Fairbairn Cup

Rules submitted by the Jesus College Boat Club


  1. That the race shall remain under the control of the Jesus College Boat Club.
  2. That the races shall be rowed on the ninth (9th) Thursday and the ninth (9th) Friday of the Michaelmas term. The Novice VIIIs shall row on Thursday, and the Senior College Invitational VIIIs and IVs on Friday.

Entries and Eligibility Criteria

  1. General:
    1. That the races shall be open to Men's and Women's VIIIs; and Men's and Women's coxed IVs.
    2. That Women's and Men's races are considered discrete in all Divisions, where no oarswoman may row in a Men's crew and no oarsman may row in a Women's crew. Coxswains may be male or female.
    3. That crews may row in any design of boat they choose, subject to the Rules of Racing outlined by the Amateur Rowing Association. There will not be separate categories for shell and clinker-built boats.
    4. It is recommended that each crew member should have completed a minimum of eight (8) practice outings, and the coxswain must have steered the appropriate course in its entirety, prior to race day.
    5. That the coxswain or an appropriate representative of every novice crew wishing to race must have attended the Clare Novices Regatta meeting, where the Fairbairns Secretary shall offer information and advice about the Races.
  2. College Divisions:
    1. That only resident bona fide student members of the Universities of Cambridge or Oxford, who are also members of either the Cambridge University Combined Boat Clubs or Oxford University Rowing Clubs respectively, be eligible to row or steer in the 'College Divisions' of the Fairbairn Cup Races. For the purposes of the regulation a bona fide student is defined as one who is in statu pupillari and is therefore:
      1. a matriculated member of a College; and
      2. currently reading for a recognised degree of the University; and fulfilling the University residence requirements in both time and place.
    2. That bona fide degree students at Anglia Ruskin University (rowing as Anglia Ruskin Boat Club, formerly CCAT) be deemed equivalent to Members of a College.
    3. That for purposes of the Fairbairn Cup Races, the Clinical Medical and Veterinary Schools may also compete, and shall be deemed as equivalent to a College. Members of the Clinical Medical School may compete for their College or for the School until the end of the academic year in which they sit their final exams.
    4. That Postgraduate members of the Universities of Cambridge or Oxford be eligible to compete for their College in the Fairbairn Cup Races until the end of the term in which they sit their first viva voce or other final examination.
    5. That current trialists for Cambridge University Boat Club, Cambridge University Women's Boat Club, Cambridge University Lightweight Rowing Club, or their Oxford equivalents, may not row or steer in 'College divisions' as a member of his/her College VIII or IV. University Trial VIIIs or IVs are permitted to race, but for time only.
    6. That other Members of the Universities of Cambridge or Oxford may compete as a member of the crew in a College Division only with the approval of the Fairbairns Secretary, and that such approval must be sought within the first six (6) weeks of Michaelmas term.
  3. Invitational Divisions: That crews containing members who do not meet the eligibility criteria, as defined in Rule 4, shall be eligible to enter and race in the appropriate Fairbairn Cup 'Invitational Divisions'.
  4. Status:
    1. That, for the purposes of the Fairbairn Cup Races, a 'Novice' crew is one in which no rower has rowed, and no coxswain has coxed prior to October of the current year.
    2. That college 1st Lent and May VIII colours may not row in crews below their 2nd VIII.
  5. Entries:
    1. That no college may enter more than four (4) Men's and four (4) Women's Novice crews. However, the Fairbairns Secretary may grant permission for a larger entry by a single college if, in so doing, the total number of entries does not exceed the maximum number of crews that can be accommodated within the Marshalling Areas. Permission shall not be confirmed until after the closing date for entries.
    2. That the entrance fee be payable to 'Jesus College Boat Club'.
    3. That Jesus College Boat Club shall determine the order of the start, based upon the finishing order of the previous year's races, followed by new entrants alphabetically and by status. In the interests of safety and fairness (Rule 13.a), if a crew is considered to be substantially slower than the crew achieving the previous year's finishing position, they may be started with the new entrants, upon application to the Fairbairns Secretary. If the Fairbairns Secretary deems one crew to be significantly faster than the crew in front, the time gap between the two crews may be increased.
    4. That notice of 'scratching' from a race should be given to the Fairbairns Secretary in writing with a full explanation of the reasons for doing so. Reimbursement of entry fees shall be at the discretion of the Fairbairns Secretary, who reserves the right to refuse reimbursement if notice is given within 7 days of the start of the races.
    5. That boat sharing is permitted, but on the understanding that it is done at the crews' and respective Colleges' own risk. Divisions shall not be delayed to accommodate boat sharing and penalties (Rule 16) will apply if a boat sharing crew is late to arrive in the Start Marshalling Area. Details of any boat sharing requirements should be given with the club's application for entry.


