Frequently Asked Questions

This page provides answers to questions the SRC are most frequently asked. If you have question you believe fellow competitors would equally want answered on this page, please email it to


Why do I have to stay in the centre of the lane?

The simple reason is you must not get yourself in a position where you interfere with the progress of, or seek to take advantage from, other competitors.

BCU SRC Regulation 26 states that your boat must not come within 5 metres of a competitor’s boat, which includes the blades of your paddles. So, the tip of your blade must not come within 5 metres of the tip of the competitor’s blade in the adjoining lane. See the diagram below. If you get too close to a competitor you might be accused of deliberately distracting them. BCU SRC Regulation 27 states that you are not allowed to take pace from other boats, so staying in the centre of the lane does help you avoid the temptation to try and wash-hang. So, the simple way to make the race as fair as possible for every competitor, especially if you are racing side-by-side, is to stay in the central 4 metres.

However, we also appreciate that in certain weather conditions you can easily be pushed off-centre by the wind and water turbulence and this is quite understandable, so we just ask you to make every effort to remedy the situation and get back to the centre of the lane as soon as possible and at least within the next 100m.

If paddlers deviate outside the central 4 metres the Boat Umpires are duty-bound to report the deviation to the officials in the Tower and the decision as to whether you are disqualified or not will rest with the Competition Committee and will probably depend on whether your deviation had an effect on another competitor or not. For obvious reasons, we tend to be a little more lenient on the juniors and less experienced.

Lane measurements
Lane measurements

For more detailed information please read BCU rules 26, 27 and 28 and have a look at the Lane Regulations page.


What if my boat is too heavy?

The bottom line is it doesn’t really matter. Too many athletes worry about being at a disadvantage if their boat is heavier than the minimum required weight, so much so that some will try to cheat and race with an underweight boat.

How a boat travels through the water depends on a lot of things including, the shape of the boat’s hull, the displacement of the water, how high your seat is and your overall centre of gravity and, not least, the athlete’s ability and paddling technique. So, for example, if your K1 weighs 12.0kg, 12.5kg or anything in-between, it’s not going to make much difference to your overall performance, so don’t get hung up about it.


What if my boat weighs less than the minimum required weight?

If you get caught racing in an underweight boat then you will be disqualified.

BCU SRC Regulation 9 states the minimum weights, so you need to race in a boat that weighs at least that weight or heavier. BCU SRC Regulation 12 states that boats must not be tampered with between the time a boat has been weighed and the competition/race has taken place.

At a National regatta competitors are not obliged to have their boats weighed before their race, although they can do for their own peace of mind if they wish. However, competitors may be called into Boat Control immediately after their race, and this means immediately, without the boat being tampered with between the race finishing and the boat being weighed.

In most races Boat Control will inspect one of the boats in each race, selected at random. However, in the races that are designated National championship races, the first four across the line will be called to Boat Control.

Boat Control inspect the boat in accordance with BCU SRC Regulation 12, which means you must remove every single loose item from your boat. Typically, this includes things like:

  • the number board,
  • the foam on your seat, especially if it is absorbent,
  • any stones or weights that are now loose, having broken loose during the race, even though they had appeared to be fixed and firm when you started the race,
  • sponges, chamois leathers and any other absorbent item that may be hidden under your seat,
  • canoe knee rests (fixed knee rests must be dried),
  • … and so on.

You also should be aware that the weight of your boat will change depending on the temperature. Boats are lighter when it is a hot day, so if you are in doubt about the weight, especially if the weight is close to the minimum permitted weight, play safe and weigh your boat before you race.

The weight of your boat is the weight measured using the Boat Control weighing scales on the day of the regatta, not the scales at your club or your kitchen scales at home, so please don’t argue with the Boat Control officials.

For more detailed information please read ‘Minimum boat weights and maximum boat lengths’ on the National Sprint Regulations page.


What is a "Hody-style K2" that can be used in the Mini Sprints?

For the Mini Sprint Series, a "Hody-style K2" is a junior-sized double kayak that has a very similar specification (length, width, weight) of hull design and construction to a Hody K2 but is not restricted to being of Hody manufacture. If you are unsure as to eligibility of a new or different manufacturer’s boat, please check with the Chief Official before the regatta.

Please note: other than when used in the Mini Sprint events these Hody-style K2s may require additional weights to conform to the standard required for use in any Class or Championship race.