REGATTA 101

OUR TEAM WORKS HARD ALL WINTER SO THEY CAN GIVE THEIR ALL DURING REGATTA SEASON  —  
HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR REGATTA DAY, SO THE REGATTA-WATCHING EXPERIENCE IS AS GREAT FOR FAMILIES & FANS AS BEING ON THE WATER IS FOR OUR ATHLETES.

  KEEP IN MIND THAT REGATTA DAYS ARE LONG, THE WEATHER FLUCTUATES WILDLY FROM MORNING TO AFTERNOON, AND IF YOUR ATHLETE'S BOAT MAKES THE FINALS, YOU MAY BE AT THE RIVER FOR SEVERAL HOURS. 
FOR UP-TO-THE-MINUTE WEATHER FOR LOCAL REGATTAS, CHECK OUT
WEATHER UNDERGROUND'S
SANDY RUN FINISH LINE STATION.   

 Don't worry - we'll bring the boats.

Don't worry - we'll bring the boats.

WHAT TO BRING: 

ATHLETES:

  • ALWAYS BRING YOUR UNIS!  Your boat cannot race without them unless VASRA has announced a weather waiver, and yes, it happens that rowers forget. Bring your tech shirts as well for cold days.  Bring them even if you're not scheduled to race, just in case
  • Many teammates also bring sleeping bags to keep warm in the boathouse in between races
  • Bring all the things you normally bring to practice - a full water bottle, SUNSCREEN, and snacks for the day.  Also bring layers of dry clothing for in between races.
  • Extra roll of toilet paper - the Sandy Run port-a-johns run out around 11 a.m.

PARENTS:

  • Folding chairs, stadium seat cushions, or a blanket to sit on (the grandstands are concrete)
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, & hat 
  • Binoculars & a camera
  • Snacks & water
  • Tissues & hand sanitizer
  • A book or reading materials for in between races
  • Umbrellas or other rain gear if it looks cloudy — weather changes quickly at the river, and the grandstand sunshade is not water-tight.

PRO TIP:  It's a good idea to have cash on hand before you head to Sandy Run - onsite parking ($20), the shuttle to the grandstands ($3 one way), plus regatta T-shirts & concessions, all take cash.  Small bills are preferred.

The nearest ATM to Sandy Run is HERE (also the nearest Starbucks...).

We send out heat-sheets as they are available from VASRA and will have a few on site as well at the hospitality tent; if you'd like to bring your own, be sure you're printing out the latest version (they update several times over the course of a Friday, and even into Saturday morning).  You can also take photos of the sheets we print for the hospitality tent with your phone.

WHAT NOT TO BRING: DOGS!  While you may see leashed dogs at Sandy Run during practices, no dogs are allowed in the park on regatta days.  You also may not leave your dog in your car.  Even small dogs should be left at home.


 No life jackets required.

No life jackets required.

WHAT TO WEAR:

One word: LAYERS.  It can be cold and clammy at the river at 8 a.m., then tank-top weather by noon.  If it's cold, you will often see families in the grandstands sitting under blankets with warm mittens, and if it looks even a little cloudy, a light rain jacket can be a good idea,  Just be comfortable - it can be a long day.

A wide-brimmed hat can be a lifesaver (and a back-of-your-neck saver) on sunny days.  We also sell Oakton Crew baseball hats on our store. We always recommend wearing Crew gear so we can find each other in the grandstands — it is great to sit with other Oakton parents to cheer on our boats together.  If you need a bit of spiritwear, check out our STORE.  

The most important thing you can put on is a pair of comfortable walking shoes — even if you take a shuttle to the grandstands, there is a lot of walking on uneven ground to get around on race days.  The parking lots are mostly gravel and fields, so you will get muddy after a rain.  The river trail from the Boathouse to the grandstands is approx. one mile, and it's a beautiful but hilly hike, so be prepared.


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WHERE TO watch & HOW TO FOLLOW the Action:

ON RACE DAY: If you are visiting the boathouse in between races, please pay careful attention to teams porting boats up and down the hill - if you hear a very loud 'HEADS UP' then you may want to duck.  Teams carrying a 250-pound boat up or down the hill, or in and out of the boneyard or boathouse, do not have fine control or finesse to watch out for you.  Keep your head on a swivel and pay attention to your surroundings if you don't want to be hit by a very large boat.

There are many ways to find out information about upcoming regattas before race day, as well as updates after each race during the day.  VASRA sends out heat updates via Twitter: @VASRAResults.

Regatta Central is also a great resource for checking club entries before a race, and is the hub for almost every regatta in the United States.  

We will try our best to update the Oakton Twitter feed with results during the day, but sometimes the cell reception at Sandy Run is difficult on race days due to high volume of use.  Your best bet is always @VASRAResults first.

Our team and most travel teams launch and recover from our boathouse docks, but you cannot see the finish of races from the boathouse; check the Lot C to Boathouse & Grandstands section on the Regatta Parking page for details on getting to the Grandstand if you want to watch the races.

Keep an eye on Row2K for photos after a regatta  it's also a fun site to poke around for general information about rowing across the country.

OarSpotter has a complete guide to all oar blade designs for high school teams in the U.S. and Canada.

PARENTS: TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR DAY AT THE RIVER, Check out USRowing's 'VIEWER'S GUIDE TO REGATTAS' - some of the details vary since the article describes collegiate and Olympic-style rowing, but the background is great.  For a glossary of terms & details about high school rowing, with some Occoquan-specific terms, click HERE.

If you've checked our site and still have additional questions about regattas, feel free to reach out to our Novice Parent Reps for answers: noviceparentrep@oaktoncrew.com