Rules and Race Notes


  • Coaches and Coxswains Meeting

    A coaches and coxswains meeting will be held prior to every race.  Critical information will be disseminated at these meetings and all participants are responsible for knowing this information.  Changes announced at the Coaches and Coxswains meeting will supersede any information found on the website. 

  • Athlete Classification and Eligibility

    • Novice Athlete: Any rower that began rowing after January 1 of this year.
    • Freshmen: Any rower that is in 9th grade OR younger.
    • Middle School: Any rower that is in 8th grade or below.
    • Masters: Any rower that is 21 years of age or older.
    • 1V: The top level of a juniors event.
    • 2V: The 2nd boat of a juniors event. Please note, if you want to row your only entry as a 2V (i.e., “you want to row your boat with ‘like’ speed),
      1) you must receive prior permission from the Regatta Director and
      2) you must row exhibition. Exhibition entries are not eligible for medals/awards.
    • “B” Entries: A 2nd entry (presumably slower than the first entry) in one event.
    • “C” Entries: A 3rd entry (presumably slower than the first 2 entries) in one event.
    • “D” Entries: A 4th entry (presumably slower than the first 3 entries) in one event.
    • Lightweight: An entry that contains no rower than 155lbs for high school men, 165lbs for open men and 135lbs for women.

  • Registration

    • Registration is open the day before the regatta and throughout the day of the regatta starting at 6am.  Exact registration times may be found in "Chase's Updates."
    • All competitors must know their bow numbers and race time. It’s recommended that they also launch with any tools they may need to make on the water adjustments.

  • Rules of Racing


    • Events are called to the dock 40 minutes before your race.  For the larger events, please note that we will call in 20-25 boat increments.  This helps ensure that the boats arrive at the start more in bow # order. 
    • Come to the dock as you are called. If there is a boat with a bow number before yours, allow them dock out first. 
    • Have oars down to the docks before you get hands-on the boat.
    • Have oarlocks undone, have a secure bow ball, make sure your heel-ties are in place.
    • Keep ALL unnecessary people out of the docking area.  NO parents, friends, etc.  Just 1 coach and the lineup.
    • Have your shoe bag ready/filled so your coach can take it with him/her back to the trailer.  Nothing stays on the docks. 
    • Know which dock you are coming BACK to once the race is over (either Lee’s Park or the State Boat Launch).
    • Crews should approach the docks, following the traffic pattern for their assigned launch area, bow first.
    • Athletes must check-in with the dock master. Here, heel ties and bow balls will be checked.
    • Once the shell is in the water, crews have 60 seconds to push away from the docks.
    • Coxswain or Stroke Seat should have an accurate watch & know their bow number, race time, and race event. It’s the athlete’s responsibility to be lined-up by bow number in the race lane approaching the start as you get closer to your event time.

    Warming Up

    • Do NOT hug the shoreline.  There is plenty of space to row up (except around the “S” turn.
    • NEVER cross the buoy line.  If you do, it is grounds for exclusion.
    • Single File going to the Start around the “S” turn.  The boats in the racing lane are thinking about racing, not the boats coming up at them.  If you have to row by ‘6’s, please do.  No power strokes around that turn.
    • As you go under the bridge, keep moving with caution and stay out of the race line.  Row continuously with no pressure here. Take no power strokes in the “No Wake” area & continue your progress to the starting line.
    • As you go past the starting line into the warm up area, continue moving and start looking for bow numbers near your bow number. As you approach bow numbers within 15 of yours, move left toward the buoy line and listen for instructions from the Safety Marshalls. If you are more than 15 bow numbers away from yours, stay to the right and continue onward.
    • Once you have found your correct place within your bow number order, turn, get in sequential bow number order, with your bow facing the starting line. Follow the Marshalls directions, moving towards the starting line, and keeping bow numbers overlapped.

    The Start

    • Follow instructions from the Starting Line Marshall and Officials.  If the day is windy, getting everyone lined up is very difficult.  It also makes it more difficult to hear words from the launch.  If it is cold, try to keep your crews moving as much as possible. (It will be very cold in the mornings – make sure they all DRESS WARMLY). They simply need you to comply and help get things organized. 
    • As you approach the Starting Line, be aware how many crews are in front of you and where the start of the chute is.  As your turn approaches, please keep moving your boat forward as the next boat begins the race.  When your turn is next, and the boat in front of you begins to build pressure towards the starting line….Count to 5 slowly…then begin to build pressure in your boat towards the Starting Line.  You should be FULL pressure as you go BETWEEN those 2, white buoys.
    • Take the arch on the right in the bridge.  The other Arch is for the boats rowing up to the Start. Along the starboard side, it is rocky – so please do not hug the shore there.  Immediately after the Bridge, on your Starboard side, is Skidmore’s Boathouse and docks.  They will be launching from here all day Saturday.  Please be aware of this.  About 3-4 Minutes after going through the bridge, you will come upon the “S” Turn.  It is the only turn on the course.  Please be careful rowing in both directions.   Crews will be DQ’d from the regatta if they cross the buoyed line – in either direction.  Faster crews have the right of way and must make their line/intentions known.  The overtaken crew should/must yield the path to the faster crew.  However, the Faster crew MUST give them time to move out of the way & cannot drive the slower crew through the buoy line (or) into the shoreline.  The Chief Judge Referee will elaborate more on this at the C&C Meeting.  Please note, when a crew obstructs the path of another crew, they can be penalized.  But, this does not help the crew who is protesting.  The LOC cannot guess how many seconds it might have cost someone and simply take that off from their Final Time.  The only penalty for impeding the path of a faster crew – assuming the slower crew was given time – is to exclude them.  Please anticipate when/where you might pass (or) be passed.  Choose your time & side wisely.  Above all, be careful if/when passing on the S Turn.  Safety is the priority of everyone involved here.  This is a visual of the “S” Turn from the air during a race (below) and higher (beneath):

    The Body of the Race

    • The entire race course is buoyed.  With the exception of turning into the starting position, you should NEVER have to cross the buoy line.  After the “S” Turn, you have about 700 meters in the small bay lined with white race course buoys every 10 meters, and then the course widens.  Both bays are straight-away.  At the end of the 700 meters, you will see 2 large (Orange) buoys and one large (white) buoy with “1500” written on it.  This means you have 1500 meters to go.  The entire length of this stretch is lined every 10 meters with a straight line of racing buoys (the little fellas on a Sprint course).  It will also have some large ones along the way.  Stay on the racing side.  Be safe, be fast, finish hard.

    The Finish

    • There will be two, large 5mph buoys framing the Finish Line.  One has a Daytona Race Flag on it (checkered).  We will also be putting something more to make the finish line stand out.  Once you finish the race, keep paddling!  Do not stop on the Finish line.  You will paddle through the bridge and follow the buoys.  At the end of the Buoys, spin to Port and head back through the near arch (furthest right) and return to the docks that you LEFT from.  If you are on Lee’s Park, do NOT return to the Boat Launch.  It’s a long walk back to your trailer through the food tents.  Make sure you all know which dock area you launched from please.  
    • Over 2100 boats have to launch, AND return to the docks.  Please be quick getting off them.  As soon as possible, please come back and get your oars.  The NYS Boat Launch has a very distinct traffic pattern on it.  All boats will approach the out-going docks from a counter-clockwise pattern.  Upon returning from the race, you will head of the ramp and to the right to return to your trailer. 

    Penalties, Objections, and Protests

    • Saratoga Regattas will follow the penalties, objectives, and protest protocol as outlined by USRowing's Rules of Racing.  

tail of the fish  -  sept. 25, 2021
Fish Creek  -  Saratoga, NY