Organised by the Bedford Regatta Committee under British Rowing's Rules of Racing
and Guide to Safe Practice in Rowing over a course of 1,200 metres on the River Great Ouse from County Bridge to the Suspension Bridge


Bedford Amateur Regatta will be adopting the new British Rowing Competition Framework for this year’s Regatta. The Committee fully recognises that any change can sometimes be confusing and difficult to understand. The section below explains the new framework. We will do our upmost to try and answer any questions or queries but would emphasise that the new framework is as new to us, as it is to you!

Why has Bedford Regatta decided to adopt the new racing framework?

Throughout the history of the Regatta there have been numerous examples of the adoption of innovation and new ideas. With the introduction of the new framework for all events in 2018 we feel passionate about assisting and driving change. While we acknowledge that there are likely to be challenges introducing the new framework at this year’s Regatta, we believe we have the skillset and knowledge to be at the vanguard of change.

What are British Rowing (BR) doing?

The current points system has been replaced with a ranking index (RI) system which provides a reflection of a rower’s ability and expertise, and creates a fairer level of competition in races. The ranking system takes into account performances in both head races and regattas and also acknowledges race experience as well as event wins.

Why are BR doing it?

In 2014, over 26,000 rowers competed in more than 200 regattas/heads across the country. Of these rowers, 85% of women and 71% of men had just two or fewer sweep points, while 90% of both men and women had two or fewer sculling points. This means the overwhelming majority of British Rowing members fit into just two categories – Novice and IM3, where abilities vary greatly.

How are things changing?

The vast majority of competitors have two or fewer points because the current system only awards points for winning events. Under the new ranking index (RI) system you will earn ranking points (RP) based on your performance in an event, even if you don’t win. The better you perform, the more RI points you will get.

Who came up with the new system?  

The National Competition Committee (NCC) led the consultation process which included rowers, coxes, event organisers, entries secretary, coaches and umpires.  From these consultation sessions, three key themes were clear:

  1. Rowers want to compete at an appropriate level, against rowers of similar ability and expertise;
  2. The need for a competition system that discourages the practice of crews and individuals actively trying to avoid gaining points (and by extension, avoiding racing) so they could compete at a low level; and
  3. The current system, which awards points solely to the winners of events at regattas and nothing for everyone else, as well as no points being awarded at head races then it doesn’t create an accurate profile of a rower’s abilities

When’s it changing?   

British Rowing are already trialling events (e.g. Bedford Head in February) under the new structure (known as “Pathfinder” events.).  During 2017, event organisers will be able to volunteer to use the new system.   Starting in September 2017, BR expect the majority of events to be run on the new system with all events being run on this system by April 2018.  Bedford Regatta have decided to adopt the new framework in 2017.

How can I find out my Ranking points? 

Personal ranking index points have already been allocated based upon 2016’s head and regatta results.  These are viewable on the BR website, by logging onto your personal account and then navigating to the membership section.

How will competitions be organised?  

Given that there will no longer be the usual set categories of IM3, Novice etc. the regatta will categorise events to suit the competitor demands. Designated events will be set up by Ranking Index bands, which could be formed once entries are in.

How are the Event Bands in split events set? 

Event Bands are decided once the entries are in and we can view the ranking points of all of the crews to then decide how to band the events. The number of crews in each band is determined by the number of rounds we wish crews to race i.e. two crews = one round, one race; eight crews = three rounds, seven races.

How will an early close of entries affect race banding?

This year’s entries will close on Wednesday 26th April giving us the time to band crews into their appropriate events.  The ranking points can/will change up to the official close of entries as on the competition poster, but the Personal Ranking Index (PRI) of each competitor will still be considered from the same date for each event.

In 2017, will there be enough data to be able to run events as Ranking Index bands? 

BR have been collecting data from events held in 2016, and have built a competitive dataset on each rower. There is enough data from the 2015/16 and 2016/17 head and regatta seasons to make splitting by bands workable.

Does Bedford Regatta need to advertise how it will split crews between ranking points?

