Race Logistics

Race Procedures & Rules:

Race Scheduling
The starting order for each team’s first race will be determined prior to race day by the Parry Sound Dragon Boat Race Festival, and be issued to Team Managers. The starting order will also be posted at the Pavilion at the New Town Beach. Following the first round of races a schedule of all subsequent races will be posted at the Pavilion.

Each race will start as soon as possible following the race preceding it, with races to be held approximately every ten minutes. Although the order of races shall remain constant, the start times shall be approximate. Each team must be prepared to race significantly before it’s estimated race time. Team Managers are responsible for monitoring the progression of the races and ensuring that their team is ready to race when called upon, regardless of the estimated start time. In its discretion, the Parry Sound Dragon Boat Race Festival shall not wait for teams, which are not ready to race.

Pre-Race Procedure
Teams shall report to the marshaling tent at least 30 minutes prior to the estimated start time of their race. Team Managers are responsible for reporting in at the entrance to the marshaling area, and may accompany their teams onto the loading docks.

Team Make-up: A full crew consists of 20 paddlers, a drummer and a steers-person. A minimum of 8 paddlers must be women. All team members must be on the team list and must have submitted a signed waiver form. If the team does not have a trained steers-person the festival will provide a steers- person for the team on request. In the event of a team being unable to field a complete crew for a race the Festival may be able (but is not obligated) to provide additional paddlers on request. A team not fielding a complete crew according to the rules may be assessed a time penalty by the Referee, or at the Referee’s discretion, be disqualified from the race.

(The racecourse is in relatively unsheltered waters. In the event of strong winds and waves the number of paddlers may be reduced to increase the sea worthiness of the Dragon Boats. Team Managers should be prepared for fielding a reduced crew when required by the race officials at the loading dock. The race officials will announce the crew reduction over the public address system. In the event of a crew reduction the minimum number of women paddlers shall be: 18 paddlers – 7 women, 16 paddlers – 6 women, 14 paddlers – 5 women. In such circumstances the race officials may designate a new start and/or finish line, limit the number of boats in each heat, alter the loading/unloading area or take any other action they deem necessary to maintain safety for race participants and officials.)

Teams shall board the Dragon Boat designated to them and will proceed to the start area on instructions from the race officials.

No more than two spare paddles may be boarded.

When proceeding to the start area at the Old Town Beach, teams shall paddle without entering into the racing lanes regardless of whether the racing lanes are in use or not, so that collisions can be avoided and so that congestion from turning Dragon Boats in the start area can be avoided.

Upon reaching the point of land at the starting area the teams shall paddle past the starting line, turn around and paddle slowly north stopping near the start line facing down their lanes.

Race Procedure
The Referee shall have control of the race prior to the start. Only a Steers-person or Drummer may communicate with the Referee, and such communication shall be kept to an absolute minimum.

At the Referee’s discretion, without waiting for stragglers the referee shall ask the teams to:

“Please approach the start line.”

All teams shall immediately move forward to the middle of their designated lanes, facing straight down the course, not crossing the start line, and holding in position within two meters of the starting line.

If, in the referee’s opinion, a Steers-person is not capable, the referee shall direct that that team withdraw from the race.

Once satisfied, the Referee will transfer control of the race to the Starter with the command:

“Mr./Mdme. Starter, the race is yours.”

The Starter shall assume control of the race with the reply:

“Thank you, Mr./Mdme. Referee.”

The starter will ask each crew to bring their Dragon Boat up to, but not over the start line. The starter will instruct each team as to how to position itself, and may occasionally be assisted by the referee.

Once all teams are in the middle of their lanes, facing straight down the course, not moving forward, and not having crossed the start line, the Starter shall call:

“Your attention please!”

and within 10 seconds sound the start horn.

Upon hearing the starting horn, each team shall proceed to the finish directly along the middle of its racing lane, without crossing out of its racing lane, without encroaching on the side of its racing lane.

A false start shall be indicated by the Starter or Referee sounding 2 blasts on the horn. Steers-persons and Drummers are responsible for noticing if a false start has been called. Dragon Boats should stop paddling and hold water if a false start is signaled. Boats shall remain in their lane and await instructions from the referee.

After a fair start, the Referee shall resume control of the race.

he Referee shall follow the Dragon Boats down the course, and if necessary and where possible, direct Steers-persons to maintain the middle of their lanes.

If a Dragon Boat appears to be losing directional control, is crossing out of its lane, is encroaching on the side of its lane, or is riding the wake of another Dragon Boat, the Referee, at the Referee’s discretion, may either stop that Dragon Boat, or any or all other Dragon Boats, so as to avoid possible collisions.

