Lent Bumps - Update

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Mark Jacobs

Feb 19, 2024, 3:03:20 PMFeb 19
to CUCBC Captains, CUCBC Coxes, CUCBC Committee, CUCBC Senior Committee
Dear All,

With the river once again in flood there are doubtless many among you who are wondering how next week is going to work. While we are largely at the mercy of the weather, setting out our thoughts and answering some of the questions that I'm sure are on your minds will hopefully give some clarity and transparency to the situation.

12-outing requirement
The 12-outing requirement is designed to give a minimum standard of safety and competence for all crews competing in Bumps. While conditions this term have been extremely challenging, both in terms of flags and traffic density, we cannot relax this minimum standard. The requirement is therefore still that all crews must have completed 12 outings before their first Bumps race, with outings after 9am on a weekday counting for 1.5. The GoR, as ever, counts towards this total. I'm willing to be flexible if a crew is dependent on outings after the declaration deadline, so long as it's clearly identified and explicitly agreed with me in advance. There must be a credible plan to achieve the required 12 outings, and if flag status or anything else prevents it from happening the affected crew will be expected to withdraw.

Getting on Race
As things stand, we intend to run the GoR as advertised. This year we have spaced out entrants into smaller divisions than usual, to give extra space in the marshalling zone. If the flag is yellow we may still run the race, depending on the particular conditions we are presented with. Updates will be circulated by email as we get closer to the race. We know that the stream on the river of late is significantly stronger than most of the crews entered will have previously encountered, and this will be factored into our decision to race or cancel. Should we decide that conditions are acceptable for racing, and a crew decides to pull out because they are not comfortable in yellow flag conditions on the day, they will be given a full refund irrespective of how little notice is given to us (if any). As always, cox, coach and rowers must all be happy that they can boat, row and return home safely, and we do not wish to apply pressure to crews, or coaches, who are not comfortable.
As usual, any crew who has already entered but who has scratched due to lack of outings may race for Time Only. The same provision for refund applies to these crews should the river be yellow flagged.

Start Order
Once the GoR has been completed we will populate the start order in the usual way. At present we are hoping to run 7 divisions, however we will use our observations of the GoR to decide whether this is still appropriate or whether we will run fewer divisions. This year the combination of yellow and red flags coupled with congestion on the green flag mornings has been especially challenging, and we have listened to concerns from a range of sources that crews have not been able to develop their skills to the usual standard. Without wishing to pre-judge the outcome, we feel that the GoR is (subject to weather conditions) a safe and controlled environment (with marshals to help crews spin / pull in, one-way traffic, crews not in close proximity during racing) to see for ourselves how crews look.

At present we hope to run a full set of races on every day. However, as we saw last year, it may be that conditions on the day do not allow this. We will communicate our decisions with as much advance warning as possible, though conditions can change quickly and cancellation at short notice may be unavoidable.
We want to give as many crews as possible the opportunity to race Bumps, but we will not run more divisions that we feel we safely can. I would far rather regret cancelling a race, wondering if it might have been OK, than regret running a division that ends badly. For crews that do race, please listen to umpires on the day. There may be advice / instructions which relate to conditions, two obvious examples being that crews on stations 17/18 should spin at 16 and walk their boat back along the bank rather than spin close to the weir, and that crews who bump out are very strongly encouraged to clear to the towpath side if at all possible so that bankparties can help you clear the racing line and stay clear of it.

The condition of the towpath near the start is currently poor, due to ongoing tree works. At the moment we're not sure what state it will be in for racing, though we understand that the contractors will hand it back in a safe state. Please be aware that we may decide to limit the number of bankparties to 2 or 3 depending on conditions as we find them during the GoR.

There's a lot to take in, and a lot that we can't decide until closer to the scheduled start of racing. In the meantime though, please let me know if you wish to discuss any of the above further.


Mark Jacobs
CUCBC Safety Advisor

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