Measurement Rules Update

You may recall earlier posts about a small group being established to make recommendations to the SCRA committee in respect of the measurement rules for the St Ayles class.

The current rules date from 2010, before the first St Ayles were racing.  The Measurement Group have now  made recommendations to the SCRA committee.  The committee will have to decide by the end of this month on what resolutions to put before the AGM.  The clubs will have the chance to vote on these resolutions at the AGM.  In the meantime we welcome the views of rowers and boat builders, and ask that these are posted (clearly identifying the identity of the poster and where they are from) on the sub pages to the “measurement” tab above.

  1. #1 by stephen h (catterline) on 4 September 2013 - 11:37 pm

    Is that the right link?

  2. #2 by stephen h (catterline) on 5 September 2013 - 9:44 am

    It is now, ta 🙂

  3. #3 by David Davidson, North Berwick on 5 September 2013 - 1:25 pm

    David Davidson, North Berwick (following is my personal opinion rather than that of the club!)

    As a rower my main concern is that the races are won by the best crews rather than by some advantage in equipment, so I would like standardisation as much as possible across boats.

    As Convenor of the club I want the boats to be low maintenance in both time and money, simple to build and durable.

    I know clubs have been free to develop areas such as oarlocks, footrests, seats. But actually developing these things is a costly activity in materials and time – it also leads to a lot of thinking about whether new developments are within the spirit of SCR which is a pretty subjective discussion.

    To my mind the solution is to provide more in the kit, so that we don’t have to worry about whether our system is better than somebody else’s or compliant. If it’s provided in the kit then everybody has the same.

    Whilst we are dependant on rules and guidelines on what is allowable I think we’ll inevitably face conflict and increased costs in complying. And some of the factors (specifically weight) don’t lend themselves to being easily or consistently measured. I doubt if our current boat builders have any clue as to what the final weight of the boat they’re building will be.

    So for those variable areas (oarlocks, footrests, seats, gunnels) if we can have them supplied in the kit, then costs go down, and standardisation increases…no?

  4. #4 by Clive Drewitt, North Berwick on 5 September 2013 - 3:10 pm

    As one who has helped to organise regattas, I would also like to add a plea that our measurement rules should be realistic and straightforward to police – i.e. we should be able to enforce them and still maintain an appropriate balance between the effort we spend on scrutinising boats and the effort we spend rowing.

    Given that most of our regattas have only one day of racing, with many boats arriving in the hour or two before the first race, there is little time for effective scrutiny. I suspect that boats will be need to be weighed by their owners, and at most regattas weighing will only happen by exception, possibly after some objection has been raised.

    Basically, please let’s try to keep it simple…

  5. #5 by Alan Pendred Coigach on 9 September 2013 - 9:20 am

    I think the existing rules are quite straightforward, fit for purpose, easy to interpret and have led to very close racing amongst well trained and well fitted boats despite very varied approaches to those aspects that can be experimented with. All fittings should be made of wood apart from rudder fittings and keelstrap, what could be simpler than that ? Oars should not be spooned and uniform across the horizontal aspect, again simple.
    As long as boats, oars, fittings etc are made by individual clubs there will never be true standardisation as some clubs will have better craftsmen/ builders and the only way to fully standardise is to have all these items built by manufacturers thereby escalating the cost, eventually everyone will need to buy the best. At the moment clubs get out what they put in in time and effort, not necessarily what they can purchase.
    Lots of pieces of plastic, metal bolts, bungee cord and other synthetic materials are creeping into use as crews try to fiddle with design features, these are contrary to the existing rules, keep it simple and do away with all that, concentrate on getting rowing technique right, build up good fitness and get the rowers involved in making the fittings/oars so that there is good feedback to the builders.
    To my mind there are too many questions posed by the measurement committee and I would question whether anything needs to be done to improve the existing rules just enforce them properly if an unfair advantage is suspected.
    These are my own thoughts and not necessarily those of Coigach Rowing.

  6. #6 by Sally Champion, Portobello on 15 September 2013 - 3:19 pm

    Thanks to the measurement group for giving time and energy to this. I am a rower rather than a boat builder, but it’s really helpful to see the pros and cons set out for each area, and where consensus has been reached, recommendations made, all of which seem sensible.

    I agree that the winning teams should be those teams that are the fittest, have the best technique and have trained the hardest. As far as possible there shouldn’t be an advantage conferred because of differences in the boat; in theory we should be able to get into each other’s boats and achieve the same race position.

    Experimentation can be innovative and engaging, but it can also be divisive and controversial as well as costly in time and in money. Scottish Coastal Rowing is growing fast, and it seems timely to re-visit the measurement rules and clarify them where possible.

    Whatever decisions are made at the SCRA AGM my view is that:

    a) we standardise wherever possible

    b) we agree as clubs to abide by these decisions, even if that means making some adjustments to boats already racing

    c) we bear in mind the costs and practicalities of boats that are community-built, as well as community-maintained.

  7. #7 by CRABlakeney on 18 September 2013 - 11:50 am

    A view from East Anglia:
    Our feeling is very much that the traditional look and equipment of the boat is an important factor in its appeal. Without becoming anoraky, we should prefer to build on the traditional appeal rather than veer towards modern methods and techniques.

