Molesey Regatta 2021

EBC Covid Management Plan 

17th and 18th July 2021

Hurst Meadows, West Molesey by the river


This review of plans for the Regatta has been drawn up following the decision of the Organising Committee (“MAR Committee”) to run the long-established event in July 2021, but on a “Racing only” basis. This means that rowing competitions (races) will take place on the river much as normal, though with some added safeguards to ensure that social distancing is maintained. However a major departure from the norm for the Regatta (as in 2019 and before) is that in 2021 there will be no facilities for spectators.



28th June 2021




  • What is Molesey Regatta and who is Responsible for Organising it ?

Molesey Amateur Regatta (to give it its full historic name) has been run on the Thames by or near Molesey Hurst since 1867. It has been held annually, barring some War Years and the year 2020.

It is organised by a Committee of fifteen people, most of whom have a connection with Molesey Boat Club – though such a connection is not necessary and the Regatta is in fact independent of the Club.

The Officers of MAR Regatta are:

President – David Porteus

Secretary – Ted Bates (who has been Secretary since 1985)

Assistant Secretary – Dr Fiona Wood (she is also the Welfare Officer)

Treasurer – Robert Nesbitt

Racing Secretary – Dr. Andrew Ruddle

Chief Umpire – Sarah Langslow

Safety Officer – Patrick Sinnott

Covid Security Officer – Simon Edwards

Plus there are some seven other Committee members with specific responsibilities.

Molesey Regatta is an “affiliated competition” under the aegis of the GB controlling body of the sport of rowing, British Rowing. As such the Regatta has to be run in accordance with the British Rowing Rules of Racing, their RowSafe guide to best practice and the Covid-related Return to Competition Guidance which has been reviewed by the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport.

  • Where and When will it Take Place ?

Molesey Regatta 2021 will take place over the weekend of Saturday July 17th and Sunday July 18th. It is a rowing regatta in which there are many separate events, each for a certain boat size (8,4,2 rowers or 1 sculler), coxed or coxless, gender, age and/or proficiency. Events for Juniors (13-17 years) are held on the Sunday, those for adults on the Saturday (and Junior 18). There can be 30-40 different events and each one is arranged as a series of heats and eventually a final race; racing is 2 crews abreast.

The course is alongside the island known as Platt’s Ait or Thorneycroft Island, on the Surrey side. The race finish is about 50 yards downstream of the Eastern end of the Ait. (See Map in Section 3)

The competitors, their boats and trailers and all the infrastructure and personnel of the Regatta are located on the Hurst Meadows which adjoins the Hurst Park Estate, largely in an area from the race finish for 2-300 yards downstream. In normal years, there is a Regatta “enclosure” upstream of the race finish, with seating, marquees, bar, teas, live music and other attractions. This year there will be none of that.

Also, in normal years whilst competitors and officials have vehicle access to the Hurst via Sadlers Ride at the Eastern end of Hurst Park, the access road at the Ferry Road end is also open, for visitors’ cars which are then parked on the grass immediately upstream of the “enclosure”. This year there will be no public access via Ferry Road and indeed no vehicular access to the site for anyone other than authorised regatta participants (except in emergencies, of course.)

  • Covid-related Health Risk and its Management Plan

The 2021 Regatta is being planned against the background of a Covid-19 situation which is still a threat. The successful vaccination programme is protecting the older folk who are otherwise at severe risk, while the new Delta variant of the virus is spreading fast amongst the 20-30 year-old group who are not yet vaccinated, although they don’t suffer so badly. The Delta issue has led to the Government delaying the final date of removing social restrictions from June 21st until (at least) July 19th. Our Regatta comes just before the latter date.

Careful risk assessments for different stages of the pandemic have been done by British Rowing, who drew up strict operating guidelines for both Rowing Clubs and Competitions such as Regattas. In Step 3, which commenced on 17th May 2021, “COVID-secure Private Matches and Affiliated Competitions” are permitted with specific limitations.

