews shall be responsible for their own steering, and the Umpire shall ensure the crews do not receive any advice or instructions. A crew receiving any extraneous assistance may be disqualified. (F19)
  13. A foul shall be defined as any collision or contact between boats, oars, or persons, unless in the opinion of the Umpire it will not influence the result of the Race. (F20)
  14. Interference shall be defined as conduct by a crew which impedes the progress of the other crew which is in its proper course. A crew shall not be disqualified for interference unless it has been warned in accordance with Rule 10. (F21)
  15. A claim will be made by the coxswain of the crew raising an arm, either at the time of the alleged offence or immediately after the end of the Race, that is to say, as the bows of the boat cross the finish line.
  16. In the event of a serious or deliberate foul the Umpire shall disqualify the offending crew without waiting for a claim. He will do this immediately at the end of the Race. (Note: This means that he will delay his announcement, either in the interests of safety, or to see whether a foul has, in fact, influenced the result of the Race).
  17. The crews shall abide by their accidents, but the Umpire may declare "No Race", and order a restart, or a re-row:
    1. if either crew is interfered with by an outside agency to such an extent as to influence the result of the Race.
    2. if, before reaching the bridge in the Phyllis Court wall, either crew should suffer any serious accident or sinking or water logging. (F23)
  18. A crew has completed the Course when the bows of the boat cross the finish line. If a competitor, other than the coxswain, falls out of the boat the crew will still be placed. If a coxswain falls out of the boat, the crew will be deemed not to have completed the Course. (F27)
  19. The distance by which a crew is declared to have won may be the smallest that can be judged (including consulting photographic records at the finish), and a dead heat should only be given when it is impossible for the finish judges together to see which boat passed the post first. In the event of a dead-heat being declared there will be no re-row and the trophy shared between the crews. (F24, 26)
  20. After the finish the Umpire shall indicate by raising his white flag when both crews have crossed that the Race is in order and no protest has been lodged. If the race is not in order he shall raise his red flag. A crew earlier claiming that the Race had been improperly run must explain its protest to the Umpire again immediately at the finish of the Race. (F25)
  21. Refusal to abide by the decision of the Umpire, which is final and without appeal, or to follow his instructions, shall render a crew liable to disqualification. (G1, G3)
  22. For Men the average weight of a Lightweight crew (excluding coxswain) shall not exceed 70kg. No individual oarsman shall weigh more than 72.5kg. For women the average of a Lightweight crew (excluding coxswain) shall not exceed 57kg. No individual oarswoman shall weigh more than 59kg. (FISA Article 23)
  23. The coxswain for the Men's Lightweight Race shall not weigh less than 55kg, and for all the Women's Races not less than 45kg, and must carry weights in the boat if necessary. It will be the responsibility of that coxswain to provide such weights and they must be carried as near to, but not on, the coxswains person as possible. The coxswains shall be weighed on the day of the race immediately after the Umpire's morning briefing. (FISA Article 17)
  24. "Cox-boxes" and tools shall not count for the minimum weight of a coxswain and may not be used as dead-weight if needed under Rule 23. Life jackets and buoyancy aids are acceptable at the weigh-in being a compulsory part of the coxswain's dress (see Rule 26).
  25. Lightweight crews shall be weighed no earlier than 4 hours nor later than 1 hour before their Race. For weighing the minimum dress shall be underwear. If an oarsman or woman is over the maximum weight then only that person need be re-weighed unless it adversely affects the average of the crew.
  26. Coxswains must wear a life jacket or buoyancy aid in order to comply with the BR Water Safety Code.

Note: Some of the rules are followed by a reference, in italics, to an BR rule or FISA article. These are for reference only; the rule or article referred to may contain additional points not applicable to these rules and vice versa. The rules set out above are the final and only point of regulation for the operation of these races.

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