Check Measurement Rules to Ensure Your Skiff is Race Ready

As the winter months are continuing, New Year has past and rowing has not quite begun in the evenings, many people are taking the time to pay attention to any work needed on their club’s St Ayles Skiffs. It is also a prime time of year to remind the boat builders about the measurement rules governing SCRA races (including the Skiffieworlds in July!)



The measurement rules in full are available on the web page:

Please do read through them all (even although they  are quite long for a afternoons 5 minute read at work).  For the sake of this post however may we bring these highlights to your attention:
2.1.2. The weight of the hull with all seats fitted but other fittings and equipment removed must be no less than 150 kg
Your boat is unlikely to be underweight.  Simple way to check: two bathroom scales, one under either end (make sure you don’t support the boat in anyway) add the two readings together.
FAQ: What if my boat is underweight?
Answer: you will be given a weight to carry to make up to the minimum weight, evenly distributed in the skiff.
FAQ: What if my boat was underweight in previous years?
Answer: It is likely that re-weighing the skiff now with added water (due to the wood soaking water over time) will take you over the minimum weight.
2.2.1 The timber to be used for the hog and keel, and gunwales shall be of Larch or other timber of a greater density. 
2.2.2 Polypropylene or other plastics are permitted as a material for keel bands if preferred to brass or other metals. 
2.2.3 Rocker is not allowed on the keel. The keel must be flat for its whole length between the stems.
FAQ: The timber we used was less dense than larch, what do we do?
Answer: Depending on the place and how the material was used an exemption may be given to the boat. Please contact the SCRA secretary to ask for an exemption certificate.  For example using yellow pine/white pine etc would not give the same strength and therefore more would be needed.
FAQ: How do I check my keel has no rocker?
Answer: lay the skiff down on solid, flat ground and check the keel touches the ground for the entire length.
2.3.2 In fitting the planking, “geralds” should not be longer than 250mm. 
2.3.3 The fairing of plank edges on the outside of the hull shall be to a radius no greater than 3mm. 
2.4.1 The width of the outer face of the stems fore and aft must be at least 1.125  inches and the stem (both fore and aft) must have a moulded depth from their outer face to the planking of between 2 and 3 inches. 
FAQ: How do I know if the geralds are longer than 250mm?
Answer: measure using a tape measure from where the plank joins the stem/stern to the point in which the edge of the plank is fully shown. If no sanding of the plank edge has been done it should be 9mm, ie because the planks are built from 9mm plywood.
 FAQ: what do I do if any of these sizes aren’t correct or I am unsure?
Answer: Contact any of the SCRA  measurement  representatives for your local area. They will try to measure and assist you and if need be can help apply for an exemption.
2.5.2 Gunwales must contain a volume of timber equivalent to the gunwales shown in the plans and provided this rule is complied with spaced gunwales are permitted.
FAQ: how is this calculated?
Answer: There is a excel spreadsheet with explanations for calculating the volume within the welcome pack (link below). Again contact the SCRA if you are unsure and we will guide you in the right direction.
4.3 Rudders must have an underwater wetted surface area of 850 cm² calculated against the expected waterline of a skiff with a normal weight crew rowing in salt water. 
FAQ: I have built my own rudder but want to check it is compliant?
Answer: if you send a picture of the rudder, as fitted to the skiff so that the skiffs planking can be seen, on squared paper to the SCRA they will check the rudder. You can also trace the rudder onto squared paper and count the number of full squares. The rudder must be built from wood.
5.2 The maximum fore and aft width of a thwart shall be 10 inches.
 FAQ: Can i move the seat position?
Answer: yes, seats are allowed to be moved further apart than that in the plans. They do however still need to be fixed AND made from wood.
6.2 Footrests, where used, must be made only of timber or plywood, with other materials allowed for fixings such as screws and nails but not for adjustable parts of the footrests such as sliders or runners. 
FAQ: we used alloy sliding seat runners for adjustment is this okay?
Answer: No.
7.1 Oars shall be made of timber. Plywood is a permitted material for the blade of the oar. The use of plastic sleeving, facings or wear strips on oars to protect wooden parts from wear is permitted.
7.2 Oar blades must not be “spooned” or of the “chopper” style. 
7.3 Blades to be symmetrical about a horizontal plane through the shaft axis, i.e. the top of the blade should be a reflection of the bottom.
FAQ: Is a plastic washer allowed on the oar pin to stop wear?
Answer: No, these must be removed for racing. They are also not allowed in the tops of wooden rowlocks.
FAQ: Does the forward face of the blade need to be flat.
Answer: No the forward face of the blade can be curved to accommodate the spine of the oar as long as the side of the blade facing aft is flat.
I think my boat may not comply with certain rules, what will I do?
Before cutting the boat to bits contact a SCRA measurement representative who will check if the item you are concerned about is at fault. They will then try to assist you on a suitable method of fixing the problem or may help you apply for an exemption which will be given a time constraint depending on the nature of the exemption requested.  The secretary of SCRA can put you in touch with the appropriate person in your area.
Boats will be checked randomly over the summer, especially in the run up to and at the Worlds in Northern Ireland. However the main responsibility is on the users of the boats to ensure that they comply with the rules, rather than on anyone else to pick up on non-compliance.  All clubs entering the worlds will be asked to confirm that their skiff complies (or that exemption certificates have been granted for every aspect of the skiff that does not comply).  The SCRA want to promote a fair and balanced sport, which is the purpose of the measurement rules.  If boats are not compliant with rules they will incur penalties.  However please rest assured that nearly every boat already does comply with the rules.
January into February is a fine time of year to have a quick look at the rules in detail, check the boat over and put your mind at peace for the summer ahead.
  1. #1 by Sean Watters on 27 January 2016 - 8:46 pm

    “No the forward face of the blade can be curved to accommodate the spine of the oar as long as the side of the blade facing aft is flat.”

    Where’s that in the rules?

  2. #2 by Sean Watters on 27 January 2016 - 8:49 pm

    Not being spooned
    isn’t the same as being flat.

  3. #3 by Robbie Wightman on 28 January 2016 - 9:33 am

    No. Many oars will have a spine running down the aft facing face of the blade, so they are not flat. They are not concave either, so are therefore not spooned.

  4. #4 by Robbie Wightman on 28 January 2016 - 9:41 am

    It is the answer to a FAQ, although the writer has used the shorthand “flat” for the aft facing part of the oar. Dearie me. See the “Anstruther pattern” oars, which have been shared through this website for 5 years. (Find it through boat building tab above).

  5. #5 by Sean Watters on 28 January 2016 - 10:25 am

    And such non-flat aft faces are permissible?

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