I agree with most of what Chris says. A couple of additional points
relating specifically to HOR4s. The large numbers cause a number of
pressures but one of the greatest is the pressure on boating. Getting such
a large number of boats on the water and on the right side of the river
before the race starts is a considerable logistical exercise which falls on
the home clubs. This is one area that we will be reviewing and we will need
to be satisfied we are not operating outside the safe envelope if we are
continue with the same numbers.
Even if the PLA was not sitting on our backs we would still need to be
fairly 'hairy' about crews getting to their start position on time. This is
not a warm time of year. It takes over an hour and a half to get crews
across the start line. Due to the numbers, crews are boating an hour and a
half, (sometimes more,) before the start. It is essential to reduce the
risk of hypothermia by ensuring the race runs as much to timetable as
possible. It is in any case simply not fair on the latter crews to keep
them waiting any longer than necessary. After all the first crews off will
probably have had a hot shower and be drinking in the bar before the last
>> I understand part of the agreement with the PLA over the current 550
>> entry count is that there is no waiting list - 550 covers the expected
>> number of drop-outs.
> Indeed so. Also, under ARA rules, once the draw is published, the event
> cannot accept any new entries. Some events (the Scullers Head included
> and, by the looks of it, the Fours Head too) make an effort to push this
> rule by allowing unentered crews to race in the place of a withdrawn crew
> for time-only.
> The PLA restricts the river closure to 3 hours (and will not extend this,
> even on a quiet Saturday in November) This includes an amount of time to
> sweep the extent of the closed river prior to the advertised race start
> time. Based on the previous years' experiences (and they do keep records)
> all races will have an agreed limit of competitors. They do allow races to
> number higher than this given that we can expect to receive a number of
> (I remember that the Fours Head in 2004 had a very high appearance rate, I
> presume that the PLA were not unhappy with the time that race took given
> that the number in the draw was the same this year.)
> If a race successfully started all their crews well within the allowed
> closure every year for a few years in a row they might be able to lobby
> the PLA to raise the bar - but it's a tight calculation.
> The PLA ask for an hour to sweep the river, leaving 2 hours of the closure
> for the race itself. Allowing, say, 25 minutes for the last crew to
> complete the course gives 95 minutes to clear the start line. Assuming all
> of the permitted 500 crews appear that's 5.25 per minute, or one crew
> every 11.4 seconds. For 95 minutes. And a stressed starter.
> The PLA are loath to increase the allowance as any hold-up (a handful of
> prevaricating crews, any large gap between divisions, whatever) requires
> this average to increase. This is the major reason that the marshalling
> instructions make such a big hairy deal about getting to your start
> positions in plenty of time as they generally can't afford 10 minutes late
> starting without incurring the wrath of the PLA.