CRA Bumps Rules




1.1 The aims of the Cambridgeshire Rowing Association’s (CRA) Bumping Races are to promote the enjoyment of local oarsmen and oarswomen and the friendly rivalry between CRA affiliated Clubs and their members.

1.2 A Bumps Committee, consisting of the Bumps Secretary and other members, will be responsible for the organisation, administration and adjudication of the Bumps.

1.3 The Bumps Secretary and Bumps Committee members will be elected annually at the CRA’s Annual General Meeting with not more than one person from any one CRA affiliated Club.

1.4 Each Club shall appoint a bumps organiser whose function is to liaise between the Club, CRA Webmaster and the Bumps Secretary.  He/she will control the club’s interaction with the Event including entries, amendments and marshals etc.  He/she must remain in close contact with the Bumps Secretary by email throughout the event.  The individual’s name and email address must be conveyed to the Bumps Secretary and the Webmaster by 1 March each year.

1.5 The Races are to be rowed in VIII’s and the term “rower” will be used throughout these Rules applying equally to men and to women.

1.6 These Rules must be considered in the round and not in isolation bearing in mind the overall Aims of the Races as described in 1.1 above.


2.1 Each Club must send a completed entry form – available from the website – to the Bumps Secretary no later than 15 days before the event.  This is to be accompanied by the Club’s insurance details as required under rule 2.10. Entry fees are to be paid simultaneously, either direct to the CRA’s Treasurer or by BACS to the CRA’s bank account with an e-mail confirmation to the Treasurer. The amount of the entry fee for each crew is to be determined at a Delegates meeting. (Proposed for 2016 - £5 per seat per night.)

2.2 The names of the individual rowers in each crew must be entered on the CRA’s website. Those persons rowing under Rule 2.5 or Rule 2.6 must be clearly shown with relevant exceptions detailed where applicable. Crews rowing in the first divisions on the first night must enter the same crews on all four nights unless crew changes for exceptional reasons are approved in advance through the Dispensation process. Any crew changes planned for different days must also be shown.  Any objections to the composition of the crews listed must be given to the Bumps Secretary immediately they become known and no later than the Friday before the races.

2.3 Any subsequent alterations to crews prior to 9.00 pm on the Sunday before the races must be notified to the Bumps Secretary and amended on the website as soon as they are known. They must also be notified, by e-mail, to all club organisers via the website. If not so amended, a Club will be fined the amount of an entry fee.  Any objections to the amended composition must be given to the Bumps Secretary, in writing with details of objections, by 9.00 am on the Monday before the races.

2.4 Substitutions – being changes other than those planned in the entry process (ie in accordance with Rules 2.2 and 2.3) - will be allowed thereafter but only for illness or other genuine or accidental reason.  Details must be emailed to the Club organisers’ mailing list and amended on the website by 5 pm on the day of substitution.  After 4 pm, the changes need to be additionally logged at Control.  Any objections must be notified, by email, to the Bumps Secretary by 10.00 am the following day. Substitutes into crews rowing in the first division must be drawn from lower boats or from a previously approved list of substitutes. Substitutes may not have rowed in the current bumps in a higher boat, except in very exceptional circumstances, and then only by a full member covered by Rule 2.5.  All crews actually rowing must be in accordance with all the Rules of Entry.  If any changes are not notified and the website amended then the club will be fined the amount of an entry fee.

2.5 All rowing members must not have competed (rowing or sculling) for another club, other than a non University CRA club, unless allowed under sub-paragraphs below or under rule 2.6, since 1 January prior to the races.

a) Anyone, who in the current academic year, was either a full-time student or full-time graduate student and who rowed or coxed in the CRA Bumping Races, for at least two previous years – one year if as a Junior (J18) – before going to his or her current place of education.  Changes of colleges or courses within the same University do not affect the meaning of “current”.

b) Anyone who has rowed or coxed in the CRA Bumping Races for at least two previous years, but who has substituted at a non CRA event in a non CRA crew or in a non recorded composite on not more than two occasions since 1 January.  One day in each of the Lent or May races to be treated as one separate occasion.

