Race Marshals - 2016
If you are new to marshalling or the Bumps, please come to a marshals meeting. These will be held on Friday 15th and Monday 18th July at 8.00 pm in The Annexe St Andrew's Church Hall, St Andrew's Road Chesterton.
Please remember that marshals must act impartially as they are and must be independent of their Club affiliation.
It would be helpful if you have read these notes; the notes for Coxes and the Bumps Safety Information together with the Rules advising where the Finishes for each Division are. All this information is available on the CRA's website. Nothing can beat experience and these are only notes so if you have any queries, ask fellow Club members who have taken part in the Bumps in the past and who will know how the event works.
The Senior Umpire is in overall charge of all race marshals. Report any incidents etc, either at the end of the race or more urgently – via a position marshal's radio - if circumstances dictate. When making a report, please print clearly and include your name and mobile phone contact number in the event of any query.
Please print off a starting order from the CRA's website to bring with you together with a writing implement. A pencil may be best if it is wet. Please check-in at the control point by Peters Posts on your way down to your position and collect a reflective jacket. (Please remember to return it later.) Then report to the Senior Umpire at the town side of the A14 bridge; where the 'Gun Sheds' used to be. He will check the allocation to your crew(s) and remind you, for each Division, where the finish will be.
Your job is to see the fair running of the races and to be prepared to assist generally should the need arise. Each crew has its own bank party and the cox is in command of each crew. Your job is, largely, one of observation so please keep a mental note of Bumps you see together with whatever may happen in consequence, in what order and where on the river it occurs.
Please introduce yourself to the crews you will be allocated to follow. Please ensure that all involved are aware that, in the event of a dispute, they need to alert you to the fact their bank party intends to register a dispute with the Control Point at the end of the Races. You do not have to get involved any further than this. You do need to mention it to the control point yourself and it is also helpful if you can jot down, on a report form, the points you mentally noted. A "verdict" is useful if you feel the circumstances are clear. They may not be as clear from the perception of the crew, who are facing the wrong way and generally rather "fired up"!, while the cox will have his or her view impeded by the crew. While individual crews are responsible for recording their Bumps, it acts as a check if the marshal mentions it at the control point too.
At the start, if a crew is not on station, warn the crew immediately behind that they will be awarded a technical bump when they row past its station, unless the crew behind them catches them first. They must therefore be ready to stop and pull in quickly. Warn the next crew that the crew ahead of them will be stopping within the first few strokes unless they bump them first.
If a cox drops the bung then watch to see if you feel this gives that crew an unfair advantage and they make a bump. Report this to one of the senior marshals to adjudicate. On the first night, coxes will be nervous and if the bung is dropped but it makes no difference just mention it to the cox, who will probably be mortified anyway.
Cycle where boats are close and, ideally, by the bow ball of the boat making the bump. If the cox puts their hand up to acknowledge, then that is a bump, whether you saw it or not.
Before the post on the towpath opposite the Plough, a technical Bump can be made. This is where the bow of the following boat, making an allowance for the effect of the corner to the advantage of the leading boat, is level with the cox's seat in the leading boat. The cox should acknowledge but you will have a better view and may need to tell the cox to acknowledge. These decisions can be difficult but if two crews are travelling fast with one overlapping another and making ground, then soon a safety issue can develop so, when it is clear a Bump is inevitable, tell the cox to acknowledge.
After the post on the towpath opposite the Plough, there needs to be contact and not just overlap but, again, if the cox acknowledges then that is that. Safety remains paramount and, if a cox persists in ignoring your instruction to acknowledge, then you need to tell the bank party as well as the cox, subsequently mentioning it to the Senior Umpire. Crews will be fined for failing to acknowledge in a timely fashion.
In addition to observing, you need to help keep the river clear. The Rules require that the crew making the Bump stop rowing while the crew being bumped carry on rowing. In practice, the latter can "collapse" while the former remain "fired up!"
After a Bump is made, the river needs to be cleared as quickly as possible. If a bump is made in the Gut, if possible get the crews to keep going to Grassy Corner and then pull in on the towpath side. This would require crews to keep going to Grassy Corner and to be quick. If this is not possible, then get crews to pull in to the towpath side in the Gut. (The bank on the Fen Ditton side has many trees and it is difficult for crews to pull either their boats or their blades in far enough to leave the river clear for following crews.) Crews need to be directed to the outside of bends and all crews need reminding to pull their blades in clear of both following crews and the towpath.
You may need to warn spectators to move out of the way if you see a crew heading towards the bank at speed. They may not realise that the blades can take their legs from underneath them.
When crews that have bumped out are safely "parked", assist the following crews to steer through to carry on racing. If three or four boats are close together then you may need to decide which crew bumped first, which will need a speedy decision, before helping crews who are not involved to make their way through to continue their race. If a crew makes a wrong judgement with the course that it takes and is bumped, then that is one of those things and they are bumped, however unfair it might seem.
If the river is blocked and it would be dangerous for crews to try to follow through, then do what you can to stop the race. You should be within shouting distance of a position marshal who will take control. The static marshals at First Post and Grassy will have loud hailers and radios. The marshal at First Post will have a red flag to warn following crews. Remember bank parties should also be assisting you with this. Once the race is stopped, help crews on their way again when it is safe to do so and encourage a speedy return home to ensure the next Division can come down to the start on time. In general terms, we do not have time for any re-rows and, however disappointing, it is a question of coming down and trying again the following night.
Please be aware that the position marshals have radio contact with all the other officials, including the First Aiders who will be positioned, predominantly, at Grassy Corner. In the event of a medical emergency, contact should be made with the First Aiders as quickly as possible. They will take charge. Ensure that the Senior Umpire and the Bumps Secretary are alerted by radio.
In the event of any objections, remember your job is not to get involved but to report back to Senior Marshal and the Control Point with your report on what you saw. Bad language should also be reported as fines will be incurred by the offending crew(s). If you see a cox without a life jacket or a boat without a bow ball, that crew must be warned not to row until both shortfalls have been rectified.
If no Bumps are made and there are no disputes, then you can return to the 'Gun Sheds' for the next division, if you are continuing on duty. Please do your best to ensure you handover to another member of your Club as your replacement if you have to leave, including the reflective jacket. Please only marshal the race(s) you have been allocated to. If you wish to watch a raced other than as a marshal, please do so as part of your Club's bank party, bearing in mind the limit on the number of bikes allowed.
On the subject of bikes, if you see any Club with an excess of four in their bank party, please warn the cox and report this to control. If you see a bike pulling a baby carrier following a crew, please report this to control as it is dangerous and risks a serious accident. Ask control to radio a warning to all position marshals.
At the end of each day, the Bumps Committee will meet at the Control Point to finalise the results and the website is updated straight away. On the Friday night, this is usually done quickly so that everyone can get round to the CRA/Nines/City boathouses where the presentation of the Head Plate, Trophy and individual pots is made at 9.30 pm.