Start Procedure for Masters Handicap Races - Rule 4-1-7

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If a Masters race involves competitors from two adjacent age categories, then a time handicap may be applied. The amount of the handicap is calculated before the race and the process for calculating it is described in the British Rowing Almanack, and summarised here. It is not the Starter's or Race Umpire's responsibility to calculate the handicap immediately before the race; he should be provided with the relevant details by the Race Committee prior to the race. The crew(s) in the older Masters category may choose, if they wish, to race without advantage.

Once the crews are aligned and straight, the start proceeds as follows:

  • The Starter will go through the call-over, naming each crew in turn,
  • Pause,
  • The Starter will call "Attention",
  • Then slowly raise the Red Flag,
  • Pause,
  • The Starter says "Go", simultaneously dropping the Red Flag smartly to one side.
  • The Starter will then count down the handicap (preferably using a stopwatch) and raise the Red Flag a second time (in this case, I have assumed a 5 second handicap; the countdown needs to start at 4 so that the second "Go" is 5 seconds after the first one),
  • As the Starter finishes the handicap countdown, he will say "Go" and drop the Red Flag as before.
  • In the event of a false start by either crew, the Starter, Race Umpire and Aligner should all follow this procedure.

If the start has to be aborted for any reason after the Starter has raised the Red Flag, then the Starter will say "As you were", and slowly lower the Red Flag out of sight. When the Starter is ready to proceed, the start will resume from "Attention" (i.e. the call-over will not normally be repeated).

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