If the progress of a Dragon Boat is affected by another Dragon Boat, the referee may either:

  1. Halt the race and issue a restart, or
  2. Allow the race to continue and offer the offended team the opportunity to run the course again in a later heat, or
  3. Allow the boat, which was interfered with to finish the race.

(In the event that the offended team is allowed to continue it will be awarded either it’s own finishing time or the time of the boat immediately ahead of it at the time of the interference plus 5 seconds, whichever time is less.)

If, for any reason, circumstances arise such that the Referee, at the Referee’s discretion, determines that a race should be halted, then the Referee shall halt the race and issue a restart

If a Dragon Boat is not steering straight down the course, its crew shall immediately hold the Dragon Boat (jamb their paddles into the water and stop the Dragon Boat) so as to prevent the Dragon Boat from crossing out of its lane or spinning out.

Restarts may take place immediately, or may be held later, at the discretion of the Referee.

A Dragon Boat has completed the race when, in the judgment of the Finish Judge, the forward most part of the Dragon Boat crosses the finish line.

At the finish, the Referee will signal a clean race with a white flag, and a penalty with a red flag. The Referee shall report penalties to the Chief Scorekeeper.

Post-Race Procedure
Upon crossing the finish line, all teams shall pass the point and turn right to the loading docks, being very careful to not turn broadside into Dragon Boats still finishing.

Extra care must be taken to prevent a capsize after crossing the finish line. Teams deliberately capsizing may, at the Referee’s discretion, be disqualified for delaying the festival and/or endangering the competitors.

Paddlers with access to bailing buckets shall bail continuously from the finish until back at the dock. Paddlers shall not splash or otherwise deliberately bring water into the Dragon Boat. Upon arrival at the dock, each Dragon Boat must be substantially free of water and be ready for the next race.

Once reaching the loading area teams shall approach the docks at a dead slow pace so as to avoid collision damage.

Teams shall unload quickly. Place paddles in the barrels and PFDs on the large saw horses as directed by the dock officials. Teams should clear the dock area as soon as possible.

Race Penalties
Teams missing the start of their race shall be disqualified from that race. Neither the Referee, nor the Starter is obliged to wait for teams.

Any Dragon Boat false starting a second time will be disqualified from that race.

Any Dragon Boat affecting the progress of another Dragon Boat will be penalized 20 seconds or at the discretion of the referee, disqualified from that race.

Any Dragon Boat crossing out of its lane but not affecting the progress of another Dragon Boat may be allowed to return to it’s lane and continue racing or it may be required to stop paddling until the area is clear and / or at the discretion of the referee may be disqualified from that race.

Any Dragon Boat not finishing a race for any reason including disqualification will be recorded as Did Not Finish (DNF). As a DNF team will not have a finish time the race officials will, when necessary, seed the team for subsequent races at the Festival’s sole discretion.

Any Dragon Boat not obeying instructions from the Referee may be disqualified at the discretion of the Referee. The onus is on the team, particularly the Drummer and Steers-person, to keep alert to such instructions, particularly while progressing down the course.

Paddlers wishing to use paddles other than those supplied by the festival and generally available to all participants must receive authorization (from the referee only) prior to racing. Any Dragon Boat racing with unapproved, or non-standard or illegal paddles or other equipment, or racing with a crew with an incorrect number of participants, or illegal team make-up according to the rules may be assigned a time penalty or at the Referee’s discretion, be disqualified from the race. If a time penalty is assessed, a minimum of 5 seconds shall be added to the offending team’s race time.

Any team, in the opinion of the Referee, exhibiting unsportsmanlike conduct or unsafe behavior may, at the Referee’s discretion, be disqualified from that race or from that race and the Festival. Any such team shall be required to leave the race area immediately.

Any protest must be lodged in writing by the Team Manager with the Chief Scorekeeper on the point at the finish line within fifteen minutes of the conclusion of the protested race. The cost of lodging a protest is $100, payable in cash at the time of the lodging of the protest.

The Chief Scorekeeper shall summon the Race Referee who shall render a decision.

There is no appeal of the Race Referee’s decision on a protest.

If the application is successful, the $100 protest fee shall be returned to the Team Manager, and the Chief Official shall admonish the Referee with reference to flogging.

The Referee shall make a recommendation to the Chief Official for a remedy in the event of a successful protest.

In the event of a successful protest, the Chief Official may change the official results of the protested race, or invoke a penalty or remedy under the rules, or require the race to be re-run, or may, entirely at their discretion, take any other action or make a ruling they believe is practicable and in the interest of fairness.