Basic Manouvers & Requirements
for Certification as a Sweep

Control - Sweeps must be able to excercise full control over the boat and do the following . . .

  • Maintain a straight course at full racing speed with a full crew of 18-20 paddlers plus drummer
  • Steer a figure of eight course around two buoys at normal speed with a full crew, in both directions, or in the absence of buoys, steer a set course which includes both left and right angled turns.
  • Demonstrate safe approaches to a jetty/pontoon in still and windy conditions
  • Demonstrate the correct way to load into a starting pen
  • Execute sideways maneuvers without going forwards.
  • Turn the boat through 360 in both directions without the use of paddlers
  • Propel the boat forward in a straight line without the use of paddlers
  • Propel the boat in reverse for 50m with the use of paddlers
  • Excecute an emergency stop from racing speed to full stop, turn the boat through 180 and start off again
  • Answer questions about basic safety, regulations in the V&A, and the International Rules of Procession within a harbour,
  • Conduct a crew through a one hour practice session

Responsibilities - As a sweep you are accepting responsibility for . . .

  • The safety of your crew
  • The safety of your boat
  • The safety of other water users
  • The image your boat presents to the public

When accepting the role of sweep the golden rule is ASSUME NOTHING

  • Do not assume your crew know what they are doing
  • Do not assume your crew know what you are doing
  • Do not assume skippers of other boats know what they are doing,
    or that they know, or will adhere to the rules of procession, or those of the V&A

Practice session procedure:-

  • Request non-swimmers to wear a life jacket.
  • Brief the crew on basic safety.
  • Load the boat.
  • Balance the boat.
  • Instruct beginners on paddling technique.
  • Check your steering equipment.
  • Request permission before leaving the New Basin (experienced crews only).
  • Return to the New Basin if conditions are not safe - too much wind, swell, or traffic.
    You as sweep have the responsibility for the safety of the boat and its crew.
  • Warm up circuit.
  • Stretch.
  • Various excercises.
  • Dock and disembark.
  • Stow the boat safely.

Grades of progression:-
Grade 1:
Club helm
Novice helms, sweeping for an experienced crew, with an experienced helm on board
Grade 2:
Corporate helm
Novice helms gaining experience (under the guidance of experienced helms) with unpredictable (novice) crews in non-race conditions in a relatively safe environment such as the V&A Marina Basin .
Grade 3:
Regatta helm
Sweeps with some experience,
* gaining race experience by helping with corporate racing in minor regattas in a ,safe environment,
* or in low-key club events such as 10-man races.
Grade 4:
Corporate Racing helm
Sweeps helming for corporate crews in the International Regatta,
These sweeps should have considerable experience in
* handling unskilled novice crews at practice sessions
* in racing conditions in minor regattas/monthly club meets,
* should be experienced with helming in a working harbour
* have been assessed in their knowledge of the safety regulations applicable in the working region of the V&A.
Grade 5:
Club Racing helm
Race Sweeps helming for International crews in International Competition
Club race sweeps should have prior experience helming for corporate crews in at least one local International event.
Grade 6:
International Racing helm
IDBF recognised, experienced race sweeps, who have helmed for International club crews/National teams in International/World Championship events.

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