These limitations include a raft of hygiene and social distancing measures, and limitations on spectators as follows:-

“From 17th May, spectators are permitted at sports events in group of up to 30, subject to maintaining social distancing……You may still wish to discourage them to allow you to focus on other areas of competition management. All competitions should liaise with their local authorities to discuss their plans.”

The MAR Committee decided during early June that discouraging spectators, and concentrating efforts upon running a safe regatta for rowing athletes, would be the best approach. (This approach, incidentally, seems to have been adopted by many regatta organising committees. Most of the rest have simply cancelled their events for Summer 2021.)

British Rowing has developed a long checklist for Competition Organisers (see Appendix) which the MAR Committee has followed. Our Covid-related Management Plan is detailed in Sections 2 and 3.


  • Expected Numbers of Participants and Where will they come from? 
  • Rowers and ancillary personnel (coaches for example) –total approx. 800 over the 2 days. Largely from Rowing Clubs and Schools based on the River Thames between Putney and Oxford.
  • Officials (umpires, MAR Committee personnel) – total approx. 40. Mainly local (i.e within 10 miles of East Molesey).
  • Marshals (8 on motor launches, 12-15 on land – all local people).
  • Paramedic crew (2 persons, from Littlehampton, Sussex)
  • Rescue Launch personnel (2 fast RIBs each with a crew of 3, RNLI trained people)
  • Volunteer Helpers (50-60 people, of varied ages, all local). 
  • The Financial Risk and can it be borne?

The Regatta normally has several sources of income, of which entry fees from participating rowing crews – at an average charge of £14 per person – is only one element. Catering, bar sales, contributions from pop-up shops, ice-cream and burger vans and the like also generate income. These facilities are used both by rowing people (competitors, officials, supporters…) and considerable numbers of the general public; mostly Molesey residents who come to enjoy themselves.

All income elements have substantial costs associated with them.

The Regatta also has a “supporters group” known as the Friends of Molesey Regatta who make regular donations. Plus we have around 20 fairly loyal local businesses who sponsor the regatta to a modest extent.

All in all the Regatta usually shows a modest profit (£1-2,000) although this is not the case if the weather is really bad and the general public does not turn up. In such an event the Regatta may make a loss of up to £2-3,000.

MAR Committee also runs a Head of the River event in February, which is a processional race typically involving 60+ Eights and Fours, and the economics of such races is that they are moderately profitable, so our Head strongly subsidises the Regatta.

This year the MAR finances are fairly healthy, and even if the event when run on a “Racing Only” basis may run at a small loss according to our budget calculations, we believe that the loss will not be seriously problematic to us. High entries at recent regattas make us expect a good entry. So helping/underpinning our figures,

What the MAR Committee does believe whole-heartedly is that it will be a service to the sport of rowing to provide crews with an opportunity for competition which has been totally lacking for over a year.

We should add that in the (now unlikely) event of having to cancel the regatta at short notice for another Covid Lockdown, there would be some unavoidable costs but most suppliers of services to the now “Racing Only” event would not charge us. We would cope financially.

  • Insurance 

Insurance for the Regatta is automatically provided by British Rowing to Molesey Regatta as an “Affiliated Competition “. Through this policy the Regatta holds civil liability insurance of max £10million.

 An additional insurance is also in place for equipment belonging to the Regatta.



As explained previously, the organisation of Molesey Regatta 2021 has been heavily directed by the Social Distancing and all Other Measures imposed and/or recommended by HM Government, and as interpreted for application to Rowing Clubs and Rowing Competition Organisers by British Rowing. 

The Risk Analysis process and its conclusions are detailed in the Appendix of this document.


Having reviewed the risks involved with running the regatta, these actions have or will be taken (figures in brackets relate to the Risk Analysis table in the Appendix).

