FAQS

HOW DO WE AGREE A CHALLENGE?

Any two crews within ten places of each other can agree any challenge. "Race you over a minute?" "Shall we make it best of three?" "OK". 

Once you have finished your race, and have agreed the result, both crews need to report it on the site. You can do this on a mobile phone via a log in that you will have created for your crew. If the two crews report the same result, the ladder automatically updates, and with it, all the tables relating to club performance too. If the lower crew at the time of the challenge wins the race, then that crew jumps immediately above the crew it beat. The beaten crew slips down one place, and all the crews that were above the crew that jumped also drop a place.  if the lower crew lost, then nothing changes. 

CAN WE RACE OVER ANY DISTANCE OR TIME?

Yes, if the other crew agrees. And you can challenge back, if you lost over a distance that you think suited them better than it suited you. They were quick starters but don't, in your view, have the stamina? They will probably beat you over a minute, but maybe you will row through them in three. Think about who you're going to challenge and how you're going to climb the ladder to win prizes. But most of all, have a bit of fun.

WHAT HAPPENS IF A RESULT IS DISPUTED?

There are no marshalls and no umpires: two crews have to agree everything amongst themselves, and report the result. If you don't report the same result, the crews will not change places and everyone will be unhappy. It's meant to be fun, so compete fairly and if you think you won and it wasn't accepted, then challenge back, maybe over a different time or distance. Or challenge a different crew, and climb over your opponent that way!

WHAT DO WE NEED TO TAKE PART?

If you are a crew from an established club, you should be automatically on the ladder and can therefore compete for the monthly prizes, without having to join up or pay. If you aren't, you can join the ladder without a fee. You do need insurance, though, for your own safety. That is most easily gained by having all your crew members signed up as members of British Rowing, which gives them insurance automatically. You can sign up as a member for £60 a year on their website, at www.britishrowing.org

DO WE NEED INSURANCE AND IF SO HOW DO WE GET IT?

Yes, you do. Everyone in the crew needs to be insured. You aren't planning to clash, but you are racing and it is imperative that you are insured in case of a problem. The easiest way to do so is for everyone in the crew to be signed up as a member of British Rowing, because insurance comes with membership. You can get it quickly and easily at www.britishrowing.org

CAN ANY CREW RACE ANY CREW?

Any crew within ten places of your can challenge you, and you can challenge any crew up to ten places above you. This means that there is no diasctintion whether that crew is a school crew, a university crew, or a club crew. And equally, it could be a men's crew, a women's crew, or a mixed crew - and it could be a senior crew, a masters crew, or a junior crew.  In fact, you could even find it's a quad, when your crew is an eight, or a double when you're in a pair. The whole beauty of the ladder is that crews find their own level:  very good crew can challenge up very quickly, and find itself among the top crews; and a weaker crew will gradually find crews going past them, whether they are directly challenged or not. 

WHAT IF WE DON'T WANT TO ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE OR TO TAKE PART AT ALL?

At the end of the day, no-one is forcing you to take a challenge. In fact, no-one is forcing you to take part at all. If you keep refusing challenges, then crews will get past you by challenging other crews above you, and you will gradually fall down the ladder until you are at the bottom of it. That's fine. Next season, if your crew is a club crew it may have different people in it who want to take part, and they can start to challenge their way back up. If yours is a recreational crew, eventually you will just sit at the bottom of the ladder (or you can ask us to take you off). 

If you're taking part generally but you just don't fancy the precise challenge that has been thrown down, that's fine too. The point is to have fun, and if a challenge doesn't suit you and you can't agree one that suits you both, then the crew which wants to challenge you can go and challenge another crew instead. It's unlikely that you will never be able to agree anything with any other crew. if it doesn't suit you to race today tomorrow, then maybe it will next week. It's a flexible system that allows clubs and crews and people to decide for themselves what works. 

YOU MENTIONED PRIZES SOMEWHERE. WHAT'S THE STORY?

They're coming, if there's good take up of the idea of ladders. We want to start looking at monthly prizes for the highest climbers in the ladder, and the most challenges. And we want to introduce prizes for clubs in the league tables, too. But first, we'd just like to see if the idea works (and if the software works!), and let people find their level. So for the moment, it's just a case of reporting your result and watching the ladders move. But the prizes are coming!