2.6 The Delegates will consider applications for dispensation from individuals who are not eligible under Rule 2.2 or 2.5.  These applicants must have been competing for a CRA Town Club at races throughout the season or who are within the spirit of the rules for other reasons (eg relocation.)  Clubs must put forward the names of candidates and reasons for their requests via the website two weeks before the Delegates meeting in June by submission of a fully completed Dispensation Request Form with all the requested information, except in respect of date of birth for anyone rowing as a Junior. No entry without all of this information will be considered. The bumps committee may seek further clarification of information, which must be provided before this meeting.  The information will be displayed on the website and circulated to Clubs one week before the meeting.  No application will be considered from anyone who has raced in the University Lent or the May Bumping races or the Boat Races unless that person has also had a competitive season for a CRA Town Club, competing on at least three occasions between 1 January and the deadline for application for dispensation.  (The Winter League to be considered as one event.)  It is the responsibility of the Club applying for dispensation to provide full details of the events the rower has entered for CRA Town Clubs, noting composite events etc.  Only one person allowed under this dispensation Rule may be included in any crew.

2.7 Except in the women’s division, crews must not have more than two women rowing. The women’s division is restricted to women. The minimum age for a rower is J15 as defined by BR’s regulations.  (Currently must be 14 years or older on 1 September of previous year in which the event is taking place.)  Coxes may be of either gender and may row or cox in another division. The minimum age for coxes will be 14 as at 1 July in the year of the event.

2.8 No rower may row in more than one crew except in exceptional circumstances as a substitute, under rule 2.4 for one evening.  Coxes may cox more than one crew.

2.9 Entries will only be accepted from crews comprised of paid-up members of CRA Affiliated Clubs.  Before competing Clubs must have paid the affiliation fee for the current year.

2.10 All crews entered must have third party insurance to cover injury to competitors; spectators and damage to property with an indemnity limit of at least £3m.  A letter or certificate from an insurance company, in a prescribed form, confirming the club’s public liability cover meets these requirements must be attached to the entry form.  (see rule 2.1)

2.11 Clubs must enter their crews in the anticipated order of their speed.  Clubs should renumber their crews if the order is considered to be incorrect by 9 pm on the day before racing.  They must amend the website and inform the Bumps Secretary, together with the Club organisers, in writing.

2.12 If a Club enters more crews than in the previous year, the additional crew(s) must row in the CRA Time Race. The crew(s) must fairly represent their proposed Bumps crew(s) ie at least six members. The Bumps Committee will then seed them into the full starting order unless rule 2.15 is invoked.

2.13 Any crew which does not have a position on the river, or has not rowed in the last two year’s Bumping Races, must row their crew(s) in the CRA Time Race. The crew must fairly represent their proposed Bumps crew(s) ie at least six members. The Bumps Committee will then seed them into the full starting order.

2.14 Any crew that did not participate in the previous year’s Bumps will drop four places in the current year’s order.

2.15 If the event is over-subscribed, an entry to the Time Race will be required as a getting-on race.  Those crews at the bottom of Men’s Division Four and Women’s Division Four will be expected to take part.  The number of crews required to take part will equal twice the number of additional entries seeking a position, subject to a maximum of eight from the existing crews. All crews taking part must be representative of their intended entry in accordance with rule 2.13.

2.16 At the written request of the club, or in special circumstances at its own discretion, the Bumps Committee may, in the interest of safety or where the committee is satisfied that the crew does not fairly represent its place in the order, place a crew in a new position other than its proper starting position.

2.17 All coxes must have attended a CRA cox’s meeting within the previous two years.  A cox who has not coxed for two years must attend in the current year.  A list of registered coxes will be maintained. Any crew racing without such a cox will be disqualified from the whole event.

2.18 If a crew is scratched on or before the first evening, other crews from that club will row in the highest of the club’s positions. The lowest unoccupied position for that Club will, in the following year’s starting order, drop four places.  If the scratching is later than 9.00 pm on the Sunday before racing, then only that crew’s division will be affected. The club will be fined the amount of an entry fee.

2.19 When, to the satisfaction of the Bumps Committee, a crew has rowed in violation of any of the rules in section 2, the offending crew, unless bumped on an evening of violation, will go down one place in the starting order on the following evening’s racing, in respect of each evening of violation.  In addition, the club will be fined the amount of an entry fee in respect of each evening and may be disqualified from the current races.

2.20 Each affiliated Club shall be entitled to one position in each of the men’s and women’s races that will not be subject to any getting-on races.


