Rules & Regulations
Lure of the Dragons is not a USDBF-sanctioned race. However, we do follow many of the same rules. Please familiarize yourself with these rules & regs before the races so you'll know exactly what to expect.
Introduction: The Rules of Racing (Racing Rules) that follow have been formulated for use in the Lure of the Dragons (LOTD) Races. These races are NOT sanctioned by the IDBF.
These rules are created by the Lure of the Dragons Race Board and are specific to the Annual Lure of the Dragons Race event only.
The Lure of the Dragons Race Board (LOTDRB) accepts and appreciates the fact that the design and competitive use of the Chinese Dragon Boat can and does, vary around the world. The established International Dragon Boat Races are mainly for club-based crews and the Lure of the Dragons Race Board does not wish to change this traditional status quo except for when the IDBF Rules do not or can not apply to our event.
However, competition between crews selected to represent their club cannot effectively take place without a local governing body, such as the LOTDRB, guiding such development and representing the interests of its members with other sports and organizations.
It is accepted by LOTD participants that if competition is to take place in a meaningful and acceptable way, then the rules under which they are conducted should be standardized. These Rules of Racing have been formulated with this in mind.
Many of them are in use in traditional Dragon Boat Races, or in other water sports with similar requirements to that of Dragon Boat Racing. The remainder have been formulated from the practical experience gained in organizing the LOTD Races.
The Duties of Race Officials which are equally valid for any level of competition, are also included in these rules.
These Rules of Racing are primarily for the LOTD Races and LOTD organized or sanctioned races for crews. They should be used for the LOTD Races, when practical to do so. Organizers of other races may use them if appropriate, provided the words "This competition is being run under the Racing Rules of the Lure of the Dragons Racing Board" are published in the program.
R2. CONTROL OF THE COMPETITION
R2.1 Technical Officials.
LOTD Races shall be held under the supervision of the following Technical Race Officials:
Chief Boat Marshal
Chief Dock Marshal
R2.2 For LOTD Races, if circumstances permit, one person may function in two of the above offices. Additionally, officials may be appointed by the Race Director to cover such areas as photo-finish and aligning.
R2.3 Supporting Officials.
The following Race Officials are deemed to be Supporting Officials.
R2.4 Competition Committee.
For LOTD Races and Events, the top technical management of the competition shall be in the hands of a COMPETITION COMMITTEE, which shall consist of the following officials.
R3. DUTIES OF THE RACE OFFICIALS
R3.1 The Chief Judge.
The Chief Judge is responsible for organizing the Finish Line and shall record the order of the boats crossing the Finish Line independently of any Finish Line Judges. The Chief Judge shall:
- In the event of a difference of opinion between Judges over the placings of the crews, adjudicate and have a casting vote
- When photo-finish equipment is used, act on the advice provided by the photo-finish operator
- Notify the Finish Line Judge in good time before a race starts and after, confirm with the Race Director, the finishing order of the race. The Chief Judge may also be the Chief Time-Keeper
R3.2 The Finish Line Judges.
The Finish Line Judges, when appointed, decide the order in which the boats have passed the Finish Line. Where at all possible, there should be one Judge for each boat in a race. The Judges shall be situated at the Finish Line with a clear line of sight over the Finish Line, to the other post directly opposite the far side of the regatta course. The Finish Line Judges may also act as Time-Keepers.
R3.3 The Chief Time-Keeper.
Times should be recorded by means of stopwatches or electronic timing systems. The Chief Time-Keeper shall, before each race, ensure that all stopwatches are tested and/or electronic timing systems set and shall divide the work among the Time-Keepers.
- The timing will start on the signal from the Starter. Each race shall be timed by at least two stop watches or electronic devices; one of which shall be a control clock operated by the Chief Time-Keeper.
- At the end of the race, the Chief Time-Keeper shall compare the times recorded by the Time-Keepers against the Control Clock. In the event of a time not being agreed upon, the Control Clock shall be taken as correct.
- The Chief Official shall then be notified if the agreed times. In the event of a time not being recorded, this will be shown in the results as No Time (NT). The time recorded by the crew for the crew is secondary information and shall have no bearing on the finish order of the race.
R3.4 The Time-Keepers.