    The boat was conceived as a ‘standard’ kit and in dinghy racing terms that makes it a one-design rather than a development class. What we have is successful and has sold enthusiastically to more than 100 groups worldwide – which must say something.

    We feel that a minimum weight should be set to ensure boats can be built realistically and durably to that weight, without resorting to high-tec materials or rule-bending to try and gain a minute advantage. 150lbs may be the absolute minimum?

    We do not favour rotating gates for oarlocks but prefer some form of traditional fixed pin – tholes (and or kabes) etc – with or without plates. If the concensus is for rotating gates then we suggest standardising on the readily available gates used in sliding seat rowing rather than going to the lengths of trying to manufacture them in wood.

    We prefer the thwart arrangements as per the plan i.e. not profiled. The boat is modelled on a working boat with a simple layout.

    As for the rudder – staying wooden, perhaps with an overall wetted surface area maximum (or minimum?) would allow some scope for individual variation without great expense or advantage.

    Oars – don’t know, we are still learning! Perhaps that is a good area for individual preference?

    These are the points we have discussed among the CRABlakeney rowers and we offer our thoughts to the general discussion.

    It is a great boat which has given a lot of people here a great deal of pleasure this year. Our neighbours have ordered two and we have ordered our second for next year.

  8. #8 by IAN on 19 September 2013 - 11:24 am

    Clearly 150Kgs rather than 150lbs intended as minimum weight!! My error typing.

  9. #9 by David Davidson on 21 September 2013 - 8:11 pm

    Having some problems including a link to our wonderful document, you can find it on our nbrowingclub website under Documents / Equipment. Or go here

  10. #10 by Robbie_Wightman on 25 September 2013 - 10:18 am

    I have tried unsuccessfully to take comments about lifejackets down from this thread. Your comments will be noted, and passed on to the SCRA committee.

    On this thread we need to keep focussed on the measurement rules, so that these are considered carefully in advance of any vote at the AGM. Lifejackets are not a measurement matter, but are dealt with in the rules of racing. At the Venacher event we intend to do a live demonstration of a pouch life-jacket and a live firing of a harness style lifejacket (volunteers welcome), which may assist in consideration of this matter, but please no more posts on lifejackets on this thread.

  11. #11 by Coigach Rowing on 29 September 2013 - 9:08 pm

    These are the thoughts of Coigach Rowing on the proposed measurement rules.
    Our main concern is that the organisation should keep the rules simple and enforceable. The present rules in our opinion are adequate in the main but have not been enforced and if there is a raft of new rules will this change?
    There are some very useful refinements such as rudder wetted
    area, fairing limits on planking and keel, minimum thickness of gunnell timbers
    and such, good to have there as a standard if people get silly with their
    We would hope that whatever recommendations are made it
    would be with a view to choosing the best and simplest systems and not in any
    way restrict the performance of the St Ayles unnecessarily. We are not alone in
    rowing and the eye catching appeal of the St Ayles should be backed up by strong performance.
    We are also surprised that performance enhancement modifications such as moving seats to wider spacings are not worthy of any questions whereas our own seat modification, admitted to give little if any performance advantage is found to be deserving of a question, based not on the SCRA’s original remit to you of safety and fairness but on your self appointed remit of being against the spirit of the St Ayles.
    We think that spirit has been exemplified by Coigach. Our boats have very simple wooden systems and our Championship winning boat is built according to the plans with a minor alteration to one Kabe position and the shaping of the seats. We mention this not to brag but to point out that all this talk of leveling the playing field, fairness, everyone having the same boat performance, no unfair advantage etc is missing the fact that possibly the most successful boat in skiffing is very ordinary and simple.
    Our fear regarding your questions, is that clubs will vote for whatever bit of kit they want to use, be it aluminium, rubber, plastic etc and all these materials will come into use in various ways making scrutineering ( already ineffective ) a true nightmare, and resulting in a mess that will need sorting out in another few years.
    We appreciate the work the committee have put into this and endorse the attempt to put safe and sensible limits on modification but would call on all clubs to look at the plans and see in them, the spirit of the St Ayles, as designed by Iain Oughtred, a simple elegant wooden boat, with wooden foot rests, kabes and oars.
    These are our answers to the questions posed………..
    Boat weight
    1. Yes
    2. 150 kg seems ok, or the lowest weight of any existing
    viable skiff.

    Hull construction
    1. Yes, original plans
    imply not using plywood for these.
    2. Yes, any weight
    advantage covered by hull weight, not visible enough to affect aesthetically, a
    very sensible option for stony beaches, no performance advantage or other
    advantage over metal.
    3. Yes
    4. Yes

    Seats and footrests
    1. Yes. Again weight saving is all part of general
    hull weight. The cons in this instance are very subjective and can be argued
    either way and should in no way be the basis for a general ruling.
    2. No
    3. No

    Oars and Kabes
    1 No 2. Yes 3. Yes 4. No 5. No 6. No 7. No

    1. No
    2. a. 850 cm2 sounds ok. Only needs to be measured if boats are
    suspected of flagrantly going below this.
    b. Yes
    c. No
    restriction, too difficult to decide what is traditional and what is not.

  12. #12 by Alan Pendred Coigach on 3 October 2013 - 6:08 pm

    Excellent well balanced document, do not agree entirely but very well done North Berwick.

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