Update 19:00 – 26th November 2022
River conditions continue to be rowable, with levels dropping slightly at Benson lock since 12noon today. We have successfully and safely moved boating rafts into position in Riverside meadow, and whilst space is more limited than normal, we are able to safely get crews afloat.
We will review conditions again first thing in the morning and are hopeful we will be able to hold the race tomorrow. Please do assess the conditions for yourself and complete your own risk assessments before boating; any crews withdrawing prior to boating will be given a full refund.
For those asking when the “cut off” for a decision will be, we will continue to try and hold the event whilst the river and conditions are safe to do so, however if this changes at any point before crews have boated, we may still have to cancel the event, there is therefore a risk that this may happen very late in the day. If you are not prepared to take that risk, please do not travel; if you travel and we have to cancel very late, please respect the decision, and be kind to all the volunteers on the day. We are all doing our best to hold a safe event.
Update: 11:45 – 26th November 2022
River conditions this morning continue to be rowable, and therefore we are still looking to go ahead. There are still risks to this, some within our control some not.
1) Boating Rafts – we will not be able to position the rafts as we normally do because of the river level – a team is looking to move the rafts, and re-configure this afternoon to enable people to safely boat; this may lead to a further reduction is crews being able to race if we cannot get the full rafts our, or a cancellation if we cannot get any out. We will not know this until about 18:00 today.
2) River Hazards – the main hazards on the stretch are the Town Bridge, the S Bends, The Gut and Island, and the Brunel Bridge. We may take a decision based on conditions to reduce the length of the course to remove these hazards from the race. This would involve a short course with the start just upstream of the S Bends, and the finish in the normal place just downstream of OUBC. Marshalling would then be along the river between the S Bends and the Island, removing the need to navigate the Gut and the Brunel Bridge.
3) EA Boards – If the EA place the stretch on red bords, we will have no choice but to cancel the event.
We will refund any withdrawals if you risk assess the capability of your crew right up to the point of boating. You are the only people who can properly risk assess the experience and capability of your crews.
We are still hopeful that we get a race tomorrow, but please understand there is a risk that we have to make a late decision. We are all desperate to put a race on, but if we cannot, for whatever reason, make it safe we will be left with no option but to cancel, and this may have to be done very late in the day. Right now, the river is rowable, so we cannot make the call to cancel.
19:30 – 25th November 2022
Following further review, river conditions are still considered safe to race. Whilst a number of crews have withdrawn, the numbers of crews racing is still too high for safely boat and get off the water in timely manner, due to the increased stream, and the proximity of the boating area to the bridge, which causes current disruptions. We are therefore making the following decisions.
1) All J15 crews will be withdrawn from the race, and full refunds given.
2) All J16 fours will be withdrawn from the race, and full refunds given.
3) All eights with a CRI of less than 10, and fours with a CRI of less than 5 will be withdrawn from the race, and full refunds given.
4) We would ask all clubs to urgently review entries, and risk assess individual crews based on experience and capability. If you feel the conditions will be too challenging, please withdraw (via scratching on BROE) ASAP, full refunds will be given.
A further assessment will be made at 9am tomorrow (26th November) morning.
Can we please remind all crews and coaches that we cannot risk assess your capability, this must be a decision taken by you. If you choose to boat crews that are not capable of coping with the conditions, you will increase the risk on all other competitors taking part. If any race official raises any concerns on the day about a crew’s competency, we will not hesitate in not allowing that crew to race.