No, we will not show event banding on our poster or websites. When the draw is out we will show the bandings used for the event.

Do we need to check each member of every crew as they boat? 

No. The club and competitor are still responsible to boat the individuals in each crew that have been entered. The rules on checking crews have not changed as it has always been the responsibility of the crew to inform the competition of changes.

How often will the points update? 

The points will update after each competition as results are submitted by regatta and head race administrators/competition organisers and will count towards the competitor’s next race if they are more than eight days apart.

What’s happening to British Rowing Online Entries (BROE1)?  

BROE1 has been developed and renamed BROE2 to incorporate the new Ranking Index system.  The functionality of the application has been updated with new additional features.

How will head races and regattas points compare?  

The number of ranking points gained is directly related to the number of crews in each event and how well the crew performs. This applies to all events whether a regatta or head race, which both have a similar number of crews racing.

How will rankings be calculated?  The ranking will be aggregated from points won at each event. These will depend upon the number of people participating in competitions.

From this, an average across the eight highest scoring events (after depreciation with age has been taken into account) will be taken, with up to five years’ worth of results being used (if you have been competing that long). If less than eight events have been entered then a secondary Ranking Index called the PRI Max is calculated. This is calculated based on the average PRI for the events that have been entered and then multiplied up to eight events. This is to ensure that those racing from overseas, anyone who has taken a break from the sport or is new to the sport has a comparable PRI to those racing more frequently.

If a competitor enters more than one event in a competition, only the highest ranking in each of the sweep and sculling disciplines will be used in the calculation of the Personal Ranking Index.

Why will juniors have their own categories?  

There is enough evidence of the difference in speeds between juniors aged between 11 and 18 and Seniors to keep the current classifications. Equally if junior’s want to race in senior events then they will have PRI points to be able to do so. Under the current system they can.

What are Placeholders?

If you don't know the exact composition of a crew (or somebody has forgotten to renew their BR membership), you no longer have to put a random oarsman in. You can instead just leave the name blank.   Any blank spaces MUST be filled in by the time entries close on the 26th April 2017.

How will Bedford Regatta work in practice in 2017?

  • Senior Events will be assigned by the Regatta entries team to bands, which will be determined by information in BROE2;
  • Junior events will be largely unaffected, and these categories will be available as usual on BROE2;
  • Bands with their designated event name will be declared on the draw;
  • Entries will open on BROE2 in Mid-March with eights and fours’ events offered in Men’s and Women's, College, Open and Junior categories.
  • The Regatta will ask you to provide an estimate of how fast each crew actually is – fast, medium or slow. We're hoping that this will be useful in determining which bands to put crews into, as the Ranking Points that have accrued so far might not be an accurate reflection of a crew's speed and  ability. This approach was recently used at the Bedford Eights and Fours Head and proved an accurate way of helping with the banding of events.
  • Once entries close, or we're close to being full, we will split entries into the bands that we deem most appropriate, taking into account any requests made by individual crews.
  • Crews will be able to indicate if they wish to double up at the Regatta in either an eight and fours event or in more than one eight’s/fours banding. 
  • If you don't know the exact composition of a crew (or somebody has forgotten to renew their BR membership), you no longer have to put a random oarsman in. You can instead just leave the name blank. Any blank spaces MUST be filled in by the time entries close.

If you have any questions relating to the new framework, e-mail


Event Details...................

For 2017 the Committee will run the Regatta under the new British Rowing competition framework.

Eights and fours only - The following events are offered, though we will be pleased to consider other events if there is demand. Please contact the Secretary if you have any suggested new events.

