Team Registration


In order to stagger the team's arrivals, each team will be given a registration time approximately two weeks before the event. It is vitally important that the whole team arrives at that time, so that the Team Captain can register them all at the Registration Desk in the York City Rowing Club’s (YCRC) Clubhouse, located between the eastern end of the Esplanade Car Park and Lendal Bridge. When registering, the Team Captain, who must be aged 21 or over, will need to produce the Crew Declaration (see 'Declaration' below) completed and signed by every member of the team, up to a maximum of 20, from which the Team Captain will be able to select the crew of 16 paddlers and a drummer for each race. Registering more than 17 will enable teams to change members of the crew between heats. Teams will have 30 minutes, or in some cases more, to change ready for their safety briefing, after their registration time. Teams which are late for their Briefing risk losing their place in the heat.

The minimum age for participants is 16.


Team Base 

Each team will be allocated an area of the riverside path approx 4.7m long by 2.5m front to back, for their use as a ‘team base’. These areas back onto the Esplanade Car Park and a private car park. The area in front, overlooking the river, needs to be kept clear, as it is a public right of way and the access for emergency vehicles. The team bases will be numbered 1 – 36 from the Lendal Bridge end and the numbers will correspond with the Team Numbers shown in the Programmes.


Gazebos - teams may erect small gazebos etc on their team bases, but the areas have a tarmac surface which mustn’t be damaged in any way, for instance by pegs etc. Gazebos may need to be weighted down if the day is windy (bags of compost do that job admirably!).


Barbecues - teams may use barbecue cooking equipment, providing they are gas and not solid fuel and are suitable for use in the confined space available, used with care and attended at all times.. Any team bringing a barbecue will need to satisfy the Rotarian Stewards that they have with them on their team base, a 1kg (min) powder fire extinguisher from the time that the barbecue arrives on site, kept readily accessible. Please ensure that barbecuing  does not cause annoyance to those on adjacent bases.


Security - as these areas are all accessible to the public, please arrange for any personal belongings to be looked after.


Rubbish – whilst some wheelie bins will be provided, the amount of rubbish which the teams have generated in the past has caused us real problems, so could teams please take the majority of their rubbish away with them, particularly any large items and could they also ensure that rubbish placed in the bins is compacted as far as possible.

The purpose of this information is to provide details of the event and the facilities that will be available, so that you, the competitors, will be able to get the best out of the event and have an exciting and thoroughly enjoyable day. If you have any queries, please ask your Rotarian Team Contact who is there to help in the period up to the day itself. On the day, there will be Rotarian Stewards to assist.




All of the activities associated with the Dragon Boat Racing will be centred on the Railway Station (south) side of the river between Scarborough Bridge and Lendal Bridge. Access to the site and the layout are shown on the site plan sent to each team. The only vehicular access for teams will be via  the Esplanade Car Park. All the other activities associated with the Gala Day will be on the Minster (north) side of the same stretch of river, also accessible from Marygate.  See site plan here


Car Parking


Each team will be allocated two free parking spaces in the Esplanade Car Park, Leeman Road, for cars or small vans not exceeding 4.5 metres in length (no trailers)

See parking map. This will take up the whole of the car park so no additional spaces can be made available. If you wish to bring a vehicle longer than 4.5m (but not more than 6m), it will be necessary to book one of the few spaces which will accommodate such vehicles in advance.  Vehicles longer than 4.5m, which have not been pre-booked, may have to be turned away.The entrance to the car park, marked ‘A’ on the Parking Map and Site Plan, is between the Westgate apartments and the War Memorial gardens, where a Rotarian Steward will be on duty.. The car park will be otherwise closed for the day. Each team will be sent two parking permits for the Esplanade car park shortly before the event, which should be displayed on the vehicle dashboard.  If you need to leave and return to the Esplanade Car Park during the day, retain your Permit on the dashboard to allow re-entry.  . Other parking is available in public car parks further along Leeman Road, off Tanner Row, in Nunnery Lane or on the opposite side of the river in Marygate car park.