Time-Keepers, when appointed, shall record the times of the boats as they cross the Finish Line. Where possible, there should be one Time-Keeper for each boat in the race. The Time-Keepers may also act as Judges.
R3.4 The Starters. There will be a Chief Starter and at least one Race Starter appointed by the Chief Official. The Chief Starter is directly responsible to the Chief Official for the efficiency of the starting facilities and procedures in conjunction with the Chief Umpire or other designated Course Official detailed to witness each start (The Chief Starter may also act as the Race Starter).
The Race Starter shall decide all questions concerning the start of a race and shall inform the crews of their Racing Lanes in accordance with the Race Program. If the Starter is positioned behind the crews, then the presence of an Aligner is required, who is responsible for deciding any False Starts. If the Starter is positioned to one side of the crews, then the Starter may also act as the Aligner, including the responsibility for False Starts. The Starter shall:
- Before starting a race, communicate with the Chief Official to confirm that all is ready at the Finish. When this confirmation is received, the Starter shall call the boats to their places on the Start Line.
- Check that the starting gun, or other starting device is in good working order before carrying out the starting procedures in accordance with the Rules of Racing.
R3.5 The Aligner.
When the boats are in the Starting Area, the Aligner shall be responsible for check each crews attire, the number of competitors in each boat, and each Dragon Boat's number. The Aligner will ensure that the composition of each crew is correct; for example, the number of females in a Mixed Crew. The Aligner shall:
- Bring the boats to the Start Line when they are called forward by the Starter and align them on the Start Line. When all the boats are level and correctly aligned, the Aligner shall notify the Starter.
- When all the crews have indicated that they are ready, the Aligner shall raise a white flag which shall remain raised until the race has started. In the event of a False Start, a Red Flag shall be raised immediately and the white flag lowered.
R3.6 The Chief Boat Marshal.
The Chief Boat Marshal shall be responsible for the efficiency of the Crew Assembly and Boat Marshalling Areas and shall direct the work of the Race Officials working in these areas. The Chief Boat Marshal shall:
- Confirm that the crews have been correctly called forward to the Crew Assembly Area; carry out any random checks, authorized by the Chief Official to confirm the identity of the competitors. Record the number of competitors in each boat against the appropriate Crew List and ensure that the composition of each crew is correct; for example, the number of females in a Mixed Crew.
- Call the crews forward from the Crew Assembly Area to the Boat Marshalling Area in sufficient time to ensure that all crews in a race embark and reach the Starting Area in good time for their race.
- Ensure that all competitors who are using their own paddles have their paddles checked by the Boat Marshals to ensure that they are to the specification of the competition.
- Check that all crews are "Fit to Race" and, if any competitor or crew is not fit, notify the Chief Official and ensure that they do not race.
R3.7 The Boat Marshals.
The Boat Marshals shall supervise the crews in the Crew Assembly Area and ensure that all boats and equipment conform to the LOTD Boat Regulations and are compatible with all others in use at the competition. The Boat Marshals shall:
- Check that all boats and equipment are in good racing condition before and after each race and that each boat has two spare paddles on board at all times. When race paddles are provided by the Organizing Committee, the Marshals shall ensure that a full set per boat remains on the dock.
- Allocate crews to boats according to the Race Program and ensure that the right crews are embarked in the right boats before the crews leave the dock. Check that crews do not strap themselves into the boat in any way.
- Ensure that each crew is embarked safely and the PFD's are available and worn by each person on the boat.
R3.8 The Safety Officer.
The Safety Officer is responsible for all matters concerning the safety of the competing crews whilst they are on the water. The Safety Office shall ensure that the following facets of safety have been planned and provided for:
- That an Event Safety Plan is made to cover emergency procedures and major incidents and that all details are communicated to all Crew Managers and Race Officials
- That a suitable number of trained personnel and properly equipped rescue craft are available. That Personal Flotation Devices (PFD's) are available.
- That the arrangements for embarking and disembarking crews are suitable and adequate for the number of competitors involved.
- The establish an effective communication system between the Safety Officer, the Safety Boats (rescue crafts), and the Chief Official and to ensure that the correct rescue procedures are adopted in the event of a crew capsizing.