  1. ARA Code of Practice for Water Safety: That it is the responsibility of each crew to ensure that they comply with the Water Safety Guidelines detailed by the Amateur Rowing Association, with particular regard to heel restraints, bow balls and coxes' life-jackets. A full copy of the ARA Water Safety Code can be found at www.oara-rowing.org. A crew deemed not to meet the required safety standards will not be allowed to race.
  2. Cancellation of Racing: That the final decision to cancel racing, as a result of adverse water or weather conditions, shall be made by the JCBC Fairbairns Secretary after consultation with the organising committee and following advice from the CUCBC Chairman or his/her nominated deputy. In the event of a cancellation, full reimbursement of entry fees cannot be guaranteed, as a result of expenses incurred prior to Race Day. Every attempt will be made to inform affected crews directly or via the CUCBC Contacts list as soon as the decision is made.
  3. Liability: That Jesus College Boat Club does not accept any fault or liability on the behalf crews or their equipment for accidents which are not a direct result of negligence on the part of the event organisers.

The Race

  1. Proceeding to the Start and Start Marshalling:
    1. That all crews must proceed directly to the Start Marshalling Area, having boated from their boat house. Crews may not go for warm-up or practice paddles and any crew found paddling in a downstream direction outside of the Start Marshalling Area prior to the start of a division shall be disqualified, or, at the discretion of the Fairbairns Secretary, allowed to race for time only. For the purposes of the regulation, the Start Marshalling Area is defined as the section of river downstream of Jesus Lock and upstream of the flagpole at Jesus College Boat House. Crews should warm up on land and bring sufficient clothing to stay warm whilst start marshalling.
    2. That the first ten (10) crews within each division shall be within the Start Marshalling Area 30 minutes before the published division start time. The remaining crews shall be within the Start Marshalling Area 20 minutes before the division start time.
    3. That crews boating from boat houses upstream of Jesus College Boat House must also be on the water by these times unless specifically instructed otherwise by a race marshal. Crews must clear the slipways as quickly as possible to facilitate movement of crews within the circulation pattern.
    4. That crews shall follow the circulation pattern within the Start Marshalling Area. A detailed map can be found at www.fairbairns.com.
    5. That crews may get out of their boat within the Start Marshalling Area, only if they have located and manoeuvred themselves into their marshalling position and the suitability of that location allows them to do so. All crew members shall get back into their boat when instructed to do so by a Race Marshal.
    6. That crews must obey the instructions of Race Marshals at all times.
  2. The Start:
    1. That unless otherwise specified or instructed by the Start Marshal, a crew's rolling start shall begin at the flagpole on top of Goldie Boat House, with the call of "Attention, Go" from the Start Marshal.
    2. That all crews must obey the Start Marshal's instructions.
    3. That crews shall be assumed to have reached Race Pace and that race timing shall begin as the bow ball passes the flagpole outside Jesus College Boat House.
  3. Overtaking and Obstructions:
    1. That no crew in any category shall attempt to overtake before the Men's Bumps Top Finish (i.e. the post immediately downstream of Chesterton Footbridge).
    2. That any boat being overtaken shall, in good time, give way to the faster crew; causing minimal obstruction and, where possible, clearing the racing line.
    3. That, in the event of deliberate or avoidable impedance, the offending crew shall be liable to an appropriate penalty at the discretion of the Fairbairns Secretary, having reviewed recommendations by the witnessing race umpire(s). For the purposes of the regulation, a deliberate or avoidable impedance is defined as a failure to give way following three (3) or more warnings from the race umpire(s).
    4. That the coxswain of the overtaking crew shall make known their intentions to overtake well in advance.
    5. That, if obstruction or impedance of any crew occurs, an appropriate time adjustment shall be made in favour of the affected crew at the recommendation of the witnessing race umpire(s).
  4. The Finish:
    1. That the finish for all Senior College and Invitational VIII divisions will be at the Little Bridge downstream of the A14 Motorway Bridge and upstream of Baitsbite Lock. The finish for all Novice VIII divisions will be at the Railings on the Long Reach. The finish for all IVs divisions shall be at the Red Grind Post (i.e. the upstream post opposite the Plough). Photographs of the finishes may be found at www.fairbairns.com.
    2. That each crew shall be deemed to have finished when the bow ball passes the appropriate finish line.
    3. That timing shall be to the nearest second.
    4. That if two crews achieve race times (including time penalties and adjustments for impeded crews) within 1.00 seconds of each other, they shall be deemed to have tied.
    5. That a full list of provisional times (inclusive of any time penalties and adjustments for impeded crews) will be available either at the Jesus College Boat House or at www.fairbairns.com as soon as possible after the day's racing.
  5. Finish Marshalling:
    1. That, having passed the Finish Line, crews shall reduce their speed appropriately but continue rowing until instructed to stop and spin by a race marshal at Bait's Bite Lock.
    2. That crews shall assemble and await permission from a race marshal to row back to their boat house after all crews have finished racing on the course. Coxes must ensure that each crew member has brought sufficient dry clothing to stay warm after the race.
    3. That all crews competing in the last division of the day, or the bank parties thereof, be required to carry lights and that these be fitted to boats rowing back to their boat houses later than 15 minutes before Lighting Up as defined by CUCBC.
    4. That crews from Jesus College Boat Club shall be permitted to return unimpeded to facilitate the marshalling of the following divisions.

