The Secret Sculler on Boat Allocation

The Secret Sculler quizzes the Captain, Richard Castling on BOAT ALLOCATION

The Secret Sculler: So Richard … What’s the problem with the existing system of BOAT ALLOCATION?

Richard: The problem with the current system is that it isn’t clear to people which groups or crews can use each boat.  This has meant that people have been using boats that they shouldn’t have.  This of course could have been due to the fact that people either didn’t see or didn’t understand the previous list.  However I also think that there have been some instances of people just taking what they want without seeking permission.

Secret Sculler: What exactly is the new allocation system?

Richard: The new system allocates the boats more clearly to different sections of the club in addition to giving them a “prime racing” or “club racing” classification.  This should mean that it is more obvious who can and can’t use the boats.  Permission will still have to be sought from the captain and vice captains before some of the top boats can be used.

Secret Sculler: And how will the new system work?

Richard: The new system, makes it clear to people which boats they can, and cannot use.  If for example a boat is labelled as being allocated to the men’s first IV and a crew who isn’t the first IV are seen using it, the members could challenge that use, or certainly highlight it to me or the vice captains.  One suggestion for the allocation list was that specific crews were named as users of the boats.  We decided that this wouldn’t work due to the nature of the club with members joining and leaving, rowers are promoted to the top crew etc.  It would be impossible to keep track of these crew changes and update the allocation list.

Secret Sculler: What happens if someone is using a boat that they shouldn’t?

Richard: As I mentioned before if someone is seen using a boat they shouldn’t, then you should either challenge that use … if you feel comfortable with that, or highlight it to me or the vice captains. I realise that it isn’t always obvious that a crew are using a boat that they are not allocated. So if you are unsure about it, ask them if they’ve been told they can use that boat, or ask me and the VCs for clarification.  If, after people have been asked not to use a boat, and continue to use it, then we might have to look at disciplinary procedures, perhaps being invited in front of the exec committee to explain their actions or even a suspension from the club.  We use extremely valuable pieces of equipment every day, many costing tens of thousands of pounds and we must protect these assets.

Secret Sculler: I’ve heard lots of members say that they pay their membership fees and need access to better boats and equipment? What do you say to that?

Richard: It’s quite simple; the best and quickest athletes get the best equipment.  That’s the way that it needs to be.  We have a limited number of boats and we need to make sure that the fastest athletes are in the fastest boats.  If you want to use the top equipment, then dedicate your time to training and get faster.

By the way, the club has spent over £86,000 on boats and equipment over the past few years.  This figure does not include the approximate £9,000 that is spent on repairs each year!  Some sections of the club have put a large amount of effort into fundraising to help raise some of the money.  It would be great if even more people could get involved so that we can keep upgrading (and repairing!) the fleet.

Secret Sculler: And where do I find the new allocation list?

Richard: The allocation list will be posted on the regatta notice board in the locker room and will be posted on the portal.  I’ll also email a copy to every member.  Hopefully everybody will see it.

Secret Sculler: Thanks Richard .. Oh and can you tell me which boats I’ve been allocated?

Richard: Who are you?

Secret Sculler: I’m the secret .. OK, forget it.