- The Safety Officer shall be personally responsible for ensuring that a head count of crew members from a capsized boat takes place when the crew returns to land and before any of the rescue crafts are stood down.
R4. CONDUCT OF CREWS
R4.1 Crews must follow the directions of the Race Officials at all times during the competition. Failure to do so may result in action being taken under the LOTD Disciplinary Code or, if appropriate, the disqualification of the competitor or crew concerned. The Disciplinary Code as published in the Annexes forms part of the Rules and Regulations should be read in conjunction.
R4.2 Any Dragon Boat Crew or competitor who attempts to win a race by other than honorable means, or who deliberately breaks the Racing Rules, or who disregards the honorable nature of the rules shall face disqualification from the competition.
R4.3 It is forbidden during a race for a crew to receive outside help or coaching, or to be accompanied by other boats along the course, even outside the racing lanes. Such acts will result in disciplinary actions taken against the crew(s) concerned.
R4.4 The Drummer. The Drummer shall sit on the drummers seat provided and once the boat has cleared the Starting Area, which is deemed to be 50 meters from the Start Line, must actively beat the drum throughout the race. That is, the drum must be clearly seen to be struck with a drum stick on the drum skin at short, regular intervals. Failure to actively beat the drum will result in disciplinary action being taken against the crew concerned.
R5. MARSHALLING / EMBARKING
R5.1 Crew Responsibility. It is the crews responsibility to ensure that the dragon boat and its equipment is fully functional and water-worthy. Boats and equipment must be carefully checked before embarking. The Race Organizer cannot be held responsible for any boat or equipment failure once a crew has embarked and left the Boat Marshalling Area.
R5.2 Paddle Breakage / Equipment Failure. Crews are advised to carry two (2) spare paddles of the approved design for the event, in each Dragon Boat they use during the competition. These may be used only in the even that a paddle breakage occurs during a race. If any other equipment failure happens within fifty (50) meters of the Start Line, the Starter will call a re-start.
R5.3 Crews must report to the Crew Assembly Area and be ready to embark at the time stated in the Race Program. This will normally be 10-15 minutes before the race time. Crew identity checks may be carried out by Race Officials in the Crew Assembly Area and competitors must, if so checked, be able to produce the required competition identity bracelet on request. Failure to do so may result in the disqualification of the competitor concerned from the competition class, at the Chief Officials discretion.
R5.4 Boats. Crews will not normally be permitted to choose or reserve a boat. The LOTDRB provides 4 boats for competition and does not allow crews to supply their own boats.
R5.5 Embarking. When called forward to the Boat Marshalling Area, the crews must embark in accordance with the instructions of the Boat Marshals who will ensure that each crew is embarked in the boat allocated to them in the Racing Lane draw.
R5.6 Movement up the Course. After a crew has embarked, it must leave the dock immediately and proceed directly to the start area. The crew is not allowed to stop in the Racing Lane unless there is a boat or crew member emergency.
R5.7 Changes to Crew Numbers.
Once a crew has loaded in the boat and left the boarding dock, changes of crew members or additions to the number of paddlers in the boat will not be permitted unless expressly agreed to by the Chief Boat Marshal before the boat leaves the boarding dock. Such changes shall be by exception and do not include the change over or addition of paddlers due to tardiness or unexplained absence. Any such decisions must be notified immediately to the Chief Official by the Chief Boat Marshal.
R6. STARTS AND STARTING PROCEDURES
R6.1. Start Area.
It is the Boat Captain's responsibility to make sure that each crew member is familiar with the starting procedures. All crews shall assemble behind the Start Line at least three (3) minutes before their Start Time. No later than two (2) minutes before the actual Start Time, the crews will be called forward and placed into the Racing Lanes by the Starter or Aligner, in accordance with the Race Program.
R6.2. Late Arrivals.
The Starter may warn a crew arriving late in the start area and if such a warning is given, it shall have the same effect as one given for a False Start for that race. Alternatively, the Starter may take action under the LOTD Disciplinary Code and issue warning(s), or award, if appropriate, a Time Penalty of up to five (5) seconds to any crew arriving late in the Start Area, or for failing to come up to the Starting Line when called. The Starter may start a race without reference to absentees.
R6.3. Racing Lane.
