Head of the River

Please note this Saturday see the Reading University Head of the River race, there will be river closure in place between 10:00 to 12:00 and 14:30 to 16:30. The rowing club have also booked the club room.

Thameside 1 Photo’s

Some excellent photos from Thameside 1. If you have taken photo and want to share, please email us a link to your album.

flickr: Tony acs | Chris Worrall

Regional Marathon Advisers co-ordinator – Mick Nadal

As the first races approach for 2015, just a reminder of a few rule changes, most of which are highlighted on the marathon website. http://canoeracing.org.uk/marathon/

The most noticeable perhaps are:

1) After considerable representation made by race organisers and officials over illegibility of numbers, particularly on finishes, the MRC have made a rule change for this year, to insist on using insulating tape for numbers on our existing boards. A quick look at a few of the photos available in various places online illustrates why. I thought my number boards were fairly clear as I take care over making them, but compared with even rather untidy tape numbers they are quite faint and on sunny days much less legible. We were one of the clubs where results were delayed and we thought a paddler was missing last year, because of a badly made number in pen on a grubby board misread at the finish. (I personally examined the board as it was one of our own paddlers.) Once tape numbers are made, they can easily be remade over and over again using the same tape.

Next year there will be a change made to opaque white boards that are slightly larger to accommodate 4 digits, but meanwhile you can continue using your old ones (properly cleaned I hope.) During this year the new boards will be available and can be used. I’ve already started slicing up my stock of 60 yellow boards as plant labels (you get about 22 per board.)

2) Promotion of more than one division will mean no points towards Hasler scores at either regional races or Finals. The need for this has become clearer as some clubs are still not ranking their paddlers accurately, either by choice or lack of experience. I would like to hope that it’s the latter. It was illustrated on this year’s Frank Luzmore where some paddlers rankings were clearly shown well below their real ability including national squad paddlers (who may not often enter regional races.) For clubs that have difficulty in ranking their paddlers, there is a copy of the system that the National Ranking Officer uses on the website. For those who find the calculations tedious, it uses the HC values from page D1 of the handbook. This is very similar to the spreadsheet I use and probably slightly more obvious on how to use it.

These are the 2 rules that spring to mind most obviously. I’ve asked Wiki to include some additions to the help notes on the HRM for other rules that have been around a long time, but some people had not seen. (Most obvious is the one where races involving Div 9 Singles or Div 9_9 Doubles need combining, should always be combined downwards to Div 9 so that Div 9 paddlers get full points, not into Div 7 or 8.) The new HRM should be available soon. As usual I’ve helped with testing to iron out possible problems, so if organisers need any support, just ask (I may be able to help.)

Also need to mention the BCU courses for event safety which all organisers will hopefully have attended before their race.

Thameside 2 – Race Report

A lot of flow, a lot of wind and a lot of paddlers including K1 assessment paddlers. Biggest turnout yet for the race which is brilliant.

Finish Places and timings – the finish places for each class are here. Finish timings for all paddlers that completed the course are here.

Thanks to everyone for their support on and off the water to make the event happen. The conditions and amount of paddlers of a wide range of abilities and speeds do make the smooth running of the race a challenge. RCC is open to, and appreciate, everyone’s feedback to continually enhance its races and build on the current buzz around marathon racing. We do ask though that everyone plays their part by helping organisers help paddlers to make a race smooth, safe, fair and enjoyable for all and follow briefings before and on race day.

Below is a summary of take home messages we all should reflect on please:

Self Assessment/course assessment
Thank you to everyone for following this procedure. The assessment allows the race to be enjoyed safely by paddlers, support crews and the organisers in high conditions like today.

Check in
To speed things up, please help the check in team by telling them your class (S/M/J/V, male/female, K1/2, C1/2 etc), and most usefully tell them your name – they aren’t psychic! Please also show them your BCU card.

Go to it and ask questions then if you are unsure, note the start times and specific instructions

Pre start
This is in place to organise paddlers (especially when so many) and keep them together so that when everyone is called to the start there is as close a straight line as possible. The pre start MUST NOT be pushed. As today showed this results in a false start being called which is not fun for anyone and causes tension. The fast senior K1 start, pushed rapidly past the pre start, and start, for a second time without instructions from the pre start/starters. This behaviour is not acceptable at any race at any level, particular by paddlers of such a high standard. These paddlers were DSQ as a result. RCC accepts that the horn was not blown for a second false start but were in despair as the paddlers were out of their control at this point. RCC will work with the MRC to ensure that an official MRC starting team takes responsibility for all ‘assessment’ race starts in future.

All locks
Paddlers and supporters must respect other river and towpath users and marshals’ instructions. No negative feedback to date which is great, thank you.

Caversham lock
RCC will make sure there is a marshal at the top of the lock cut to encourage paddlers to follow the river signs.

Please make sure you inform race control. We need to know you are safe and need to resolve any queries before the results can be published.

Prize giving
Unfortunately this was very much delayed because of queries on the results. Thank you to those who persevered for prize giving.

Thameside 2 Update – Final Course Inspection

Final course inspection took place today.  We have scored the course for Sunday as 10.

Please complete the self-assessment form.  To be able to race your personal score must be greater than or equal to 10.

The following special measures will be in place for ALL paddlers:

– Compulsory buoyancy aids
– Compulsory sufficient boat buoyancy
– Compulsory spray decks for kayaks
– Sufficient kit

Remember also to bring your BCU card!


08:30 Check-In opens
09:30 Briefing both starts
10:00 Slow K2 Start
10:10 Slow K1 Start
10:40 Fast K2 Start
10:50 Fast K1 Start

12:30 finish window opens.  Paddlers arriving before 12:30 will not get a finish time

Note: the high flow and strong winds expected will make times faster

Thameside 2 – Update

As it stands, the Thames will be on red boards for this Sunday’s event. This requires additional safety measures to be introduced.

At a minimum the following rules will be enforced FOR ALL paddlers, this could be increased further if required.

– Compulsory buoyancy aids
– Compulsory sufficient boat buoyancy
– Compulsory spray decks for kayaks
– Sufficient kit
– Self assessment (PDF Form)

The Self Assessment form gauges your likely ability to complete the race in the conditions forecasted.

Final Course inspection is taking place on Friday, at which point the course score will also be published. Using the course score and your self assessment score should give you a good guide on whether you are able to take part.

Please keep checking the website for updates.

Thameside 2 – Update

Due to the current river conditions and the forecast of more rain, it is highly like that some degree of special measures will be in place on Sunday for Thameside 2. The situation will be monitored over the coming days and updates will be posted on the website.

These extra measures will depend on the expected river conditions on race day.

Please keep an eye on the website between now and race day.

In the mean time: Race details, online Entry, full list.

Photo’s from Thameside 1

Waterside B

Waterside organisation has posted final results for the first race of the series. Everything looks set for tomorrow, hopefully there will be no ice.

Late note from the race organiser, repeated below.

1) If you were faster then 2 hours 20 at A. please start After 11:00
2) Starts will be slowed to 2 every 30 seconds and no more.
3) Access to the water will be strictly controlled
. . . Thus reducing the waiting to start.