  • The event is totally outdoors. (1)
  • It will maintain British Rowing guidance, currently v.12.1, Includes guidance on equipment disinfection after use (18)
  • No changing facilities – Rowers come and go in their kit. (10)
  • No marquees – admin carried out from 3 open gazebos. (1)
  • Race intervals increased from 3 to 4 minutes to reduce activity.(8)
  • Extra volunteers in boating area to ensure distancing between crews (3,8)
  • Separate boat rafts for outgoing and returning crews (3,8)
  • Ensure adequate separation between boat trailers.( 3)
  • No bar – eliminates queuing and grouping risk. (1,9)
  • No refreshments for the public or competitors – eliminates queuing and grouping risk.(1,9)
  • Refreshments for volunteers provided in pre-packs.(14)
  • Advise clubs no accompanying spectators unless vital.(1)
  • Participants advised to bring their own food and drink (14)
  • No daytime entertainment – reduces spectators (1,3,9)
  • No evening entertainment – discourages spectators (1,3,9)
  • No publicity – discourages spectators (1,3,9)
  • Advise no spectating where possible to clubs – discourage spectators (1,3,9)
  • Provide sanitisers in crew and admin areas.(5,6)
  • Provide Covid informative signs in crew and admin areas.(4.5)
  • Clean and sanitise toilets every two hours or less.(17)
  • Reduce the number of normal volunteers to a minimum.(1)
  • Provide additional marshals to advise those on the bank and the rafts to maintain distancing.(3)
  • Maintain records of all competitors and volunteers.(2)
  • Provide an NHS QR code checking in point.(2)
  • Eliminate prizegiving.(10)
  • Reduce contact between participants and organisers (11,12,13)
  • No cash to handle.
  • All volunteers and officials will be fully briefed on the regulations relating to COVID-19, and to the best of their and our knowledge, will be free from any infection or disease.(2,15)
  • All volunteers will be reminded of possible symptoms of COVID-19 and instructed to inform the Secretary at once of such symptoms.(2)


  • Site Map

This map is intended for the guidance of participating crews and officials. Typically in previous years the public has been able to use the vehicle access on Ferry Road, park on the grass and watch the racing, use the catering facilities, etc, in the Regatta’s tented “enclosure” which is situated approximately by the word “BARGE” on the map. Rowers and officials, however, use a vehicular access off Sadlers Ride; boat storage area, admin facilities, first aid, as well as the landing stages for going afloat and landing are in the area approximately covered by the word “WALK” on the map.

For the 2021 Regatta, it is only the basic Rowers’ facilities in the “WALK” area which will be in use.


  • Event Timetable

Molesey Regatta 2021 is a 2-day event, as has become the norm in recent years.

On Saturday 17th July it is expected there will be a full programme of racing; the precise timing does depend on the numbers of entries which are received, and their make-up in terms of age-group, gender and rowing status (points collected for previous wins).

The programme will be developed by the Race Secretary, Dr. Andrew Ruddle. In previous years the day’s programme of races has run from 08.45/09.00 through to approx 6p.m. with an hour’s break for lunch, and an interval of 3 or 4 minutes between races. This year the interval may be extended to 4 or 5 minutes to provide for more orderly spacing of crews waiting to embark and disembark.

Rowers taking part on the Saturday are Adults (18-year-olds and over, in rowing terms).

On Sunday 18th July the same general principles apply, except the participants are Juniors (13-18 years).

On Friday July 16th (and Thurs July 15th too, if it should be necessary), volunteer crews – Committee members and helpers – will work on preparing the Site. A small number of contractors will be on hand for specialist installation tasks, for instance of  the toilets.

On Monday July 19th, the same volunteer crews plus the odd contractor will, as usual, dismantle and remove all structures, etc, perform a scrupulous litter-pick and generally make sure the site is left pristine.