A crew must race in the lane allocated to its boat. In the event that only one boat remains at the start of a scheduled race, that crew will be required to paddle the course to register a qualifying time for participation in subsequent rounds.
R6.4. Starting Position.
The position of the Dragon Boats on the Start Line shall be that the foremost part of the competing boats (which will include Dragon Heads) shall be aligned.
The Dragon Boats will be positioned on the Start Line by the paddlers following instruction from the Starter and/or Aligner. For example, a boat may be called to paddle forward two strokes or paddle back one stroke. Once a Dragon Boat is aligned, the crew will be instructed to hold the boat. However, once the Starter has alerted the crews, there must be no paddle movement in the water until the START command has been given.
R6.6. Starters Commands.
When the Starter and/or the Aligner is satisfied that all the boats are correctly aligned, the Starter shall alert the crews by saying "ARE YOU READY?". If the crew is NOT READY, then the Drummer must immediately raise a hand above head height to indicate the situation to the Starter.
R6.7. Starting Signals.
When the Starter is satisfied that all the crews are ready, the starting signals of the words "ATTENTION PLEASE", followed by an Air Horn signal. The interval between the words "ATTENTION PLEASE" and the Air Horn signal shall not exceed five (5) seconds.
R6.8. False Starts.
If a crew starts after the words "ATTENTION PLEASE" but before the Air Horn Signal, it has made a false start. The Aligner shall indicate a False Start by raising a Red Flag. The Starter shall immediately recall the crews by shouting "STOP STOP STOP" or by a quick, double-tap on the Air Horn.
R6.9. The Drummers Task.
It is also incumbent upon the Drummer to watch the Aligner and Starter and instruct the crew to STOP when a False Start has been called.
Once all the crews have returned to the start, the Starter will identify the crew or crews responsible for the False Start and warn them of the offence. If the same crew(s) cause two (2) False Starts, the Starter may exclude them from the race, or alternatively award a TIME PENALTY of five (5) seconds to the offending crew. Any crew that fails to return to the Start Line immediately after a False Start has been called may also exclude them from the race, or alternatively award a TIME PENALTY of five (5) seconds to the offending crew.
R6.11. Jumping the Start.
When a crew "Jumps the Start", which for the purposes of the Rules of Racing, means that a crew has anticipated the Starters START command to the extent that a False Start cannot be called but, in the opinion of the Starter, a material advantage has been gained by the crew or crews concerned over the other, the Starter may award Time Penalties of from two (2) up to a maximum of five (5) seconds against the crew or crews in question.
R6.12. Damage to boats at the Start.
If a crew, whilst in the start area indicated to the Aligner and/or Starter before being called to the Starting Line, that it has suffered damage to its boat or equipment, the Starter may delay the race for a maximum of 5 minutes to allow the crew some time to effect a repair. If a repair cannot be effected, the Starter may delay the race until a replacement boat or equipment can be procured.
R6.13. Equipment Failure off the Start. In the event of a crew experiencing equipment failure; for example a broken Drummers seat or Steering Arm/Oar (but not a paddle), off the start and up to fifty (50) meters after it, the race will be restarted, providing the crew concerned stops paddling immediately and both the Drummer and Paddlers raise their arms fully in the air. In this case, the Starter will carry out the same procedures as for a False Start.
R7. RACE CONDUCT.
R7.1. Correct Course and Clear Water.
The correct course for each boat is a 'straight line' down the course, from the Start Line to the Finish Line. Crews are responsible for their steering and deviate from their 'line' at their own risk. Even when crews are in their Racing Lane or following a 'race line', at least one (1) meter of clear water must be maintained around each boat. For the purpose of this rule, the boat includes paddles and therefore, the 'clear water' is between paddle blade and adjacent paddle blade. Crews must 'give clear water' when told to by the Course Umpire. In 500 meter races, the crew may NOT deviate from their assigned Racing Lane.
A non-Disciplinary Code, Time Penalty of five (5) seconds may be awarded by a Race Official against a crew that leaves its Racing Lane or impedes another crew, whether or not the action of the crew concerned has materially affected the result of the race. (A crew that has gone 'off line' due to an involuntary steering error and in correcting the error leaves its Racing Lane shall not normally be penalized under this Rule unless another crew is impeded and the race result materially affected.)