FAQS

HOW DO WE AGREE A CHALLENGE?

Any two crews within ten places of each other can agree any challenge. "Race you over a minute?" "Shall we make it best of three?" "OK". 

Once you have finished your race, and have agreed the result, both crews need to report it on the site. You can do this on a mobile phone via a log in that you will have created for your crew. If the two crews that have raced report the same result, the ladder will automatically update, and with it, all the tables relating to club performance will update too (once we have created them in v2!). If the lower crew at the time of the challenge wins the race, then that crew jumps immediately above the crew it beat. The beaten crew slips down one place, and all the crews that were above the crew that jumped also drop a place.  If the lower crew lost, then nothing changes.  All crews below the lower crew stay in the same place either way.

CAN WE RACE OVER ANY DISTANCE OR TIME?

Yes, if the other crew agrees. And you can challenge back, if you lost over a distance that you think suited them better than it suited you. If they were quick starters but don't, in your view, have the stamina. then they will probably beat you over a minute, but maybe you will row through them in three. Think about who you're going to challenge and how you're going to climb the ladder to win prizes. But most of all, have a bit of fun. 

No crew is obliged to accept a challenge. If a crew consistently refuses a challenge (or you can't race a given crew for any other reason, such as that they are in your region but row on a different stretch of water) get round them by challenging a crew above them, even if you have to do it in two steps (challenging a crew 5 ahead of you and then 6 head of you to get past the crew 10 ahead of you). If the crew at the top of the ladder never races, we reserve the right to move it down a place at our discretion after a period of time.

WHAT HAPPENS IF A RESULT IS DISPUTED?

There are no marshalls and no umpires: two crews have to agree everything amongst themselves, and report the result. If you don't report the same result, the crews will not change places and everyone will be unhappy. It's meant to be fun, so compete fairly and if you think you won and it wasn't accepted, then challenge back - maybe over a different time or distance. Or challenge a different crew, and climb over your opponent that way!

WHAT DO WE NEED TO TAKE PART?

If you are a crew from an established club, you should be automatically on the ladder and can therefore compete for the monthly prizes, without having to join up or pay. If you aren't, you can join the ladder without a fee. You do need insurance, though, for your own safety. That is most easily gained by having all your crew members signed up as members of British Rowing, which gives them insurance automatically. You can sign up as a racing member for £60 a year on their website, at www.britishrowing.org. It is your responsibility to do this. 

DO WE NEED INSURANCE AND IF SO HOW DO WE GET IT?

Yes, you do. Everyone in the crew needs to be insured. You aren't planning to clash, but you are racing and it is imperative that you are insured in case of a problem. The easiest way to do so is for everyone in the crew to be signed up as a member of British Rowing, because insurance comes with membership. You can get it quickly and easily at www.britishrowing.org

CAN ANY CREW RACE ANY CREW?

Any crew within ten places of you can challenge you, and you can challenge any crew up to ten places above you. This means that there is no distinction whether that crew is a school crew, a university crew, or a club crew, or indeed whether it is an 8+, 4+, 4x, 2+, 2-, 2x or 1x.  Equally, it could be a men's crew, a women's crew, or a mixed crew - and it could be a senior crew, a masters crew, or a junior crew.  The whole beauty of the ladder is that crews find their own level:  a very good crew can challenge up very quickly, and find itself among the top crews; and a weaker crew will gradually find crews going past them, whether they are directly challenged or not. It should make for good racing. 

WHAT IF WE DON'T WANT TO ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE OR TO TAKE PART AT ALL?

At the end of the day, no-one is forcing you to take a challenge. In fact, no-one is forcing you to take part at all. If you keep refusing challenges, then crews will get past you by challenging other crews above you, and you will gradually fall down the ladder until you are at the bottom of it. That's fine. Next season, if your crew is a club crew it may have different people in it who want to take part, and they can start to challenge their way back up. If yours is a recreational crew, eventually you will just sit at the bottom of the ladder (or you can ask us to take you off). 

If you're taking part generally but you just don't fancy the precise challenge that has been thrown down, that's fine too. The point is to have fun, and if a challenge doesn't suit you and you can't agree one that suits you both, then the crew which wants to challenge you can go and challenge another crew instead. It's unlikely that you will never be able to agree anything with any other crew. If it doesn't suit you to race today tomorrow, then maybe it will next week. It's a flexible system that allows clubs and crews and people to decide for themselves what works. 