There are also Park and Ride facilities on approach roads into the City.


Cycles:  Team Members arriving on cycles can park them at their own risk by the portable toilets, at the Lendal Bridge end of the Esplanade Car Park to avoid congestion and hazards elsewhere. Please ensure that they are securely locked.

Participation Safety 2019 Sponsors Contact Us History Team Sponsorship Forms York Rotary Club Home Page

The York Rotary Dragon Boat Challenge  -  Team Information


2019  General Information


Dragon Boats Home page York Rotary Home page

Challenge Trophy and Cups 


The Challenge Trophy, which is competed for annually, will be presented to the winner of the Grand Final immediately after that race together with two bottles of ‘Bubbly’. £100 will be donated to the Winner’s nominated charity and each member will receive a Dragon Boat Winner’s Medal.


The remaining teams will qualify for one of the following three Cups, each of the three teams receiving £50 for their nominated charity:


   * The Merlin Cup for the fastest "Armed Services" team


   * The Ouse Cup for the fastest "Civilian" team


   * The Charity Cup for the fastest "Charity" team


The Challenge Trophy and Cups will be held for one year and competed for again at next year’s York Rotary Dragon Boat Challenge.


All of the cheques will be presented to the Team Captains later in the year.


Individual's Sponsorship 


Teams members are reminded that all teams are required to raise not less than £1500 as sponsorship as a condition of taking part.  In fact, the great majority of teams raise in excess of £1500, so we hope that will be every team’s aspiration. One third will go to St Leonard's Hospice and the remaining two thirds will go to the team’s own nominated charity.


If paddlers wish to use a website for collecting sponsorship, please ONLY use – we have already made arrangements with them, as they are cheaper than other sites, non-profit making and easy to use. Please follow the details below carefully so that the sponsorship is credited to your team.

Team List 2019 Race Card 2019


*  PLEASE ENSURE YOU FOLLOW OUR INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING THE  SITE.    You can read or download these instructions here


*  It is ESSENTIAL that  we know which Team is being supported by each person sponsoring.

The value of the sponsorship is increased significantly if sponsors donate their money under the Gift Aid arrangements – so please encourage them to do so – please follow the details on the Sponsorship Form and on the website carefully, as the donations have to be traceable.  .

Participants are encouraged to seek their individual sponsorship early, rather than leave it to the last moment. A Sponsorship Form is available here 

Please photocopy freely for extra copies.

As the sponsorship is for entering the Challenge, why not ask sponsors for the money at the outset, to save having to go back to them after the event?


Sponsorship Money


Team Captains will be asked to confirm the value of their team’s sponsorship during registration, and to arrange for all sponsorship monies to be collected and sent with the Sponsorship Forms, to Steve Burton, 98 The Village, Stockton-on-the-Forest, York YO32 9UW by Monday 9th September – or as soon after as possible. The money can be submitted by cheque made payable to The Rotary Club of York, or by Bank Transfer to Rotary Club of York – Dragon Boat Account, HSBC Bank, Parliament St, York, Sort Code 40-47-31 A/C No 23999394 and quote the team name as the reference. If payment is made by BACS, please email Steve Burton at with the amount paid so that the payment can be tracked.

The Rotary Club will need the Sponsorship Forms to recover the tax under the Gift Aid arrangements. One third of the money raised by each Team including reclaimed tax, will benefit St Leonard's Hospice and the remaining two thirds returned to the Team for their own nominated charity.


Based on the sponsorship paid to Steve Burton by 5.00pm on 9th September , there will be a prize of £100 donated to the team’s nominated charity for the team raising the most sponsorship.



Best Dressed Team


Teams are encouraged to wear matching team outfits and fancy dress is encouraged -  however, in designing outfits, please bear in mind that everyone will have to wear a buoyancy aid whilst on the water.  During the day, the Best Dressed Team will be identified and the winner announced during the afternoon. They will receive the Ged Bell Trophy and a prize of £50 donated to their team’s nominated charity. The Ged Bell Trophy will be held for one year and competed for again at next year’s York Rotary Dragon Boat Challenge.



