Tips for Surviving a Regatta

Updated Monday July 4, 2016 by MLRC.

A collection of tips and strategies for having the best experience
(As adapted from the Bainbridge Rowing Club’s website)    

  • Go early and plan to stay all day  
  • Parking is often limited at regatta sites so if you are scheduled to arrive at the beginning of a regatta, get there early.
  • Be prepared to walk longer distances if you arrive later in the day.  Some regattas do have police issuing parking tickets so pay attention to the signs. If you are transporting other rowers, you may have to stay all day as other rowers may be in races throughout the day.
  •  After the races are completed, the later scheduled rowers are expected to help put the boats back on the trailer, pack up the tents and equipment, and will not be dismissed until Coach Welsh says they are able to leave.  

Dress for everything  
No matter the time of year, a long regatta day can have all types of weather. The better you prepare, the more you’ll enjoy the day. Mornings are almost always very cold and sometimes it’s a long day in the rain. Take plenty of layers and warm socks. A change of clothes or shoes are often needed if it’s raining. There is often mud even without rain. Bring a hat and a good pair of sunglasses – if the sun does come out you’ll be looking at water and the reflection can be very strong. You can’t bring too many clothes (at least the first time).  

Bring anything you might need  
At most regattas there are stores nearby, but a driving distance away and you do not want to lose your parking spot. Bring whatever personal items you might need, including your favorite snacks and drinks. Coffee will be provided at the beginning of the day, but the parents will be on their own for food.  The kids will be fed at the trailer throughout the day with hot and nutritious food.  Please make sure your kids are aware of their own food allergies and make it known to the people preparing the food, so they can be assured if there is any potential risk.  Restrooms are often porta-potties so come prepared with toilet paper and hand-sanitizer if you prefer.  

How to watch the races  
We keep a white board in our tent to find race times. Your rower will walk with their boat down to the launch area about an hour before the race. If you go to that area to take photos, be careful to not get too near the boats and rowers as it can create confusion and distraction for the kids. During a Head Race, the next 45-60 minutes their boat will be off in the distance beyond what you can usually see. You will need binoculars to see the boats when they come down the course until the last 500 meters. Be sure to cheer them on as they do hear us from the boat! You will soon learn that taking pictures can be disappointing without a strong telephoto lens at some of the regattas where the kids are far away.  Video cameras are also great to use as well, as the kids really like seeing their boat and can use the video as a learning tool as well.

What to do the rest of the day  
Regattas are almost always very long days. The best way to pass the time is to volunteer and socialize with other parents. We need help with set-up and tear down, with food prep and service at the trailer where the kids are, and there is cleaning up as well. Sometimes parents are needed to run errands (pick up coffee, sandwiches, etc.). We will ask for volunteers before races via email if help is needed.  Bring a chair, a blanket and even a book or computer to pass the time. At some locations there are great trails and paths for walking or running (Mercer Lake is excellent for this).  

Keeping yourself nourished  
The club provides food for rowers and coaches.  In the past years, we would provide food for the parents, as we would be at the regatta all day long.  Now the coach allows the kids to come closer to their race time, so the need to feed the families is not as important, especially since all regattas do have food tents (be forewarned- these aren’t always healthy choices). Regattas are not usually in areas with stores in walking distance, so bring enough food and drink for a full if you are planning on staying the whole time. Bringing your own full water bottle is always a good idea.  

Other things to know  
The boat area can get very congested. It is meant for coaches and rowers who are rigging or de-rigging boats and getting ready for races. The coaches do not want parents to be at the trailer area, but if you need to speak with your child, please do not disturb them when the coach is speaking with them or if they are meeting with their boat in preparation for a race.  

Most large regattas sell T-shirts and other rowing gear. If you’re interested, buy early as they run out of sizes by the afternoon.  It’s good to bring extra cash with you for vendors and parking as there won’t be ATMs nearby.  

Pack and load the car the night before. Help your rower prepare the first time but encourage them to be independent in their sport. Mark all their clothes, especially their unis, with their names. They should only carry one bag with their things – with lots of rowers it can get very chaotic and personal items often get lost. Many rowers bring homework to do during the time they’re not racing.  

What to bring 
Uni and their wrench
eam Hat and Team Jacket
Team sweats and Team sweatshirt
Cold weather training top and bottom
Slip-on/off shoes for docks

Waterproof shoes or boots
Dry clothes for after race 
Socks – 3 or 4 pairs at least
Homework, iPod, books, sunscreen
Money – for T-shirts or food
Warm hator Food for return trip  hat
Blanket or sleeping bag

Sunscreen and sunglasses

Rain gear (including an umbrella)
Layers of clothing
Comfortable walking shoes
Snacks, beverages, water bottle
Directions to the regatta