Head races are typically held in the fall and tend to be on rivers. In this form of racing, rowers race against the clock. The winning crew in each event is the one that completes the course in the fastest time.
Head races are typically around 5,000 meters (~3 miles) long, with some variability--the Head of the Charles course, for example, is 4,800 meters. Rowers go through a starting "chute", run by regatta officials, racing down the race course at 10-15 second intervals. Each boat has a unique bow number attached to help identify each crew. You can use this number to identify which boats belong to our club; we send out a Letter of Instruction (LOI) during regatta week what our race times, bow numbers, and race lineups are for race day.
Sprint races are typically held in the spring. In this form of racing, boats race side-by-side and head-to-head. The boats begin rowing from a dead stop on the referee's call. The race length is usually a 2,000 meter course (1.24 mile) course. The winner is the crew that crosses the finish line first. There are often heats, semi-finals, and finals to help whittle the best crews down to the gold medal crew, so the same boat may race several times in the same regatta.
Rowing competitions are commonly known as regattas and are all-day events. They start early and typically last until the mid-afternoon, though sometimes later depending on the size of the race. There is a Coaches & Coxswains Meeting, usually before 7am, at which the race officials review the course and share any other important information.
There is a schedule of events that is essentially a framework for the order of racing, but it is often impossible to know exactly what time an individual race will occur. So bring a lawn chair, binoculars, perhaps a book, and be prepared to enjoy some “down time” in the great outdoors! Depending on the size of the regatta, you may see Junior (high-school aged), Collegiate, or Masters (age 27 and older) rowers in boats with anywhere from one to eight rowers in them.
At every regatta, CYRA will have an athlete and parent tent, somewhere among all the other tents belonging to the other clubs. We erect tents, giving the kids a place to rest, hang out with their fellow rowers, play cards, finish homework and eat/hydrate. We coolers full of food and drink, and tables. Then the valuable parent volunteers and CYRA staff work together to cook and serve breakfast and lunch (in addition to snack foods for constant grazing). Helping feed the rowers is a great opportunity to meet other parents in addition to child's friends! You can finally put some faces with the names you’ve been hearing at home.
To be clear, no parent is expected to help with anything while their rower is racing…go watch!