- Engraved pewter tankards for ALL event winners; and


Entry Fees


Men’s (Open) Events


Women’s Events



(£80 If payment received by Wednesday 3rd May, £96 otherwise)




Eights (All bandings)

Junior 18 *

Junior 16 

Junior 15 *

Octo J14 *



Eights (All bandings)

Junior 18

Junior 16

Junior 15

Octo J14




(£40 If payment received by Wednesday 3rd May, £48 otherwise)

Fours (All bandings)

Junior 18

Junior 16

Junior 15 *



Fours (All bandings)

Junior 18

Junior 16

Junior 15 *




(£40 If payment received by Wednesday 3rd May, £48 otherwise)

Junior 18 coxless

Junior 16 coxless

Junior 15 coxed

Junior 14 coxed *


Coxed Quad

Junior 18 coxless

Junior 16 coxless

Junior 15 coxed

Junior 14 coxed *



(£40 If payment received by Wednesday 3rd May, £48 otherwise)



Fours (All bandings)


Fours (All bandings)



* 1st/2nd/3rd boat events will be offered in these events..

British On Line Entry 2 (BROE2) entries close 6pm on Wednesday 26th April, or when we reach full capacity, whichever is earlier.

The draw will take place at Bedford Rowing Club from noon on Sunday 30th April, with the draw published on Monday 1st May 2017.

The committee reserves the right to cancel any event unless at least four entries are received. In the event of the Regatta being over-subscribed, entries will be reduced in as fair a way as possible.

British Rowing (BR) Licences

All competitors representing BR clubs must have a valid BR competition licence and you must quote its number with your entry. Please check that your licence starts with the numbers 201705xxxxxx or higher. You can renew Online via the BR website here.

Competitors representing clubs affiliated to Scottish Rowing, or to overseas clubs, are exempt from the BR licensing requirements providing they are representing a Club affiliated to Scottish Rowing or an overseas rowing association.

Overseas/Scottish crews must contact the BR in order to submit entries via BROE2.

NOTE: The British Rowing membership insurance is only valid for UK residents who are resident in this country for more than six months in a year.

Priority in Accepting Entries

In all previous years at Bedford Amateur Regatta we have received more entries than we can cope with in a single day. It is just as disappointing for us, as it is for you, to have to turn entries away.

Our limitation is the number of races that we can stage - 11 hours of racing, with races at 2 minutes’ intervals lets us have approximately 320 races.

We are quite systematic about how we decide which entries to accept or reject within an event, as follows. Entries are categorised as:

  • Confirmed - completed via BROE2 and payment received.
  • Provisional - completed via BROE2, but no payment received.

Note that entries are placed on the confirmed list in the order in which the payments are received, and not according to the date of the provisional entry into the BROE2 system.

Hence in order to have the greatest chance of being accepted into the regatta we would recommend you enter early - with immediate payment. Last minute entries are unlikely to get in!!

Entry Fees

All events cost £10.00/head (coxes free) for entries where payment is received by Wednesday 3rd May, otherwise £12 / head.

  • £80 for all eights,
  • £40 for all fours/quads,

Once entries close and your entry is accepted you are liable for your entry fee whether you race or not.

How to make entries......................

Entries will open at the beginning of April and close at 6pm on Wednesday 26th April 2017 or whenever our maximum capacity is reached.

Bank details for direct payment can be found on BROE2.  We request that if you use this method that you clearly state your CLUB NAME as the reference and send us a brief e-mail ( to confirm payment. Once received we will mark it as such on BROE2.

Payment by cheque payable to ‘Bedford Amateur Regatta’, posted to:
Entries Secretary,
47a, Church End,
MK40 4AS

Phone Entries Secretary on
01234 269122

Entry Confirmation
Entry confirmation will be e-mailed to the club contact nominated in BROE2. If your club would like it e-mailed to someone else, please notify us on the above e-mail address. Please ensure that your contact details are up to date on BROE2 to ensure that we are able to contact club representatives quickly and efficiently with any regatta information.

Doubling up is at the competitor’s risk and is ONLY permitted in any TWO events at the discretion of the Committee. Such entries will only be accepted if they can be fitted in the programme, on the clear understanding that programme timing must be adhered to.