  • Numbers of Participants and Visitors

In previous years with full facilities and in good weather, the numbers of people taking part or visiting the Regatta have averaged around


Rowers, including Coxswains, Coaches, Drivers etc                500                

Officials and Volunteer/Paid Helpers                                     50

Spectators                                                                               3-400


Junior Rowers, inc. Coxswains, Coaches, Parents etc              2-300 

Officials and Volunteer/Paid Helpers                                     40

Spectators                                                                               50-100

In 2021, we are discouraging spectators; we will certainly not be encouraging them. We will not be publicising the Regatta as we normally do, and we will not have the facilities to attract them (normally we have extensive catering facilities including a fully licensed bar, lots of seating including some under an awning, a lunch tent, shops, live music, bouncy castle and even some fairground rides. This year we will have none of these things).

Having said that, the Hurst where the Regatta takes place is effectively a public park, and the towpath has been incorporated into the Thames Long-Distance Path. We cannot stop people walking or cycling past, walking their dogs, even stopping to watch a few races if they wish. However, in comparison with the large crowd that usually assembles in the Regatta’s tented area we expect very few spectators…and our marshals would remind them of social distancing criteria if need be.

As to the Rowers, Officials, Volunteers, etc. this year, the total numbers attending for some part of the Regatta are anticipated as being in line with the above. But with the concentration being on racing alone (not also socializing) many of the rowers are expected to limit their attendance, to a morning only or an afternoon only. We intend to structure the racing programme to facilitate this – by having all the heats and the final for a given competition in one a.m. or p.m. session.

Thus we anticipate that the maximum number of people, of all kinds, present on site at any one time will this year be of the order of 300, as opposed to a maximum of 700 normally.  

  • Social Distancing /Mask-wearing

First of all, everything is happening outdoors which automatically mitigates the risk of viral transmission.

Second, rowing is not a contact sport; at all times, whether seated in the boat or carrying it to the water, people are distanced by at least a metre; and everyone is facing the same way except the coxswain (if there is one). So the coxswain has to wear a face covering – and ideally a transparent plastic face shield – at all times. In recent months, that is since any rowing has been allowed at all, it has been mandatory for rowers to wear face masks while carrying boats.

All competitors at Molesey Regatta will be reminded that these precautions remain in force.

3.5 Participants’ Contact Details/Track & Trace.

All participants, whether on the organising side or the competing side, will on each day they are there have their names and contact details registered.

For competitors this is achieved by the online registration process of British Rowing’s BROE software. For officials – Committee, Umpires, Marshals, etc – the Covid Officer will ensure he has a written record of everyone. Likewise for Volunteer personnel, also specialist service providers such as the RNLI trained rescue teams and the Paramedics.

As “belt and braces” we will also have an NHS Track & Trace QR code poster at Race Control to be used by ALL persons who are not already on record, ideally by mobile phone if they have the NHS App. Failing that, the person on duty takes their name and phone number or e-mail/ address.

3.6 Hygiene Facilities

We will have hand sanitiser dispensers at several locations, one by the bank of toilets, several in the boating area, and one in each of the three gazebos.

The Regatta takes place on an open space, so the toilet facilities have to be brought in. They are on order. Ten cubicles in one location near the gazebos   We have already arranged that each cubicle will be professionally cleaned every 2 hours.

With 10 toilet cubicles available, queueing should not be a major issue. We will put up signage directing people to follow a one-way route in and out, and to keep a 2-metre distance if there should be a queue.

3.7 Signage as Necessary, to Prevent Crews Bunching before Going Afloat

The key thing is a clear briefing beforehand, meaning to crews as to when precisely they can go afloat (how many minutes before their scheduled race). But to back this up, and make sure crews do not bunch at the boating area, we will mark (by means of stakes, for example) the positions at which crews should line up with their boats prior to going afloat for their race.

  1. It is ONLY for taking part in their forthcoming race that crews will be allowed on the river (not for practice at other times, for example).


3.8 Limiting Hand-to-Hand Transactions on Site

Registration Desk. The principal transactions at a regatta take place here. Entries for regattas, as well as payment of entry fees, names of individuals in crews and their unique British Rowing membership numbers, are made online through BROE the British Rowing standard online system. But traditionally, a Club Captain, or coach or parent etc. comes to a Registration Desk to collect a crew racing number, which is affixed to the boat to identify it to the umpire, finishing line judge, etc. To avoid these personal contacts at Registration, our plan is to limit such visits to one representative for each club. Almost all numbers will be delivered to clubs two days before the regatta to reduce visits to Race Control.