Penalties, Disputes and Appeals

  1. Penalties: The following penalties shall be awarded for any disregard of the rules and regulations, supra:
    Offence Penalty
    Repeated failure to obey a marshal's instructions 2 seconds per offence
    Late arrival at Start Marshalling Area 5 seconds
    Late boating from slip-ways within Start Marshalling Area (definition: Rule 11.a) 5 seconds
    Warm-up or practice paddle Race for time only
    Overtaking before Men's Top Finish Disqualification
    Deliberate impedance of a faster crew (definition: Rule 13.c) Race for time only
    Failure to continue rowing after crossing Finish 5 seconds
    Proceeding to row back to boat house without permission from a finish marshal. Race for time only
    Other (affecting running of Races or causing unfair disadvantage to another crew) 2-10 seconds
    Other (affecting Safety of any competitor, official, bank party or spectator) Disqualification
    [NB. Should any offence above be deemed to affect the safety of competitors/others then the penalty shall instead be disqualification.]
  2. Disputes and Appeals:
    1. That, in the event of a dispute or an appeal, a single representative of each affected crew shall be permitted to state their case in front of the Fairbairns Secretary and must do so at the earliest possible moment, within four (4) hours of the published division start time. The Fairbairns Secretary can be found at or in the vicinity of Jesus College Boat House throughout the two days of racing.
    2. That the final decision regarding penalties, time adjustments and disputes shall be made by the Fairbairns Secretary, who may take evidence from the affected parties and any witnessing race marshal or umpire. Advice may also be sought from the current CUCBC Chairman or his/her appointed deputy.

Rule Changes, Additions and Enquiries

  1. That Jesus College Boat Club may alter, at any time, any of the rules and regulations supra, but that all efforts will be made to ensure that reasonable notice shall be given to all Clubs concerned.
  2. That the instructions and guidelines outlined separately in the document 'Coxes Notes' shall be considered as constituting an additional and enforceable part of these rules and regulations, and that crews, including bank parties of novice crews, are expected to have consulted them prior to racing.
  3. That all enquiries regarding these rules and regulations and their application shall be directed to the Fairbairns Secretary, Jesus College Boat Club, at jcbc-fairbairns[at]jesus.cam.ac.uk.
  4. That these rules, and any such other information regarding the organisation and running of the Fairbairn Cup Races may be found at www.fairbairns.com.

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