YOU MENTIONED PRIZES SOMEWHERE. WHAT'S THE STORY?

They're coming, if there's good take up of the idea of ladders. We want to start looking at monthly prizes for the highest climbers in the ladder, and the most challenges. And we want to introduce prizes for clubs in the league tables, too. But first, we'd just like to see if the idea works (and if the software works!), and let people find their level. So for the moment, it's just a case of reporting your result and watching the ladders move. But the prizes are coming!

I'VE GOT WHAT THE LADDERS ARE ABOUT. WHAT ARE THE TABLES?

The tables (which are coming in version 2) are there to aggregate the results across a club, divided by the number of boats a club has, on a monthly basis. While the ladder carries across month to month and year to year, the tables reset every month. Tables do not need anyone to do anything. They adjust according to ladder movements during the month.

 

The idea is to generate a bit of additional rivalry which also allows smaller and less well-known clubs to snatch honours from the bigger and more famous ones. For example, if Big Famous Club has 4 crews in the ladder and they have between them gone up 16 places in April, and on the last day of the month Very Small Club with one crew challenges, wins, and rises 5 places, then Very Small Club would finish the month above Big Famous Club in the league table. League tables are re-set every month, and the plan is to award monthly prizes for league winners. Watch Very Small Clubs trying to snatch prizes from under the noses of Big Famous Clubs all year round!

WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT UMPIRES AND MARSHALLS?

There aren't any, just like there aren't any starting lines or finishing posts. It's informal racing that you sort out yourself, with the crew you want to race against. You agree the terms and you agree the result. It's just putting a framework around what you do anyway, when you paddle along and you come across another crew and you just do a few pieces with them. You don't even have to start the crews level if for some reason it makes sense not to. You're in charge. Have fun!

WHAT IF MY CLUB OR CREW ISN'T ON THE LADDER?

Just drop us an email and let us know. We can add any crew from any club, and even a recreational crew that you create with friends, if you can borrow or hire a boat. People who have left clubs because they didn't have the time to commit like they used to can go back to those clubs more recreationally, sign back up, and take part 'off peak' if that suits them and the club. You can be in an VIII or a pair; or you can just add yourself in your single. Just let us know what your crew is called and which region you are in, and we will add you so that you can get involved. 

CAN I JOIN AS A SINGLE SCULLER?

Yes! Anyone can join. If you row a pair with a friend and have no formal attachment to a club, or you just scull by yourself, just mail us your name(s) and we will add you to the ladder in your region. It's open to everyone. Just make sure you are insured to race, which you are as a member of British Rowing.

DOES IT WORK IN ANY REGION?

Clearly, in some regions it is going to be easier than in others to challenge crews, because clubs are all on one stretch of water. In some regions, clubs can be miles apart and their boats never cross paths. Despite that, we think this can work in any region, if people want it to.

First of all, you will find yourself at bigger set-piece events where clubs on your ladder have also travelled to take part. You might be able to do small challenges there as you warm up, or count your regatta race as a ladder race. You just have to agree it. 

 

Second, you don't have to be able to interact with every crew to make the ladder work. The thee crews immediately above you might be too far away to make a trip and you might never see them at regattas, but you can jump above them if the club four higher is one you can get to. There should still be plenty of movement in ladders.

And third, we hope that people might set up 'fixtures' between clubs, and travel to each other, as might happen in your region already. This site just puts a framework round that, and links the fixtures across the region and across the weeks and months. If you want to do this, you probably don't even need to take a trailer full of boats: invite a club down this week, offering to lend them boats, and have an away fixture in a week's time where you borrow theirs.  Maybe have a barbecue after the racing, if it's a summer's evening.  You might be rivals, but you're all part of a great community.