Notes and Conditions of Entry

  • Bedford Amateur Regatta is held under the BR rules of racing and will conform to the Rowsafe: Guide to Safe Practice in Rowing (
  • Competitors will provide their own boats, oars and sculls, which must conform to current British Rowing rules especially in respect of heel restraints and bowball security. All boats and equipment are brought to the regatta at the owner's risk. All boats must display their Environmental Agency identification code at all times.
  • The course is 1,200 metres, two lane. A pontoon start is intended unless conditions do not permit this. All races are bank umpired over the whole course.
  • Clubs may alter the details of their entries at any time up to the close of entries.
  • All events are subject to a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 16 entries (If the maximum is exceeded we will endeavour to create two divisions). Our aim is to allow as many people to race as possible within the confines of the racing day and creating a safe manageable day.
  • If the regatta is oversubscribed entries may be closed early.
  • Substitutions will be permitted on BROE2 up until Wednesday before the Regatta and within normal substitution rules ie: not more than half a crew.
  • No doubling up or boat sharing is allowed in any one event. We will endeavour to arrange the timetable so as to minimise clashes between events, but reserve the right to refuse entries where these impose severe difficulties in the scheduling of races. Doubling up and boat sharing is at your own risk.
  • Competitors may not enter more than two events.
  • Crews that scratch after the close of entries will be liable for payment of their entry fees. In the event of postponement or cancellation of the Regatta we will endeavour to refund entry fees on a pro rata basis once our unavoidable costs have been covered. In the event of a partial cancellation or cancellation of specific events on the day, no refunds will be made.
  • Please ensure that you include a contact name, address and telephone number on BROE2 so that we can return the draw to you and contact you when entries close if necessary. The draw will also be displayed on this website.
  • Please note that this event, in common with all rowing events, may be photographed by amateurs or professionals who sell their photographs. By entering you recognise that you may be photographed in this way.

Special note to coaches of inexperienced crews

We expect to have a full programme of races throughout the day at 2 minute gaps. In the last few years we have experienced some delays to races involving the most inexperienced crews. These delays have primarily been caused by the inability of the least experienced crews to back down and attach themselves to the start pontoon, or to cope with a cross wind at the start.

We wish to encourage all levels of grass-roots rowing and we all have to compete at our first regatta somewhere, but it spoils the regatta for other competitors including from your own club if the event is delayed by a small number of crews who aren't quite ready to compete. Please ensure that all your entries have sufficient watermanship skills to get themselves attached to the start promptly when called and then to stay straight.

If this is the first regatta your crew has ever attended, it might be wise to practise these skills at your own club before the regatta.

We reserve the right to prevent crews who cannot attach to the starting pontoons from racing.


Frequently Asked Questions

What sets Bedford Amateur Regatta apart from the rest?

  • This Regatta is for eights and fours only utilising the new competition framework;
  • Pint pewter tankards are awarded to all winners of main events;
  • Our entry fees represent excellent value at only £10.00/seat (coxes free) [NOTE: these rates are only for fees received by a notified date, a late payment penalty applies to fees received after this date]
  • Unfortunately, the Rowing Almanack no longer includes a table of the number of entries to regattas, but we feel fairly safe in saying that Bedford Amateur Regatta remains one of the largest one-day river regattas in the country. We have been forced to turn away a number of entries in recent years as there physically isn't the space on the river or time in the day to run with more crews than we accepted. Clubs will be advised by post with refund cheques to follow where appropriate.

What events are offered?

  • See details above for the wide range of events including J14 octuple and quad events for those crews who might wish to get some race practice before the National Schools Regatta three weeks later;
  • If there is sufficient demand, we will consider offering additional events. Write/phone/ e-mail your requests for additional events to us. Keep an eye on our page on the Bedford Regatta website for latest details.

What prizes do we provide?

  • Winners of all main finals will receive an engraved pewter tankard each.

Can I compete in more than one event?

  • Yes, but doubling-up is at your risk and is ONLY permitted in any TWO events at the discretion of the Committee. Our draw software can detect where individuals are doubling-up, but not boats. To be on the safe side, any doubling MUST BE REQUESTED in the notes field on the BROE2 entry. Such entries will only be accepted if they can be fitted in the programme, on the clear understanding that programme timing must be adhered to.
  • With the co-operation of our competitors and the expertise of our umpires and marshals, we have built up an excellent reputation for racing a packed schedule on time. Our sophisticated draw software manages this by running thousands of iterations of the race timetable to avoid clashes of those doubling-up or boat sharing; it is only as good as the information that it is provided with so (at the risk of labouring the point) please clearly specify any doubling-up with each entry concerned.

