Regattas in the U.S.


Regattas are broken into head races and sprint races. The fall season consists of head races, or races that are between 5,000 and 6,000 kilometers long and are held as time trials with each boat starting 15 seconds apart and racing the clock and the other boats. The spring season consists of sprint races that are 2,000 kilometers long with each boat starting together. The Head of the Charles is the largest two-day regatta in the world and it is generally held in mid to late October. The Head of the Charles has been around since 1965, and today it consists of more than 7,500 athletes from around the world who compete in 55 different categories. National crews from China, Spain, the U.S. and more compete here as well. The Regatta is a two-day "rowing festival" that attracts around 300,000 spectators each year.


The Head of the Hooch is the largest head race in the southeast and it features about 1,300 boats from crews across the country each year. One of the highlights of this race are the men from the U.S. National Team who compete and later hand out medals to the winners of each race.

The culmination of spring training and racing is the IRA Regatta for elite rowing schools or the Dad Vail Regatta for club and some Division I and II schools. Heavyweight women's Division I, II and III programs compete at the NCAA National Championships.

Regattas Abroad


The Henley Royal Regatta is perhaps the most prestigious regatta in the world, and each team must qualify to race there. It is held on the Thames River in London in late July and it is the last sprint race of the year. The Henley was first held in 1839 and has been held annually ever since, except during the two World Wars. The race is now a five-day event, and it is unique in that only two boats race at a time, with teams moving on only if they win. On some of the five-days, up to 100 races will go off.


Another prestigious race across the pond is the annual Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race that began in 1829 as a contest between two friends. Charles Merivale, of Cambridge, challenged his friend Charles Wordsworth, of Oxford, to a race, and the tradition has continued ever since. Currently Cambridge leads the contest 79-74, though Oxford won in 2008.

Olympic Rowing

There are only four sports have been present at every modern Olympics, which began in 1896, and rowing would be a fifth, except in that first year, all rowing events were cancelled due to bad weather. Rowing made its Olympic debut at the following Olympics in 1900 and it has been around ever since. Women's rowing joined the Olympic program in 1976 and lightweight events came onboard in 1996. Out of the 26 Olympics that rowing has been around for, the U.S. men have racked up the most wins with 10 gold medals, eight of which were won during a 36 year streak from 1920 to 1956 in which the Americans did not lose an Olympic final. The U.S. men most recently won in 2004. On the women's side, Romania has collected the most medals, with three gold, three silver and two bronze since 1976. The U.S. women have won twice--in 1984 and in 2008.