Entries, Race Instructions and Rules


Emma Sprints is intended to be a fun introduction to racing, which we try to run as smoothly as possible. Sometimes it may not be possible to run the event with the precision of other regattas due to the relative experience of the participants. The marshals will try to be as fair as is possible, but to avoid chaos may need to make a marginal decision which could go either way. This is unavoidable, so please try not to get worked up about minor things and be fair to other competitors.

Sprints is a race where getting involved in the spirit of the competition is far more important than the end result, and will certainly be more memorable in years to come. Costumes are expected, bribes are encouraged (I have a sweet spot for brownies and cupcakes), and we all hope to make it to end in one piece!

Race Entries Are Now Open

Race entry is £50* per VIII and includes at least two races and free mince pies for every racing crew. The entry form for novice VIIIs** will be available on the Emma Sprints website. This will need to be completed by the deadline of 20:00 12th November, along with either a BACS transfer or a cheque for the race fee (details on entry form) by the 14th of November, entries without payment will not be counted. There is a limit of 80 boats that can race and spaces will be primarily allocated on a first come first serve basis, though if spaces are tight a limit may also be applied on the number of entries from each College (at the discretion of the race organisers).

All boats should nominally apply to race in one of the five divisions (NM1, NM2, NW1, NW2, NM/NW3), though these may be changed in the draw to balance numbers. Entries from mixed gender crews are permitted, and will be allocated to a division depending on numbers.
*Price subject to change, will be set by 16th October.
**For the purposes of Emma Sprints, a Novice VIII is defined as one in which no person has rowed or coxed as appropriate before the 1st of September of the current year, any decisions about eligibility will be left to the Vice Captain’s discretion.

Entries from Senior Crews

Although the race is primarily intended for novice VIIIs entries from other boats will be considered on an individual basis, though an amusing handicap may be imposed. Contact the organisers if you are interested in entering a senior boat (of any type) and we can discuss the details of the entry.

Entry Form

The entry form for 2017 will be available here. The deadline is the 12th November.

Scratching Crews/Over Subscription Refunds

Crews scratching before the entry deadline will receive a full refund as soon as possible, crews scratching after the entry deadline but more than 60hrs before the start of the first division will receive a 50% refund, there will be no refunds for crews scratching less that 60hrs before the event.

Sprints is generally over-subscribed, as such we will prioritise first crews getting a place in the draw. Remaining crews will be given places in order of entry, as recorded by the form submission times (the Vice-Captain reserves the right to prioritise 2nd and 3rd boats over remaining crews). In the event of crews scratching after the draw is published, places will be offered to those who missed out in the same order, the first 5 reserve crews will be informed as such when the draw is released and are advised to remain available for racing. Any crew which does not get to race will be given a full refund after the event.

The Draw

The draw will be made as soon after the application deadline as possible. This will be displayed on the website and will contain information such as the race schedule, and marshalling times and locations. This will be finalised as soon as possible, but is subject to change at any point up to 24hrs before the race, so keep checking to ensure you have the latest information. The Divisions will race at the following times, with marshalling times in brackets:

  • 09:25am (09:10am) – NM3/NW3
  • 10:50am (10:35am) – NW2
  • 12:15pm (12:00pm) – NM2
  • 1:40pm (1:20pm) – NW1
  • 3:05pm (2:40pm) – NM1

Please be at your marshalling point just upstream of the railway bridge at the published marshalling time of your division, we will be turning crews away if they are not in their marshalling station at the correct time, this is because we are going to be finishing very close to lighting up so we cannot afford to run late.

Race Status

Due to previous events having difficulty with weather conditions a race status will now be allocated. This will be one of the following:

  • Green: Boat as normal. Race going ahead as planned
  • Yellow: Boat as normal. Race going ahead under simplified rules (see below). Be prepared for imminent cancellation.
  • Red: DO NOT BOAT. Race is cancelled for safety in poor conditions. Crews who have not yet raced will have their entry fee refunded.

This status will be posted on the website. It is the competing crew’s responsibility to check the status before they boat.

Costumes and Kit

All crews are encouraged to compete in a themed costume, although this is not compulsory. A prize will be awarded to the crew with the best costume. Be imaginative, but make sure you bring enough kit as it can sometimes get very cold between races.

MarshallingSprints Marshalling Map

Marshalling stations for each race are specified on the draw next to the crew, but stay alert to changes and follow any instruction from marshals on the bank.

Initial marshalling will take place at the time specified on the website between the P&E and the railway bridge (Marshalling Zone 1, stations 1-16). All crews must have a bank party to assist with marshalling. Crews late to marshal may be turned away.

Following the first race crews will spin and marshal between Ditton and Grassy corners (Marshalling Zone 2, stations A-P) under instruction from bank marshals, winning crews are to go ahead and spin at Grassy corner whilst losing crews are to spin at the plough. All crews will race back, those who have won both races will spin and marshal at zone 1 to repeat the process, those who have lost will return back to their boathouse.

Race Rules

Green Flag

  • Racing crews will be given a side (towpath or meadow) and lined up on the starting line (either the railway bridge or the 500m post on the Reach depending on direction).
  • Crews will be started (from a standing start) as soon as possible and will race to the respective finishing line.
  • Crews are required to remain on their half of the river.
  • The first to cross the line wins.
  • Any crews acting in a way which is deemed unsafe will be disqualified and may be asked to stop.

Yellow Flag

  • Competing crews will be started at a time interval to complete a rolling start to be at race speed by the relevant start point.
  • The time between the two racing crews will be taken at the start and finishing line. If the gap has increased the lead crew will be declared the winner, if the gap has shortened the chasing crew will be declared the winner.
  • Crews are not required to remain on any side, but must give way to overtaking crews.
  • Overtaking crews should choose a side with more space to pass on and this pass should not be impeded.
  • Any crews acting in a way which is deemed unsafe will be disqualified and may be asked to stop.


  • Provisional results will be published on the event website as they happen.
  • In the event of a marginal result the crew with the best costume, or that has given the biggest bribe, will be likely to be declared the winner.

Race Numbers

One member of each club must pick up race numbers and mince pies from Emmanuel Boat House between 7.00 and 8.30am on the day of the race.


Crews in the NM1 division must have lights on their boats for the row back home, crews without lights will not be allowed to race in the semi-finals.


  • All entrants: All crews will receive mince pies (to be collected with the race numbers)
  • Division winners: Division winning crews (+coxes) will be awarded free tickets to Emma Cocktails, the event held in the evening of the race at Emmanuel (details on website). If crews have already purchased tickets to the cocktails event we will offer these tickets as extra!
  • Best Costume: The crew winning this prize will each be awarded a pineapple, to be delivered to the winning boathouse at some point in the week following the event.

Rowing Through

The river will nominally be closed for the event, but if any senior boats would like to row though between divisions to go over the lock please use the form here . We will try to accommodate all requests, but may impose first come first served limits if demand is high.

Emma Cocktails

Emma Cocktails is an event held at Emmanuel in the evening of the Sprints. This will be a fun event with themed cocktails, live jazz, and in all likeliness a mountain of uneaten doughnuts. More information and tickets are available here.

Event Photos

Photos will be taken of each crew during the regatta and added to our Facebook page in the following week.


Any questions or queries please email Callum Mantell on EBCVice@gmail.com.