What is a College crew?

  • For the purpose of Bedford Amateur Regatta we define a College Crew as one which is made up of students from colleges of higher education and NOT Schools with the title College.
  • All members of a College Crew need to be studying at the same College, composite crews are not permitted.

Do I need to be registered with British Rowing for the 'College' events?

  • Yes. This is an open event under British Rowing's Rules of Racing, as are all of the other events on offer, therefore all crew members (including the cox) need to be registered. See the British Rowing Website for details of membership and application forms. We are told that British Rowing are returning applications by return of post at the moment so there is plenty of time to get registered before the day of the Regatta.

How do the 1st boat/'Other' boat events above work?

  • It is the intention that these events are for clubs making at least one entry in the '1st boat' category, even if you are not entering your actual '1st boat' in the regatta. However, we are aware that some schools have entries for their first boats at other regattas instead of Bedford and would therefore look to make an entry in these events without making a '1st boat' entry. The Committee is minded to accept entries in these circumstances ONLY, not just because you don't feel that the crew would be competitive in the 1st boat event.
  • Please provide supporting information in the notes field of your BROE entry to justify any entries in the 'others' event where no '1st boat' entry is made. The Committee reserves the right to move or reject entries as it feels appropriate to ensure that these events run in the spirit that they are intended.
  • In the event of insufficient entries, crews entered in the 'others' events will be merged with the '1st boat' entries. Please state clearly in the notes if you do not wish your "other" crew to race if this happens.

What are the School 2nd and 3rd boat events?

  • These events run on a large element of trust, in the same way as the '1st boat'/'Others' events as noted above. It is the intention to give meaningful races with a chance of victory to those crews that are not expected to be fully competitive in the main junior event. In order that these events are not qualifying for racing status points, the Regatta offers this as a special event that will be drawn on the day. You must enter the crew on BROE with the rest of your crews to gain a place in the draw. To make this happen, all entrants must be entered for one other event in the Regatta, the 2nd and 3rd boat events can then fall within the definition of a 'fun' event created on the day under British Rowing's Rules of Racing.

Travelling to the Regatta

  • Please note that due to the large number of entries normally received, it is necessary to start these events early in the morning to accommodate the number of rounds. We therefore recommend you take this into consideration when planning travel arrangements. As a guide, entrants in the most popular events may be racing as early as 8.15am with finals as late as 7.30pm.

Can I make online entries using BROE2?

  • Yes, please see the British Rowing's race entry site for details. Cheque payment must be sent to the entries secretary to hold your place in the event. Please note that we are now accepting payment through BROE2.

Can I pay by card?

  • If you wish to pay by card you will have to do this through BROE2.

What about Environment Agency Boat Licensing?

  • Please note that ALL boats taking part in this year’s Regatta must be licensed with the Environment Agency. Any boats not licensed are liable to be fined by the Environment Agency. It is the responsibility of all competing clubs and NOT the Regatta to ensure that they have the requisite licenses.
  • Day licences are not available from British Rowing OR the Regatta but can be obtained directly from the Environment Agency. See this information from British Rowing for further details.

What is the Regatta's cancellation policy?

  • Entries cancelled or withdrawn prior to the draw will receive a full refund.
  • In the unlikely event of a total cancellation of the Regatta, we will endeavour to refund entry fees on a pro rata basis once our unavoidable costs have been covered. In the event of a partial cancellation or cancellation of specific events on the day, no refunds will be made.

N.B. You MUST, MUST, MUST have your valid Racing Licence (with photograph affixed) with you at this event, or you will not be allowed to take your prize home and may even be prevented from competing!!! British Rowing are turning around applications very quickly at the moment, so if you aren’t registered apply now.