Team Identification


As each team will race in different boats during the course of the day and because of the short turn-round time in disembarking/boarding boats, it will not be possible to decorate a boat with a team’s colours etc. However, so that a team may be identified whilst on the water, teams are asked to provide a distinctive flag 1 metre high by 600mm wide carrying the team’s name or logo. The flag needs to have a sleeve along the long side to take a garden cane, sleeve sewn closed at the top, which can be slipped onto the boat’s cane as the team boards its boat.



Elly Fiorentini, one of BBC Radio York’s well known presenters will provide a commentary during part of the event. So that the commentary can be lively and interesting for team supporters and the public, each Team Captain is asked to provide background details of their organisation, their team and the members and characters in their team, humorous or otherwise. Please send the details in advance to Elly at using the Team Commentary pro-forma, available here and send a copy to your Rotarian Team Contact.




A comprehensive Programme, with the details of the Challenge, the teams and the Race Card, will be available approximately three weeks before the event. Each team will receive 40 complimentary copies of the Programme at that time, for distribution or sale amongst families, friends and colleagues. Teams may keep the income from any sales as a donation to their nominated charity.



Corporate Sponsors


We are indebted to the generous financial support from our corporate sponsors – the Shepherd Group,  Saville Group, and SIMPSON of York - which is invaluable for the smooth running of the event. See our sponsor page



Data Protection


As a Club, we recognise our obligations under the General Data Protection Regulations, in respect of the data about individuals that we have been supplied with by Teams, for the purpose of taking part in the annual Dragon Boat Challenges.  We have made arrangements to ensure the data is held securely and will only be used for purposes connected directly with them, and other Rotary Club of York activities, and will not be supplied to any third party without the individual’s consent.   The Crew Declaration referred to in "Declaration" above will seek consent for the Teams’ data to be retained and used for that purpose, and for photos and videos taken during the course of the events to be used for publicity purposes associated with the annual Dragon Boat Challenges.  




In the unlikely event that the river is in flood, it would be too dangerous to race and the event would have to be cancelled. By monitoring river conditions with the Environment Agency and the Canal and River Trust, every effort would be made to notify cancellation to the Team Contacts by Friday 12th July. In the event of a sudden deterioration of river conditions, however, the organisers reserve the right, on advice from those concerned, to cancel the event at any time.





Have a great day! - Bring your family, friends and colleagues to cheer you on and to enjoy the other activities taking place on the riverside.

The Challenge


Racing is scheduled to commence at 10am and continue throughout the day to finish between 4pm and 5pm. As before, there will be a total of 36 teams participating, with three boats racing at a time. Three complete sets of heats are scheduled and each time a team races, it will be in a different boat and against different opponents. All race times will be recorded and each team’s fastest single time will be used to rank teams. Racing will conclude with the Grand Final, for at least the four fastest teams from the heats, with the fastest in the Grand Final winning the Challenge Trophy.

Approximate start times for each of the races will be set out on the Race Card in the Programmes given to teams in advance of the day, but depending on conditions etc these times may vary. Teams will therefore need to listen to announcements, to see how the timetable is progressing.

Six boats will be in use throughout the day, so whilst three boats are racing, the other three boats will be loading and preparing for the next race.


The Course


The 250 metre course starts just downstream of Scarborough Bridge and finishes close to the YCRC Clubhouse, just upstream of Lendal Bridge.  Crews will board their boats from the steps in front of the Clubhouse.  They will then paddle upstream to the start, keeping to the Minster (north) side of the river.  Following their race, crews will disembark at the same Clubhouse steps.

There will be other traffic on the river and care will need to be taken to ensure that racing takes place safely and without inconvenience to other river users.


