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The Basics: A Rowing Regatta

STAFF REPORTS
PHOTO BY LIZ HINLEY

One of the first words a new rower might learn when they pick up the sport is regatta.

A regatta is the term used to describe the series of races that comprise a rowing competition. There are several different types of regattas from duals and scrimmages to championship races. The word is used broadly to describe most competitive rowing races.

Traditionally, there are two seasons identified by their distances on the North American rowing calendar.

In the fall, regattas are usually referred to as “head” races. These races are longer distances usually between 4,000 and 6,000 meters. The spring is known as the formal racing, or sprint, season with most races the Olympic distance of 2,000 meters. With that being said, some races are a smaller distance if there are limitations due to the length of the river and other factors.

Head racing is typically done by sending crews one at a time with officials using timing systems to determine the winner. In the spring crews race head-to-head by lining up next to one another. Barring any penalities, the winner is the first crew to cross the finish line.

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