We have grouped things according to English regions because that is what we could access the best club data for, but if you think you would be better in a different region because you are close to a border and you have more clubs from another region near you, then shout and we can move you. Similarly, we can add Scottish and Welsh crews in their own ladder, or we can put them in the ladder that has the most clubs closest to them. Borders should not be a barrier to having some fun, and if it helps to change the name of the ladders so that political sensitivities are addressed, we are very happy to do that. For example, if your Welsh club is just down the road from Chester, you might prefer to be included in the same ladder as Royal Chester than to travel to Monmouth for a match. You don't have to feel, in the process, that you are part of a North-West English ladder: we can call it whatever works for the area and the people involved.  Think of the names of the ladders being really just a means by which you can find your club and your crew more quickly, as well as the crews around you that you might want to challenge.

And of course, right now,  there's a great big barrier in the middle  of the Tideway that people can't row under. Crews to the west and crews to the east are basically rowing on different stretches of water, because they aren't allowed under Hammersmith Bridge.  

WHAT HAPPENS AS CREWS CHANGE THEIR COMPONENT PARTS?

Crews are obviously fluid, but at the same time a club's second VIII is a club's second VIII. You know what crew you're in, and pretending to be a different crew doesn't help you much. First, you won't have a lot of fun, because pretending to be a first crew when you're a second crew just means you'll lose a lot, and vice-versa. Plus, your club will get a reputation for messing around, and no-one will want to race you.

From one year to the next, and even as a season progresses, the people in crews change and crews get faster or slower. That's fine. You will find your level. A crew may drop 20 places one year, and go up 15 the next. That's ladder racing. You inherit a position and a boat, and you make of it what you can, racing as often as you want. If that's "not at all", then you will drop slowly lower, until you reach a position where you might decide to get involved. Or your successors will. 

HOW DOES IT WORK FOR SOCIAL OR RECREATIONAL ROWERS?

The same as it does for everyone else. If all you do is go out on a Sunday morning with mates you have socialised with for years before docking for a pub lunch, you can still be on the ladder. You will find that you're surrounded by crews of a similar speed to your own, and probably with a similarly limited appetite for taking anything too seriously. It might be quite fun to race for a minute, just to hear if you can still get the boat to sing. So feel free to let us know you're out there, and we can add you to the ladder. You'll come on at the bottom, where there's nothing too strenuous. And you might have a little bit of fun seeing what heights you can scale, without any more organisation than goes into your normal weekend paddle. 

DOES THAT MEAN WE CAN FORM VIRTUAL CREWS?

It sure does. You can be on the ladder as a composite crew: you just need a boat, blades, a name, and insurance. Go down to your old club and join back up, or borrow equipment. Get the band back together, twenty years after you last got on the water, and show people you still know how it's done!

WHAT'S IN IT FOR CLUBS?

It addition to the fact that it offers flexible racing (which is particularly good at this time of COVID uncertainty), Racing Ladders offer clubs an opportunity to increase their membership without having the obvious pressure on equipment that would normally come with that. By addressing the 'all or nothing' nature of the sport and allowing people to take part at the level of intensity that their lifestyle allows, it should help club to retain members while also serving them more easily. 

 

Clubs and crews will still want to go to the traditional regattas and Head Races, but for those who don't get to those for whatever reason (maybe they take up too much of the weekend, or require too much training; or maybe the club is limited in how many boats it can get on the trailer) this offers the chance for less formal competition (if people want it) at an intensity that they can choose. 

 

In short, while still serving both S1 and Masters, it also offers something to everyone in between. Given how many people disappear from rowing every year (10,000), many of whom then return to the sport 20 years later when they have more time, that's potentially a large group of people who may. be interested in staying on as members of local clubs.

Oh - and did someone mention prizes? 😉

WE'RE IN COMPLETELY THE WRONG PLACE - MILES TOO HIGH OR LOW.

WHAT DO WE DO?

The ladders will take a little bit of time to settle, and some crews may be starting in the wrong place. For some, that's going to mean some tough racing and a few defeats as you slip down the ladder, while some crews may jump up in bounds of ten places at the start.  But don't worry: you will soon find your level, and then you'll have crews around you which give you a good run for your money. You will find yourself in a game of snakes and ladders, making progress one moment, and slipping down the next.

If you are really obviously too high as a starting point - say we have completely misunderstood what sort of club you are, and you're in the top 20 of a ladder, such that you're going to spend six months having a miserable time of being targeted and regularly defeated - then drop us a note and we can change your position. This is meant to be fun, not some kind of torture. And we're here to help!