3.1 There will be two finishing points in each division.  A boat is on the course until its stern it past its finishing point.  The first eight crews will row to the further point and the remainder will row the shorter distance.  All crews will have the option of rowing to the further point to make a bump on any of the crews whose finish is the further point.



A - Concrete post about 100 yards upstream of Morley’s Holt
B – Ditton side upstream edge of the Railway Bridge brickwork
C – Front door of the White House (72 Fen Road)
D – The Railings in Long Reach
E – Post just round Ditton corner into Reach

M1 and W1 - finishes A & B

M2 and W2 - finishes B & C

M 3; W3; M4 and W4- finishes D & E

Division Times

W4 – 4.15 M4 – 4.55 W3 – 5.35 M3 – 6.15 W2 – 6.55  M2 – 7.35  W1 – 8.10  M1 – 8.45

If the event is under subscribed, these times will remain but the earliest of the relevant Divisions (ie M4 or W4) will be dropped. Clubs should be aware that times are tight between Divisions and plan accordingly.

3.3 The crews that finish at the head of a lower division will row as “sandwich boat” at the bottom of the next higher division.

3.4 The crew’s number must be worn by both bow and cox throughout the racing in such a way as to be clearly visible at all times. Crews not doing so may be fined up to the amount of an entry fee in respect of each evening.

3.5 All boats that are raced must be fitted with a (BR) regulation bow-ball and be safe to row in. The cox must wear a life jacket or buoyancy aid. No boat will be allowed to race in contravention of these requirements. All boats where “fitted shoes” are employed must have effective heel restraints. These must be properly adjusted (the heel must be prevented from rising higher than the lowest fixed point of the shoe) and in working order.

3.6 All crews must be accompanied throughout the race by at least one follower who will assist the cox in the racing and also generally assist in the safety of the race.

3.7 In the interests of safety, clubs must limit the number of followers on bicycles to a maximum of four who should not be under 12 years old. Tandems and bicycles towing children-carrying trailers are not permitted. Any club with excessive bank parties and/or in breach of this Rule will be fined up to the amount of an entry fee.

3.8 In the interests of safety, running with crews will not be allowed.

3.9 Front (bow) coxed boats will not be permitted.

3.10 The use of megaphones, loudhailer, air horns or other similar devices by bank parties for coaching or supporting will not be permitted. These will only be used in emergencies by marshals, umpires and bank parties to stop or control the races in the interests of safety.


4.1 On the first evening’s racing all crews must pass the Railway Bridge at least twenty minutes before their race is due to start. They must also be registered by the appointed Railway Bridge marshal. Any crew not so registered will be disqualified (see rule 4.4) unless the marshal and the Chief Marshal or Deputy Chief Marshal are satisfied that the reason for the failure, reported by a member of the club to one of them before the above time, is genuine.

4.2 If a boat is not at its starting position four minutes before the race is due to start, the club will be fined the amount of an entry fee unless the Bumps Committee is satisfied that the failure was caused by circumstances beyond the control of the crew.

4.3 If, for any reason, a crew does not race on one evening, then on the following evening they must register with the Railway Bridge marshal twenty-five minutes, or with the Chief Marshal at the Gunshed fifteen minutes, before their race. Failure to do so will disqualify the crew for the rest of the event/Races.

4.4 If a crew is scratched, disqualified or withdraws by giving at least fifteen minutes notice to the Chief Marshal, the gap in the starting order will be closed by all the following crews in the division moving up one place from and including that evening. The offending crew will go down one place in the overall order for that and each of the remaining evenings of facing. The club will be fined the amount of any entry fee.

4.5 Crews going to the start must go down in reverse order and must not turn or row upstream except below their starting position. When turning they must not impede crews that need to go further downstream. Any crew so doing will be fined up to the amount of an entry fee.

Crews in Men Division 3 must assemble, in reverse order, in the Reach along the common below the railway bridge and above the railings, keeping well in to the bank. Crews in Men’s Divisions 1 and 2 and Women Division 1 must assemble, in reverse order, along the common below Green Dragon Bridge and above Morley’s Holt. No crew must move off until given the order to do so by the marshal.

4.6 Crews going to the start may only practice one racing start, at the Plough, subject to the Chief Marshal’s discretion.

