Those of you currently fretting about where your boat should be on the Thames when rowing, racing, overtaking or passing other vessels, may take some comfort from the knowledge that your confusion is nothing new...

And indeed, neither are the TRRC's attempts to remedy the situation.

The following article appeared in the 1898 ARA almanac, and despite predating the PLA by a considerable period, it contains lots of good ColReg type stuff... though all gets a bit confusing when he starts going on about rudder strings!?!



Considerable doubt having always existed as to the proper course to be taken by rowing boats when meeting or passing one another, and there not being, as far as we are aware, any directions on the point extant in print, we availed ourselves of the opportunity of a recent issue of the ROWING ALMANACK to jot down a few plain instructions which, if universally followed, would be found to diminish the chances of collision and obviate the uncertainty on the subject now prevalent.

It should be clearly understood that while we would not presume to dictate to boating men of longer and greater experience than ourselves, we feel that to many persons who pass their leisure summer evenings on the water, without being what is technically known as rowing men, some explanation of the rules which should be followed may not be without advantage ; and although there be no written laws, yet the practice which by frequent usage has become the custom is none the less binding.

On those points on which reasonable doubts may exist we have followed the rule of the road at sea, which for obvious reasons is clearly and authoritatively defined, insufficient as it may perhaps prove in exceptional cases to avert danger and disaster.

It is perhaps necessary to explain to the non-nautical reader that "larboard" or "port" means lefthand, and "starboard" righthand ; and the effect of putting a vessel's helm to the left or "porting the helm" as it is called, is to make her turn to the right.

The invariable rule in the case of ships at sea meeting end-on is that they are to pass on the larboard or port side of each other, each vessel keeping to the right. This result is attained by putting the helm to port, by which the rudder is starboarded, and the vessel's head turned to the right. The rule in the case of one vessel overtaking another is that the former shall keep out of the way of the latter.

In row-boats it is assumed, for the purposes of this paper, that the yoke-lines are never crossed, or if so that they are double-crossed--(as round a pulley on the canvas of a racing craft),--and consequently, in order to comply with the invariable rule of "porting the helm," a row-boat steered with yoke-lines must pull the right or starboard line (looking towards the bow), but one steered with a tiller must "port its helm" or push it to the left hand. In both cases the course of the boat is the same, viz., to starboard or to the right, and the rule of the sea is thereby complied with.

It is the usual practice on the river for a pair-oar to give way to a four-oar, and for a four-oar to give way to and eight-oar--more, perhaps, as a matter of courtesy than from any strict right, for there is no rule compelling such action.

  1. A row-boat going against the stream or tide should take the shore or bank--which bank is immaterial--and should keep inside all boats meeting it.
  2. A row-boat going with stream or tide should take a course in mid-river, and should keep outside all boats meeting it.
  3. A row-boat overtaking another boat proceeding in the same direction, should keep clear of the boat it overtakes, which should maintain its course.
  4. A row-boat meeting another end-on in still or open waters or lake, should keep to the right, as in walking, leaving the boat passed on the port or left side.
  5. A row-boat with a coxswain should give way to a boat without a coxswain, subect to the foregoing rules in so far as they apply.
  6. A boat towing with stream or tide should give way to a boat towing against it, and if it becomes necessary to unship or drop a tow-line, the former should give way to the latter ; but when a barge towing is passed by a pleasure boat towing, the latter should give way and go outside, as a small boat is the easier of the two to manage, in addition to which the river is the barge's highway.
  7. A row-boat must give way to a sailing boat.
  8. When a row-boat and a steamer pass each other, their actions should, as a rule, be governed by the same principle as on two row-boats passing ; but in shallow waters the greater draught of the steam vessel should be remembered, and the row- boat give way to her.

The TRRC and PLA launched the Tideway code on Friday, yet within 24 hrs of the launch reception at Putney, there was a nasty incident at Hammersmith which could have ended up a lot worse that it did.

It seems some Tideway clubs are reading "right-hand side of fairway" as "right-hand side of river" and are coming so close to the Middlesex bank around Hammersmith that they could grab a pint from the Rutland on the way past.

On saturday morning, just as some of the Hammersmith locals were bemoaning old codger style, about another crew being in danger of going under the boats at Dove Pier, a Thames novice wimmin's boat who'd come through the bridge in the right place were forced to move to the right by a ferry travelling upstream on port. Shortly after this, a sculler returning to Furnivall, passed the ferry on the Middlesex side which resulted in the coxswain's moving further to starboard rather than attempt to move port, where the sculler was.

From this postition the eight then got pushed by the flood tide towards said boats.

Their apparently inexperienced cox then tried to row them out rather than backing and they went side on to the bows of two dutch barges and went under. Their coach then went to save them, got stuck in between and capsized himself.

Fortunately all were OK in the end.

'Dove' pier is a particularly severe hazard on the flood (rowers have died going under the boats there in the past) and is well identifiable by reference to the top chart on page 8 of the new Code not to mention the Regional chartlets


Rowers overenthusiatially keeping to starboard put their lives in danger.

Remember if you are on the flood you should be aiming for, and going under, the lamp post on the dead centre of the Bridge and no further to the right and only move out of the farway (as required) when past the Dove pier.