R7.3. Wake Riding (Wash Hanging).
It is forbidden for a crew to 'wake ride'; that is to gain an advantage for the wake or wash of another boat by paddling across the angle of its bow wave and gaining an increase in speed by 'riding' the forward face of the wave. Race Officials shall decide if wake riding (wash hanging) has occurred and notify the Chief Official accordingly, who will then decide what action to take.
When a boat is overtaking another boat in a race, it is the duty of the overtaking boat to give clear water to the overtaken boat. Similarly, the boat being overtaken is not allowed to alter its course to make difficulties for the overtaking boat.
In the event of a collision between two (2) boats, the Umpires MUST report the circumstances to the Chief Official, who may disqualify the offending boat(s) or, if the result of the race has been materially affected, order one or more boats to re-race before the next round of the competition. When, in the opinion of the Chief Official, one or more of the crews involved could have avoided the collision by taking corrective action, for example, to stop paddling, but did not do so, then the crew or crews will be disqualified from the competition class concerned and may face disqualification from the whole competition.
R7.6. Distress Signal.
If a crew is in distress, for example, a crew member lost overboard, then the Drummer or Helm shall alert the Rescue Boats and Umpires by waving vigorously, above head height, the red flag is carries in the boat for this purpose.
However, a distress signal given without just cause will result in action being taken against the crew under the Disciplinary Code.
R7.8. Boat Swamping, Deliberate Capsizing.
If, in the opinion of the Chief Official, a boat has been swamped or capsized deliberately, or by another crew during the course of a race, the Competition Committee may disqualify the crew or crews concerned from the competition.
R7.9. Boat Damage.
If, in the opinion of the Chief Official, a boat has been damaged by its crew deliberately, or by another crew during the course of a race, the Competition Committee may disqualify the crew or crews concerned from the competition. In addition, on recommendation of the Competition Committee, a fine may be imposed on the crew or crews by the Jury. If a Jury is not appointed, the Competition Committee may make such a recommendation to the LOTDRB Executive Committee, who may also recover the costs of boat repairs from the crew(s) concerned.
R8.1. Crossing the Finish Line.
A boat has finished the race when the foremost part of the boat crosses the Finish Line with the same number of Racers in it as started the race. (The Dragons Head, when in position, forms part of the boat.)
Once a crew has finished a race, it must return immediately to the Boat Dock and disembark. A crew is not released from the directions of the Marshalling Officials until all members of the crew have left the Crew Assembly Area.
R9. DISPUTES, PROTESTS, DISQUALIFICATIONS, and APPEALS
Disputes that arise during a competition between crews shall be addressed to the Chief Official and dealt with by the Competition Committee, in the same way as a Protest.
R9.2. Racing Protests.
In the event of a crew wishing to make a protest following a race, concerning the conduct of another crew, the Crew Manager must lodge the protest with the Chief Official. Such a protest must be addressed to the Competition Committee and made within fifteen (15) minutes of the end of the race. A protest against a race result must be made no later than 15 minutes of the result of the race is officially posted.
R9.3. Action and Timings.
When a protest is made, the Chief Official must immediately notify any other party involved in it and call a meeting of the Competition Committee to discuss the protest. Only in exceptional circumstances should the Competition Committee take longer than fifteen (15) minutes to consider any one protest.
After reaching its decision, the Competition Committee must inform all the parties involved of its decision and the reasons for this decision. The Chief Official shall meet with the Crew Manager(s) involved who must then acknowledge receipt of it.
In the event of a crew being disqualified from a race or the competition, the Competition Committee must record their decision and the reasons why in writing on a Disqualification Notice. The Chief Official must hand this notice to the Crew Manager concerned who must acknowledge receipt of the Notice by signing the Chief Officials copy and endorsing it with the time of receipt.
This acknowledgement is the start of the period in which the crew manager(s) may appeal to the Jury against the decision of the Competition Committee.
R9.7. Time Limit.
When a Jury has been appointed, an appeal against a decision of the Competition Committee shall be addressed to the Chairman of the Jury and handed in no later than twenty (20) minutes after the Crew Manager(s) has/have been informed of the infraction.