4.7 The starting points will be 150 feet apart. Until the start the cox will hold the bung attached to a chain 33 feet in length fixed to its post or, if by chance the bung is lost, 7’s rigger must remain downstream of the post. Any crew failing to observe this requirement will be liable to be bumped but cannot make a bump, unless, in the opinion of the marshal, the loss of the bung or the movement of the boat made no difference to the outcome of the race. The Club may be fined up to the amount of an entry fee. (NB pushing out poles are 14ft in length)

4.8 The race will be started by firing three guns. The first will be fired four minutes before the start; the second one minute before the start and the third on the start. In the event of a failure of the one minute or start gun, the next gun fired will be the one minute gun. No crew may have more than two members actually rowing during the last ten seconds of the countdown to the start of the race.


5.1 A boat will be considered bumped when it is touched by any part of the boat following before the leading boat’s stern has passed its finishing point. The cox of a boat so bumped, or where there is an overlap under rule 5.2, must immediately acknowledge it by holding up a hand and the crew must keep rowing. The crew making the bump must immediately hold it up until the boats are separated, then row on to clear the river. Both crews must steer to the side of the river as quickly as possible and, in the Gut, ideally to the towpath side. (The word “boat” includes the oars unless detached from the boat.)

5.2 Before the concrete post opposite the Plough, an overlap of boats where the bow ball of the following boat, making allowance for the effect of a corner to the advantage of the leading boat, is level with the cox’s seat of the leading boat, will constitute a bump. The cox must acknowledge as for a bump. The marshal will only indicate the bump if necessary.

5.3 Passing a boat or the station of a non-starting boat will be equivalent to a bump.

5.4 Where a crew or crews are unable to continue rowing because the river has become blocked, or for some other reason not caused by the crew or its boat, the crews will be considered to have rowed over unless, in the opinion of the marshals, a bump or bumps would have occurred.

5.5 If, in the opinion of the Bumps Committee, a crew wilfully disregards any of the rules in section 5 or acts in any other unsafe manner, then any bump deemed to be made may be disallowed, or they may have bump awarded against them. The Club will be fined up to the amount of an entry fee and, in exceptional cases, any of the crews involved my be disqualified from the current races.

5.6 If a crew wishes to dispute a bump or a marshal’s decision, verbal representation must be made at the time to the marshal and to any other crew(s) involved. After the race, the crew must report to the control point where contact will be made with the Chief Marshal or Deputy Chief Marshal. All parties involved must report to control to await a decision. (NB Unless a dispute is reported immediately at the time and face to face, it is possible that a crew will return to the boathouse unaware of any problem. It is not practicable to bring crews back to control from the boathouses.)

5.7 Subject to the power of the Chief Marshal in rule 6.2, all cases of bumps that remain disputed notwithstanding Rule 5.6 will be referred to the Bumps Committee whose decision, after hearing from a single representative from each crew involved at the control point at the end of the day’s racing, will be final.

5.8 In very exceptional circumstances the Bumps Committee may order a re-row to take place half an hour before the first race on the day following the incident or at some other mutually agreed time.

5.9 If one boat bumps another, or a bump is given, the two crews will exchange places in the following day’s starting order whatever may have been their starting positions.

5.10 All bumps must be recorded each day at the control point before the start of the following division, or, in the case of M1, at the end of their race, by a member of the club of the crew claiming the bump. If a bump is not recorded the club may be fined up to the amount of an entry fee, but the bump will, on sufficient evidence, be allowed.

5.11 If a lower crew bumps a higher crew from the same club, the club may be fined up to the amount of an entry fee.

5.12 All crews in lower divisions returning after their race will maintain single file up the Reach, keeping to the towpath side. This is to allow crews going to the start to do so safely. Coxes should be aware and vigilant.


6.1 Clubs with two or more crews must provide marshals, who must be experienced in bumping races, to help run the event safely. The number of marshals each Club must provide is the number of crews entered divided by four (rounding up any fractions of half or more) for each night of racing. Position marshals should be over 18. Race marshals should be over 16.

(For example, a Club with six crews would provide two marshals each night.)

Marshals must report to the control point in the first instance by 4.30 pm and then, as directed, to either the Chief Marshal at the Gunsheds or to other positions. A marshal may arrange a substitute for one or other races subject to there being an overlap to explain the role, if needs be, to their replacement.

