The current (January, 2011) Rules of Racing which determine the conduct of each race are as follows:
1. The Races shall be rowed on the River Thames at Henley, from the Royal Regatta finish to the mid-point on the Temple Island on a date to be agreed by the Presidents at the time of the Challenge, in conjunction with the Chairman of the Organising Committee.
2. The Challenge shall be proffered in writing by the President of the previous year's losing University, and shall be made in October preceding the Race.
3. The conduct of the Race shall be the sole responsibility of the Umpire, who shall be chosen by mutual consent at a meeting of the Organising Committee.
4. The Umpire shall be responsible for the positioning of the stakeboats which shall not be moved after the Toss for stations has taken place except with the agreement of all parties. (Notwithstanding the fact that the stakeboats may have to be placed after the Toss depending on conditions).
5. The crews shall be at the Start together five minutes before the time of the Race.
6. The Umpire shall start each race using the commands in current use by the British Rowing, and include calling over the crews and stating the start commands which will be used.
7. If the Umpire or Aligner considers the start false they shall at once recall the crews to their stakeboats by ringing a bell and then by waving a red flag. If a crew refuses to start again or makes or causes two false starts, the Umpire shall disqualify that crew.
8. A boat's proper course is such as will enable it to reach the winning post in the shortest possible time provided that it allows unobstructed passage for the other crew to steer its proper course on the side on which it started.
9. During the Race, each crew shall remain in its own water, not interfere with, nor prevent, the other crew from following its proper course. A crew continuing out of its proper course after due warning may be disqualified by the Umpire.
10. The Umpire shall be the sole judge of a boat's proper course. The Umpire may call the attention of a crew to its steering only if the crew is about to interfere with or foul the other crew, or if a collision is about to occur, or if disqualification is possible under rule 9.
11. When the Umpire warns a crew they shall hold up a white flag vertically, name the crew, and move the flag in the direction in which the boat is to move. When the Umpire stops the Race, they shall ring the bell, hold up the red flag and give the order "Stop".
12. Crews shall be responsible for their own steering, and the Umpire shall ensure the crews do not receive any advice or instructions. A crew receiving any extraneous assistance may be disqualified.
13. A foul shall be defined as any collision or contact between boats, oars, or persons, unless in the opinion of the Umpire it will not influence the result of the Race.
14. Interference shall be defined as conduct by a crew which impedes the progress of the other crew which is in its proper course. A crew shall not be disqualified for interference unless it has been warned in accordance with rule 10.
15. A claim will be made by the coxswain of the crew raising an arm, either at the time of the alleged offence or immediately after the end of the Race, that is to say, as the bows of the boat cross the finish line.
16. In the event of a serious or deliberate foul the Umpire shall disqualify the offending crew without waiting for a claim. He will do this immediately at the end of the Race. (Note: This means that he will delay his announcement, either in the interests of safety, or to see whether a foul has, in fact, influenced the result of the Race.).
17. The crews shall abide by their accidents, but the Umpire may declare "No Race", and order a restart, or a rerow: a. if either crew is interfered with by an outside agency to such an extent as to influence the result of the Race. b. if, before reaching the bridge in the Phyllis Court wall, either crew should suffer any serious accident or sinking or waterlogging.
18. A crew has completed the Course when its bow or any part of its hull crosses the line of the finish. A crew must finish the race with the same complement as that with which it started. If any crew member leaves the boat before the finish the crew shall be deemed not to have finished.
19. The distance by which a crew is declared to have won may be the smallest that can be judged (including consulting photographic records of the finish), and a dead-heat should only be given when it is impossible for the finish judges together to see which boat passed the post first. In the event of a dead-heat being declared there will be no rerow and the trophy shared between the crews.
20. After the finish the Umpire shall indicate by raising their white flag when both crews have crossed the finish line that the Race is in order and no protest has been lodged. If the Race is not in order they shall raise their red flag. A crew earlier claiming that the Race had been improperly run must explain its protest to the Umpire again immediately at the finish of the Race.
21. Refusal to abide by the decision of the Umpire, which is final and without appeal, or to follow their instructions, shall render a crew liable to disqualification.
22. For men the average weight of a lightweight crew (excluding coxswain) shall not exceed 70kg. No individual oarsman shall weigh more than 72.5kg. For lightweight women the weight of each individual athlete shall not exceed 59kg.
23. Coxswains shall be weighed in the clothing that they expect to wear in the race, inclusive of buoyancy aids. The coxswains for the lightweight men's races shall not weigh less than 55kg, and for all the women's races not less than 50kg. To make up this weight a coxswain may carry a maximum of 10kg deadweight, provided by the organising committee, which shall be placed in the boat as close as possible to the coxswain's person. The coxswains shall be weighed on the day of the race immediately after the umpire's morning briefing. At any time, before or until immediately after the race, the Jury may require the deadweight to be reweighed.
24. "Cox-boxes" and tools shall not count for the minimum weight of a coxswain and may not be used as dead weight if needed under rule 23. Life jackets and buoyancy aids are acceptable at the weigh-in being a compulsory part of the coxswain's dress (See Rule 26 below).
25. Lightweight rowers shall be weighed wearing their racing uniform or equivalent (for example, shirt and shorts, or all-in-ones) on tested scales not less than one hour and not more than four hours before their Race. The weighing scales should indicate the weight of the rower to 0.1 kg. If a oarsman or woman is over the maximum weight then only that person need be re-weighed unless it adversely affects the average of the crew.
26. Coxswains must wear a life jacket or buoyancy aid in order to comply with the British Rowing Row Safe.
27. In the absence of a specific rule, the current British Rowing Rules of Racing and Row Safe will apply where relevant. The rules set out above are the final and only point of regulation for the operation of these races.