SCRA Course Course : Friday 28 October 2016

We are always looking at ways to help clubs improve the quality of their regattas.  This year SCRA is going to be running a seminar on mark laying at Loch Tummel on Friday 28 October.  As well as classroom sessions there will even be a chance for a practical session, setting up the marks which are to be used the next day at the Freshwater Sprints.
You may all be familiar with, or know people who are familiar with, laying courses for sailing races. Sailing races tend to have slightly different requirements, and part of the course will be about understanding the particular requirements for rowing races.   Most club sailing events require single marks with fairly casual moorings which can be allowed a lot of swing circle. For rowing races such courses have a lot of potential for collision, and it is usually desirable for marks to have far less movement.   Many of our big events, such as the worlds, the Freshwater sprints and Ullapool Regatta use multi lane races, which bring with them particular challenges for the team laying the marks. These races need start and turn marks in an accurate line at accurate spacings which can be a challenge at times, and there is a lot of detail needed.
The challenge for the practical course will be to lay a turn line with 5 marks to allow a 5 lane there-and-back race course. The plan is to use daylight to lay the turn line and survey the entire course from the shore then have a meal break and reconvene in the clubhouse to run over the theory. Rough timings as follows:
3.00 pm          Start, explain the course, show people the gear, go out in a rib and lay the turn line.
5:00 pm          Take a meal break
6.30 pm         Reconvene and run a classroom session covering:
Different types of course
Start lines
GPS positioning of marks
Course hazards
Feedback/ QandA
8.30 pm          Go to the pub
This is an excellent opportunity for regatta organisers to think about what is required, speak to those who have a lot of practical experience, including experience of what does not work, and perhaps talk through plans for 2017 regattas. The SCRA has very limited assets, but one thing that it does own is a set of turn marks, which were used at the worlds and recent freshwaters.  The marks are manufactured by LOMO, and are big enough to be seen some distance away, but soft enough to fall over when hit at speed by the oars of a skiff.  These marks are available for SCRA member clubs to borrow for their events, and they are good marks, so we hope they can be used.  This course will be very helpful for those wanting to borrow them, to see how best to anchor and weight the marks so that the do not fall over (unless hit by a skiff oars at speed, an impact which they should be able to recover from).
The course is open to anyone from an SCRA member club, with an upper limit of 20 places.  If you are interested in taking part, please e mail Topher Dawson:
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