Cash Handling. There will be nowhere for this to happen. Nor indeed cashless payment, there won’t be anything on sale.

Microphones/ two-way Radios. We do not propose to have the traditional commentary on races, as this involves sharing of mikes between commentators. Nor will we have a Public Address system (in emergency we will use electronic loud hailers for announcements, each hailer being allocated to an individual. Similarly whilst it is vital for marshals, umpires, race controllers, etc, to be in constant communication by radio, we will aim to keep to one person –one device…and in any case the radios will be properly sanitised before and after use. If a transfer should become necessary, the equipment will be re-sanitised.

  • Avoid Sharing Boats and Oars

It is common for crews from the same Rowing Club to share boats at a Regatta, just as they would share boats at their home location. This maximises the use of expensive equipment which is cumbersome to transport.

It has become established practice during the pandemic for boats, oars and other equipment to be scrupulously cleaned after each outing, whether or not it is being used by others. We will remind crews, should we have to, of the need to follow those practices at our regatta.

3.10 Emergency Medical Assistance

We have arranged for an experienced, qualified paramedic to be on duty during the whole period of racing, on both days. Andy Hitt, operating as Lone Med, has provided that service to Molesey Regatta before; he comes totally equipped for most urgent situations found at an outdoor event, and is unflappable.

3.11 Briefings of Staff, Volunteers and other Helpers

Comprehensive written notes will be prepared for each group of people involve, as to what is expected of them and why things are to be done the way they are.

These notes will be put on the Regatta website beforehand, and will be printed and made available for collection on the day.

Each group will also be briefed by an appropriate Committee member, though this may be done by Zoom.



Secretary – Ted Bates                                                                                     07951 638516

Racing Secretary – Dr. Andrew Ruddle                                                           07946 528277

Assistant Secretary – Dr Fiona Wood (also Welfare Officer)                    07850 270002

Safety Officer – Patrick Sinnott                                                                      07884 438656

Covid Security Officer – Simon Edwards                                                       07909 882702

Assistant Covid Security Officer – Richard Steed                                        07956 359685                                                                                                                            


WEBSITE carries a full range of safety and welfare documentation under (Regulation).

British Rowing ‘ Managing Covid-19 Version 12.1’ is the guide document from our parent organisation.







On behalf of the MAR Committee

28th June 2021

Version 4





The regatta will take place against the backdrop of a continuing global pandemic. Despite national lockdowns and the UK vaccination programme the Covid 19 virus continues to present a substantial ongoing risk to the health of the nation, particularly to those younger people who have not yet had both jabs of a vaccine, and the problem is exacerbated by the spread of the Delta Variant of the virus.

The Lockdown position is that the majority of restrictions imposed at the turn of the year were released in May. At that stage it was expected that the final lifting of all restrictions would happen on June 21st; but as that day approached, the incidence of Covid (new positive cases per day) was on the rise again, so the British Government put the date back to the 19th of July – at the earliest. Which is just after Molesey Regatta.

Clearly, in organising a Regatta, the MAR Committee has had to recognise that while there is a considerable benefit to rowers in terms of fitness and wellbeing in having a Competition arranged for them after a blank year or more, there is a potential danger to participants in terms of viral spread. Molesey Regatta has traditionally been a social occasion as well as a sporting competition, therefore the Committee decided to make the 2021 Regatta only a sporting and not also a social occasion. Thus:

– Facilities for spectators will not be provided.  No food, drink, music, entertainment, nor even seating.

– The Regatta will not be publicised to the general public.

It will be a “Racing only” event. And of course there will be appropriate precautions and safeguards.