Conversely, on the ebb when the Surrey inside arch is navigable (most of the time except at low tide) you should be as close to the Surrey buttress as is practicable and at no time should you be further to the left (port) than the "second lamp post".

If the tide is low you should leave at least a 15 m wide gap for the inshore zone traffic as shown on the bottom diagram of Page 9 of the new Code and the fact that should you be further to the left (port) than the "second lamp post" is even more important to allow Class 5 and other vessels their correct starboard upriver lane.

Some of the hard core-nutters from York City took part in the Boston Marathon last month as a warm up for the Tour Du Lac Leman - which they competed in last weekend.

In the end it took 16hrs 23 minutes for their mixed crew to row the 160km round Lake Geneva in a "yolette" which is a touring coxed quad.

You might like to see the attached picture of their hands afterwards (really, they DID do the race) as proof that sometimes gloves really are worth wearing.

I should also point out that the small blood blister on the right hand of the person in the top LH corner was actually left over from Boston.

Compare and contrast with the 50km Boston Marathon blisters pic below.


It would appear that Thames boy Max Bourne, he who was recently featured having all sorts of stuff put on his head when drunk (see ROWER BUCKAROO below), has been accosted again, this time by the Boys in Blue.

The attached photos, though not of great quality, show Max, being 'forcefully' put into a London Lycra as part of their recruitment tactics...

The slug believes that one of the pics may have been cropped as it involved a certain big LRC coach who threatened the photographer that, should his face on these pics ever see the light of day, he would encounter a lot of pain...

A reader writes...
This is my nephew standing beside the Real Henley Grand Challenge cup.

The picture was taken in the early 1980ís when my dad was given the task of photographing all the Henley winners' Trophies -The crews used to be allowed to take the winning trophies away with them, but due to damage and their irreplaceable value, it was decided to give them a photograph each of the trophy.

My Dad had a caravan at Marlow so... after picking up all the trophies from the Stewards at Henley, decided it would be nicer to take them there, rather than his stuffy old (more secure?) office at the Press Association in Fleet Street

The Grand Challenge cup is sat on my Mums (wobbly) picnic table - the rest of the trophies were in boxes in the caravan

Hope the stewards donít see this or we will never get a crew in Henley again.


Boys and their toys #2 - just received yet another photo in a brown paper email, and this time the location is Henley where these chaps were obviously trying out alternative methods for cooling down as the temperatures soared.

Some readers will no doubt be disappointed that the one in the middle, who looks suspiciously like newly-installed CUBC president Mr Tom James, decided to hide his light behind a CUBC blazer, but personally, I think it's a good look for him.

Must say he does seem a tad nervous (can't say i blame him)...

There are blisters... and then there are Blisters...

Not for the squeamish (i.e. those who like having their skin attached) - the attached attempts at self-flaying come courtesy of the Boston Marathon.

Photographic proof that sometimes it's worth putting the pride aside and digging out the golf gloves...


Sometimes celebrity kiss and tell stories provide more details than one really wants to know, as the following extract from an article by Janet Street-Porter in today's Daily Mail illustrates nicely...
"Another time, I embarked on an affair with the son of a famous painter, a champion oarsman. There was nothing he liked more than having sex in his bedroom at his parentsí house in Regentís Park, with me wearing my new wolf fur coat, under all his trophies on the wall.

After he contracted hepatitis during a competition in Egypt, I sneaked into his room at the Tropical Diseases Hospital in Camden for afternoon sex, pretending to my office I was out on appointments.

When he recovered and coached the Oxford University rowing team to success in the Boat Race, I followed in a launch, cheering them on. These affairs were nothing more than flings, just fun diversions from the grind of work on a daily paper.

I'd suggest that had Ms Street-Porter been seriously trying to conceal the identity of her 'fling' perhaps a few less obvious clues might have been a good idea..


Read the article in full
I adored my husband - but I seemed incapable of being faithful

The e-mail equivalent of a brown paper envelope appeared in the old inbox earlier this week with the attached photo, apaprently taken at the UL beach party at the Worlds, enclosed.

The pic features one of the UK's rowing treasures beside Tim Foster and whilst it's well known that excess alcohol can lead to a 'rosey' complexion, it appears these effects can also impact other parts of the anatomy (that or he might be advised to seek medical help - Ed).

By all accounts he wasn't the only one who had the urge to wave his bits about that evening, as one member of a certain coxless four, who goes by the initials AP had to be physically restrained by the stroke man of a certain double scull (initials SR), after he released his 'inner cock', waved it around and attempted to pee on various people (including at least one athlete who was due to race the following day).

Rumour has it that the strokeman of the double also had to be physically restrained -- to stop him doing serious damage to 'the Urinator'.

And as for Mr Foster, he was heard the following day complaining that he had "sand in every orifice"

Never let it be said UL can't put on a damn good party.

The 2006 FISA World Coastal Rowing Challenge took place along with the British Championships, in Havlet bay in Guernsey on the 2nd and 3rd of September.

The challenge, which is due to become a World Championship event in 2007, was dominated by crews from the channel Islands, France and Ireland but included some who had come from as far away as Bermuda and Hong Kong.

There are a good selection of pics of the racing available on Intersport images (courtesy of Peter Spurrier)

Full results and more pics can also be found on the Guernsey RC website at: