Please acquaint yourself thoroughly with the Instructions to Competitors, the Safety and General Instructions and the associated maps. The safety of competitors is paramount and any competitor who capsizes or is clearly in difficulty must receive your full attention until they are out of danger.


There will be four safety launches, as shown on the map, to be called:-

  1. Safety Old River: roving patrol along the old river behind Desborough Island.
  2. Safety Start: just upstream of D’Oyly Carte Island where boats turn.
  3. Safety Walton Bridge: upstream of Walton Bridge to assist crews boating from and returning to Cowey Sale.
  4. Safety Finish: just upstream of the finish. Danger areas are Sunbury / Tumbling Bay Weirs.

Safety launches will be on station 45 mins before each division is due to start. SL2 will follow the last boat of each division down the course.

An ambulance service will be in attendance at Cowey Sale.

River closure

The Desborough Cut, the Surrey side of D’Oyly Carte Island and the Surrey half of the river between Desborough Island and the EA Depot below the finish are the only parts of the river that are closed to traffic. Please ensure all racing and returning crews obey the normal navigation rules at all times.

Radio Instructions

All Marshals, Race Monitors and Safety crews will use CHANNEL 16.

As we will be using a repeater to ensure good radio contact please note that you need to depress the talk button for one second before talking.

Please keep radio traffic brief at all times and observe the correct protocol by identifying the person you wish to contact first. In the event of an incident please give clear, precise details of casualty type, location and degree of urgency to Safety Crews.

Race Monitors:

The Chief Umpire will be based at Cowey Sale near Walton Bridge where Race Monitors should collect loud hailers and radios. All equipment needs to be signed for and returned after racing.

Briefing will be at 9.30 and 12:15 at Cowey Sale in the taped area in the upstream end of the car park.

Umpires 4, 5, 7 and 8 will act as Control Commission until racing starts.

Food will be available at Cowey Sale, Walton RC and Elmbridge CC.

Please report any proposed penalties to Chief Umpire by phone within 15mins of the end of each division.

There will be ten positions as indicated on the Maps:

Starter: Advise Chief Umpire when time team in place and ready.

RM1: Desborough Top Cut Bridge.

RM2: Desborough Cut half way between bridges

RM3: Desborough Bottom Cut Bridge Island.

RM4: Cowey Sale, two thirds upstream between Walton Bridge and Desborough Bottom Cut Bridge. Keep lookout for any river traffic emerging from old river. Act as Control Commission for any crews boating from Cowey Sale.

RM5A: Walton Bridge on the bank above the bridge. Act as Control Commission for any crews boating from Cowey Sale.

RM5B: Walton Bridge on the bank under the bridge.

RM6: on Surrey side at Walton Marina entrance (on blue bridge). Look out for traffic emerging from marinas on both sides.

RM7: Thames Valley Skiff Club, act as Control Commission at Walton RC until racing starts.

RM8: Miskin’s Wharf, act as Control Commission at Walton RC until racing starts.

Returning crews must observe normal navigation rules at all times.

Adverse weather

In the event that a thunderstorm seems imminent we will apply the 30/30 guidance rule, and the Race Committee will implement the Thunderstorm Plan. A general announcement will be issued by the Chief Umpire RACING SUSPENDED - RACING SUSPENDED - CLEAR THE COURSE - CLEAR THE COURSE.

Boating of all crews will be stopped immediately, racing will be suspended and any rowers on the water will be required to return quickly and safely to the nearest boating area irrespective of where they boated from originally. All Race Monitors, Marshals and Race Officials must assist with this process, and once the river is clear, leave the water themselves. Racing will only recommence when it is safe to do so. All Competitors and officials should seek shelter in boat houses or their cars.

Stopping the Race

In the event of a serious incident on the course making it unsafe to continue racing, any Race Monitor or Starter may stop the race by verbally instructing crews to "STOP RACING".

Race Monitors first responsibility is to the crews in their reach of the course; having ensured those crews have understood and reacted to the instruction to stop racing, they will then contact the Chief Umpire by radio (or phone) with a brief report that they have stopped the race, and why they have stopped it.

The Chief Umpire will relay the message to all other Race Monitors and the Starter, who will all then immediately stop the race in their reaches using the command "STOP RACING". The Chief Umpire will use the following message: "ALL STATIONS, ALL STATIONS. RACE CONTROL. STOP THE RACE. I REPEAT. STOP THE RACE. ALL STATIONS ACKNOWLEDGE. OVER". Acknowledgements should begin with the Starter and work down the course.

Unless circumstances dictate otherwise, crews will be instructed to return to their boating areas, following normal navigation rules.

Marker Buoys

Competitors must pass to the Surrey side of all YELLOW buoys. Umpires to consider sanctions that may include both time penalties applied for blades over the buoy-line and disqualification for boats if the hull of the boat leaves the course or the navigation channel and crosses 3 buoys of the buoy-line, particularly if they create a safety hazard or gain any advantage. RED buoys in the marshalling area and along the course indicate if there is a hazard ahead.


All marshals afloat must wear lifejackets at all times. The Chief Marshal will be in charge of all marshalling. Briefing sessions for marshals will take place at Elmbridge Canoe Club, Cowey Sale and Walton RC depending on where along the course you are stationed.