Control of Racing


A professional company, Dragon Boat Events Ltd, (Dragon Boat Events), a division of The Organisation Group Ltd, (The Organisation)  will conduct the racing in accordance with the rules of the International Dragon Boat Federation.  Dragon Boat Events’ Event Director will be in overall control of the racing, and his directions relayed over the public address and via radio to river marshals, are to be observed by crews on the river. His decision is final on all aspects of racing.  Dragon Boat Events will provide a qualified helmsman for each boat.  Their duties are to navigate and to oversee the safety of the crew, and their directions to their crew are to be observed.  If in the opinion of the helmsman, the weight of the crew, or the conditions on the day, makes safe boat handling a problem, the boat’s helmsman has the absolute authority to require the crew to reduce the number of paddlers.  Dragon Boat Events is licensed under the HSE’s Adventure Activities Licensing Scheme to provide dragon boat racing activities to under 18s.


Racing Equipment


All the boats, paddles, buoyancy aids etc will be provided by Dragon Boat Events



A copy of Dragon Boat Events’ Team Information & Waiver, which includes the Crew Declaration, is available here. To register on the day, each Team Captain will be required to produce a copy of the Crew Declaration completed and signed by every member of the team, accepting all the risks involved in participating and that all the members are fit and able to swim wearing a buoyancy aid, as per the medical restrictions below, and will not hold The Organisation, Dragon Boat Events, the Rotary Club of York, Canal and River Trust, York City Rowing Club, or St Leonard's Hospice liable for any claims arising from any accident resulting in any loss or damage including bodily injury or death and agree to be bound by the Rules.

It is strongly recommended that Team Captains have the Crew Declaration completed by the members of their crew in advance of the day that racing takes place. The declaration may be spread over several forms providing each form is signed by the Team Captain.  Further copies can be downloaded here   Anyone considered by Dragon Boat Events’ Event Director to be unfit, or unsuitable to participate for reasons of alcohol or any other reason, will not be permitted to race and the Event Director’s decision in that respect will be final.


Medical Restrictions


Members of the team must be reasonably fit, able to swim at least 50 metres wearing a buoyancy aid and not vastly overweight in relation to their height. If you are unsure whether you are fit to take part, please seek advice from your doctor. If any member of a team has disabilities, they will be asked to sign a Disabled Waiver – copy available here

The Event Director reserves the right to refuse any team member from participating in the event, if they have grounds for believing the person is physically or medically unfit to race.




Dragon Boat Events complies with industry standards and has Public Liability insurance of £5 million and Employer’s Liability insurance of £10 million. For insurance purposes, it is essential that every member of the crew completes and signs the Crew Declaration prior to registration.

Health and Safety


For reasons of health and safety, each competitor will be required to have available:

            *  a complete change of clothes,

            *  a windproof jacket, or similar garment with hood, and

            *  footwear, such as trainers, to wear whilst in a boat, to protect their feet from any sharp objects on the river bed, should they capsize.

Crew members are also advised

          *   to bring a towel and, if the day is sunny, a supply of sunsceen; and

          *   that open wounds should be covered before going near the water to minimise the risk from Leptospirosis (Weil’s disease).

Buoyancy aids, supplied by Dragon Boat Events, must be worn by all crew members at all times whilst on the river. A safety boat will be on the water during racing. First Aid facilities will be available.

Each team will receive their safety briefing from Dragon Boat Events immediately before their first race. It is essential that all the members of the team are there for that briefing, not just those paddling in the first heat. They will be tagged as having been briefed, and any team member who misses their team’s safety briefing, will not be able to take part in their first race and will only be able to take part in their subsequent races if the opportunity for a further briefing session arises – that cannot be guaranteed.

A summary of the Safety Briefing given to Team Captains is available here


Shower Facilities


Shower facilities will be available in the YCRC’s Clubhouse for members of any team that capsizes, together with limited changing and toilet facilities.


Toilet Facilities


Toilet accommodation will be provided on the south side of the river in the YCRC’s Clubhouse and in the car park area.  Toilet accommodation will also be provided on the north side adjacent to Marygate Landing.  The nearest public conveniences on the north side of the river are at Bootham Bar.




Arrangements are being made for there to be a food stall on the south bank, where food and drink may be purchased.

d h 3 crop


With great regret, the July 2020 event has been cancelled.


The event will be staged in July 2021  -  details to follow


All participating teams have been informed