R9.8. Final Decisions and Appeals.
At the LOTD Races, the decision of the Jury (or in the case of no appointed Jury, the Competition Committee) is final.
ANNEX to Racing Rules
LOTDRB DISCIPLINARY CODE FOR REGATTAS
1. The Disciplinary Code that follows is intended for use at all LOTDRB-sanctioned Regattas and covers the following areas of misconduct:
- Failure by crews to comply with instructions of race officials
- Verbal abuse between competitors and between competitors and officials
- Threat of physical violence or actual physical violence by competitors, team officials, or race officials
2. The LOTDRB Executive Committee lays down the following disciplinary action, which is to be taken in the event of any of the above forms of misconduct during the period of a LOTDRB-sanctioned Event. The period of an event includes misconduct at any time from the day of arrival of the crew at the regatta location to the day of departure, and to incidents that may occur on or off of the competition site, before, during, and after the actual races.
Failure by crews to comply with the instructions of the Officials
3. Time Penalties of between 1-5 seconds, added to the crew's actual time in a race, may be awarded by the Chief Official against crews. For example, as follows:
- Failure to leave the embarking area when instructed to by the Boat Marshals.
- Failure to obey the instructions of an Umpire.
- Failure to come under Starters Orders when required to do so.
- Failure to return to the embarking area when required to do so.
4. Before Time Penalties can be awarded, a crew must be warned that an offence has occurred and given the opportunity to respond. In the event that a crew does not respond to the 1st warning, then the Crew Captain must be told by a Race Official concerned, that a 2nd warning has been given and that a report will be made to the Chief Official. The Chief Official is not compelled to award Time Penalties but as a minimum, must inform the Team Leader of the crew concerned to any further instances of misconduct will result in disciplinary action being taken against them.
5. Warnings may be verbal or through the use of a Black Flag. When a flag is used, then the procedure will be as follows:
- Warning 1. When an offence has occurred, a Black Flag will be raised by the Official and the offence notified to the crew. The Black Flag will then be lowered. If the crew does not respond within a short time, then the 2nd warning will be given.
- Warning 2. The Black Flag will be raised again and stay raised until the Crew Captain has acknowledged the offence. The Race Official will then report the offence to the Chief Official.
6. When a Time Penalty has been awarded by the Chief Official, the initials TP will be annotated against the time shown for the crew concerned on the Results Sheet and on any scoreboard used at the regatta site. There is no appeal against Time Penalties.
False Starts, Jumping the Start, Race Conduct
7. Time Penalties awarded by the Starter and Umpires under Racing Rules 6 and 7, do not form part of this Disciplinary Code and should not be awarded instead of taking action under this code. Neither must Time Penalties awarded under Rules 6 and 7 be included in any points total recorded against a crew under this Code.
Verbal abuse between competitors and between competitors and Officials
8. Verbal abuse by competitors against Race Officials will be dealt with as follows:
- Verbal abuse occurring between crews whilst proceeding to the Start or after the finish of a race will be dealt with by the Course Umpires in accordance with paragraph 5 above. In addition to Time Penalties, the Chief Official may award Penalty Points for verbal abuse of between 1-3 points per offence. A crew that collects 4 points during a competition will be excluded from the current race. A crew that collects 6 or more points during the competition will be excluded from the remainder of the competition.
- Verbal abuse occurring between crews whilst under the Starter's Orders will be dealt with by the Starter, who may award Time Penalties without reference to the Chief Official. The award of Penalty Points always remains with the Chief Official.
- Verbal abuse be competitors directed at a Race Official will be dealt with by the Race Official first, warning the competitor(s) or Crew Captain of the crew concerned that an offence under this Disciplinary Code is likely to occur. If the abuse continues, the Race Official will inform the person or persons concerned that an offence has occurred and will be reported to the Chief Official. A minimum of two (2) Penalty Points will be awarded by the Chief Official in such circumstances and the Team Leader informed of the award. Appeals may be made against Penalty Points.
Threat of violence of actual physical violence
9. Any threat of violence or actual violence occurring during the period of an event between any participants will be reported to the Chief Official. T he Chief Official will disqualify the person(s) concerned and the crew from taking any further part in the competition.