On race day, equipment will be available for collection from Elmbridge Canoe Club, Cowey Sale and Walton RC, Marshals must ensure equipment is handed to the person taking the role in the next division.

All start area Marshals must be in position 45 minutes before the start of each division.

As a Marshal you must be prepared to give clear and precise orders to specific competitors. You must be vigilant at all times for any incidents and deal with them as a priority as the situation demands.

Marshal 1: On the Surrey bank opposite the upstream end of D’Oyly Carte Island. Instruct all crews to keep moving around the island and proceed downstream towards the start at approximately 10 second intervals.
Equipment: Throw line, loud hailer, radio, Hi-Viz.

Marshal 2: Static bank near Nauticalia at the upstream end of D’Oyly Carte Island. Instruct crews to turn well above the turning buoy into the channel on the Surrey side, and move downstream towards the start.
Equipment: Buoyancy aid, throw line, loud hailer, radio.

Marshal 3: In a launch at the turning buoy at the upstream end of D’Oyly Carte Island. Instruct crews coming from their marshalling positions along the old river to turn and proceed around the Island to M1.
Equipment: Buoyancy aid, throw line, loud hailer, radio

Marshal 4 [2 people]: Spaced along the bank along Sailing Club side and Desborough Island side between the sailing club and start. Ensure crews marshal in race number order, on the Middlesex side around the back of Desborough Island, lowest numbers towards the start.
Equipment: Throw line, loud hailer, radio, Hi-Viz.

Marshal 5 [2 people]: On a launch along the Old River stretch from the White House to D’Oyly Carte Island, advising crews to get into racing order, allow lower numbers to come forward and holding higher numbers.
Equipment: Buoyancy aid, throw line, loud hailer, radio.

Marshal 6: Afloat around Old River on the stretch downstream of the Red Lion pub to where the Old River joins the Desborough Channel.
Equipment: Buoyancy aid, throw line, loud hailer, radio

Marshal 7: Bottom point of Desborough Island, warning crews and other river traffic that Desborough Cut is closed to all upstream traffic and ensure they proceed via the Old River.
Equipment: Throw line, loud hailer, radio, Hi-Viz.

Marshals 8, 9 [4 people]: At Cowey Sale ensuring crews boating from Cowey Sale are on time and aware of their initial marshalling positions. CREWS MUST BOAT FROM COWEY SALE AT LEAST 20 MINS BEFORE THE START OF EACH DIVISION. No boating allowed once racing has started. Assist returning crews who arrive on the Middlesex side and need to cross over to the Surrey bank.
Equipment: Loud hailer, radio, Hi-Viz.

Marshal 10: Afloat in workboat below Walton Bridge, ensuring racing crews either proceeding towards the start, returning after racing, and other craft do not stray onto the course.
Equipment: Buoyancy aid, throw line, loud hailer, radio

Marshal 11: On Tumbling Bay weir warning crews who steer too close to the weir to move towards the Surrey side. Ensure crews returning upstream after racing keep away from the course.
Equipment: Buoyancy aid, Throw line, loud hailer, radio, Hi-Viz.

Marshal 12: On the Surrey bank, just after the finish line advising crews they have finished racing but must continue moving downstream until safe to stop. Ensure crews returning upstream after racing stay clear of crews finishing the race. Assist crews landing at Walton after racing.
Equipment: Throw line, loud hailer, radio, Hi-Viz.

Marshall 13: Afloat around Walton RC stopping crews that have finished racing from proceeding too far downstream and make sure they turn well before the weir. Ensure they crews returning upstream go back up on the Middlesex side.
Equipment: Buoyancy aid, throw line, loud hailer, radio

Notes to Marshals: Your prime duty is the safety of the crews; assist in avoidance of collisions and bunching that may give rise to capsize. Safety boat can be called on CHANNEL 16. Crews should be sorted into order by marshals as they arrive for the race, numbers will be provided in each zone as reference points. ALL CREWS SHOULD MARSHAL WITH THEIR BOWS POINTING INTO THE STREAM.

A clear lane MUST be kept between the competitors and the course for other river traffic. Adequate warning should be given for the removal of tracksuits.

If marshals have any queries before the day of the event, they should contact the Chief Marshal.

Starter: The Starter will be based opposite the downstream end of D’Oyly Carte Island, some 50m before the start timing line.

Race Control

Race Control will be based at Cowey Sale.


Results will be available after each division. A presentation will take place at Elmbridge Canoe Club at approximately 3:00pm.


The watches will be started at 9.00am at Cowey Sale. Both Start and Finish Timekeepers must be in position 15 minutes before the start time of each Division. You will be sent an instruction sheet to remind you of the timing procedure.


Your job is to collect the timing sheets and tape cassettes at the end of each Division from the finish timing team, who will be on the riverbank about 100m above Walton Rowing Club at Miskin’s Wharf and take them to the Results Coordinator at Elmbridge Canoe Club.


Refreshments for officials will be provided at Cowey Sale and Elmbridge Canoe Club.

Thank you very much for volunteering to help make the Weybridge Winter Head a successful event.

Ashley Tilling
Chief Umpire / Race Control
07941 595538
Dale Gowland
Chief Marshall
07747 837600

Last modified: 19th January 2018