Clubs failing to provide the necessary marshals may be fined up to the amount of an entry fee in respect of each evening of failure. New marshals must attend a marshals meeting.

6.2 The Bumps Committee will appoint a Chief Marshal and Deputy Chief Marshal who will arrange the rota of marshals and supervise each evening’s racing. These Marshals will adjudicate, where practicable, but, where not practicable, will refer any disputes to the Bumps Committee.

6.3 The Chief Marshal and Deputy Chief Marshal will in no circumstances be held responsible for checking that crews and equipment, including the use of such equipment, are in accordance with British Rowing’s Water Safety Code or with these rules, or that the members of the crews accord with these rules.


7.1 Inappropriate behaviour, either on or off the water, and the infringement or repeat infringement of any Rule may be penalised by a fine of any amount at the discretion of the Bumps Committee, with appeal only to a Delegates Meeting.


The John Jenner Trophy was set-up to give Clubs who do well in a year something tangible to aim for. The rules are simple:
1) A club must enter at least 1 men's and 1 women's crew
2) The club gets one point or loses a point for each place gained or lost in the bumps.
3) A row over as Head of the River counts as 1 point per day.
4) All the points are then added for each club.
5) This total is then divided by the total number of boats each club entered.

The winner is the club with the most points, if there is a tie then the club with the most points and the most boats entered wins. Any other conditions are referred to the bumps committee for adjudication.


  • Friday 1 January 2016 – Clubs to remind their members to keep a note of all Races entered for any Club other than their own to ensure they can meet the eligibility criteria to be able to enter Bumps 2016.
  • Sunday 31 January – Final date for Clubs to submit their suggestions for new or amended Rules to the Bumps Secretary – existing Rule and text of the proposed new Rule to be stated in full – with a summary of reasons for requesting a change.
  • Wednesday 24 February – Draft Rules for acceptance/rejection by the Delegates to be circulated to all Clubs.
  • Tuesday 1 March - Clubs to notify the Bumps Secretary and the Webmaster of their Appointed Bumps Contact for 2016
  • Wednesday 9 March – 8 pm - Delegates meeting to accept/reject Rules.
  • Wednesday 27 April – pre-entry meeting at Nines boathouse at 7.00pm.
  • Tuesday 31 May – Names for consideration as dispensations to have been sent to the Bumps Secretary and entered on the website.
  • Wednesday 15 June – Delegates meeting (8.00pm) to consider dispensations.
  • Sunday 3 July – Entries to have been received by the Bumps Secretary in
  • accordance with the Rules – please allow time (and correct postage) for posting.
  • Bumps Secretary’s new address: 27 Cambridge Road Sandy Bedfordshire SG19 1JF.
  • Monday 4 July – Deadline for Programme
  • Thursday 7 July – CRA Time Race. Any club or crew seeking a position in the Bumps by entering the Time Race must declare the fact and the names of the crew concerned to the Bumps Secretary.
  • Friday 15 July – Objections to crew composition to be notified, by email with reasons, to the Bumps Secretary by 5.00 pm.
  • Friday 15 July – Coxes meeting at Nines boathouse – in the bar/gym area - Refresher: 8.00 pm – 8.15 pm Full briefing: 8.15 pm – 9.00 pm
  • Coxes: please arrive 10 minutes before your session to sign in (use capitals and the name your club has registered you under).
  • Friday 15 July – Marshals meeting – 8.00 pm – The Annexe, St Andrew’s Church Hall, St Andrew’s Road, Chesterton.
  • Sunday 17 July – Last minute, ie exceptional, changes to crews to be notified to the Bumps Secretary and to the Club Organisers list by email by 9.00 pm.
  • Monday 18 July – Any objections to be notified by email to the Bumps Secretary by 9.00 am.
  • Monday 18 July – Coxes meetings at Nines boathouse – in the bar/gym area - Refresher: 8.00 pm - 8.15pm Full briefing: 8.15 pm - 9.00pm
  • Coxes: please arrive 10 minutes before your session to sign in (use capitals and the name your club has registered you under).
  • Monday 18 July - Marshals meeting – 8.00 pm – The Annexe, St Andrew’s Church Hall, St Andrew’s Road, Chesterton.
  • Tuesday 19 July – Bumps first night.
  • Wednesday 27 July – Wash-up meeting at Nines boathouse – 7.30 pm.