Regarding the general public, we re-iterate that spectators will not be encouraged (no facilities, no publicity; historically at Molesey Regattas, there has been plenty of both). However, the event does take place on a Public Open Space (between Hurst Park Estate and the River Thames), and the Thames towpath does run along the riverbank – effectively between the boat and crew areas/ Regatta admin. area and the River. So the Regatta Organisers cannot stop pedestrians, dogs, cyclists etc. from passing through the site, nor can we stop people stopping to watch the racing, somewhere along the racing course, if they decide to do so. However, interactions with the rowers, or indeed with Regatta personnel, will be strongly discouraged.

The regatta will comply strictly with the Government and the British Rowing guide-lines for holding a safe competition with minimum transmissions. Where an activity presents a risk of direct (person-to-person) or indirect transmission, appropriate measures will be taken. The following Risk Analysis informs that process.





Risk Categorisation is as follows (standard methodology)

  Severity of Harm
Slight Moderate Extreme
Probability Very Unlikely Very low risk Low risk Low risk
Unlikely Low risk Medium risk Medium risk
Likely Medium risk Medium risk High risk
Very likely Medium risk High risk Extremely high risk



Risk Category Evaluation of Acceptability
Very Low No action required.
Low No additional controls are required.

Consideration may be given to a more effective solution or improvement.

Medium Efforts should be made to reduce the risk.

Risk reduction measures should be implemented within a defined time period.

Where the medium risk is associated with harmful/serious consequences

further assessment may be necessary to establish more precisely the likelihood

 of harm as a basis for determining the need for improved control measures.

High The activity should not be started until the risk has been reduced.

Considerable resources may have to be allocated to reduce the risk.

Where the risk involves activity already in progress, urgent action should be


Extremely High Activity should not be started or continued until the risk has been reduced.

If it is not possible to reduce risk even with unlimited resources, activity has to

 remain prohibited.




Hazard /Event Probability Severity Risk Action  

Note # ref

In text

General Very Unlikely Low   All activities are outside in the open air. 1        
COVID positive person on site Very Unlikely




  All participants (competitors, coaches, umpires and volunteers) to give Track and Trace details and complete Health Declaration.

Any competitor not completing health declaration will not be allowed to race.

Contravention of social distancing Very Unlikely




  Notices round site to remind people of social distancing.     

 Marshals to keep an eye on any groups which seem too large.




Contact Transmission between umpires and other officials Very Unlikely




  All officials and crews are requested to bring their own hand sanitiser.

 There will be hand sanitiser stations around site.

Shared equipment minimised.
Equipment must be disinfected after use.







Social distancing/close contact Very Unlikely




  All advised to keep 2m apart and if not possible to wear a mask –competitors and others.


One way system operated for launching and landing boats, use of toilets, etc.

Competitors given specific timed instructions

Boats to be kept distanced through circulation plan








Person to person contact (General)


Very Unlikely Low


  All advised to abide by rule of 6 when not in a boat.

Competitors arrive changed, race and then leave the site

Regatta run in am/pm divisions to encourage people to leave after half a day – so fewer people on site. And no prize giving to avoid people waiting around.

One-way circulation at toilets. Every cubicle sanitised on 2-hour schedule

Spectators discouraged.











Person to person contact (Competitors)






  No substitutions done at the event – to be done online.

No weighing-in procedure for coxes – any cox who should be carrying deadweight will have this noted electronically, and to provide own deadweight.

No crew check-in required.

Spot checks only for control commission (i.e. on the required safety features of rowing boats)

Health screening declaration required before event











Person to Person contact (Officials and Volunteers) Unlikely Moderate   Briefings to be conducted beforehand (Zoom if poss.)

Where possible reduce multi-occupancy official positions to 1.

Clean re-used equipment between shifts. Minimise sharing of two-way radios.

Bring own basic refreshments as required

Health screening declaration required before event









Person to person contact (Safety Boat Personnel and Paramedic Crew) Unlikely




  First Aid personnel to wear PPE as per their professional RA. Only paramedics to engage in casualty care.