Head of the Genesee

  • Hosted By: Rochester Community inclusive Rowing
  • 2016 Registered Regatta


Please visit http://www.rochestercommunityrowing.org/events/ in order to see a course map AND a course Video.

The Event will feature a unique format where winning times are determined by combined Head Race and Sprint Racing times.  Winning time = (Head Race Time) + ( 3 x Sprint Racing Time)

Immediately below is a description of the Head Race.

Following below is a description of the Sprint Race.

Instructions for Coxswains - Head Race

Introduction and New Items

We make every effort to respect your ability to compete in our regatta and endeavor to run events on time.

Don't be late to the start.

Recent Additions and updates:

Boatyard and Dock 09/21/13

Launching Instructions 09/21/13

Proceeding to the Start 09/18/13

The Start 09/21/13

Boatyard and Docks

Trailers will be arranged on the Baseball Field, south of the ice skating rink, north of the docks.The boatyard is bounded by snow fences for your equipments security. All and only trailers and boats will be in the outfield of the ball diamond.  All and only crew and food tents will be in the infield of the ball diamond. Garbage cans are provided for your use.Portable toilets are provided for your use.The Dock master will call you to your assigned docks 10 minutes prior to your assigned launch time.Coxswains are responsible for knowing their launch times.Bring your boats to the docks in the orientation required for your assigned dock (bow or stern first).Orientation will be posted and announced at the morning coach and cox meeting.Have assistance on the docks to handle oars, shoes, etc.You will not be allowed to leave items on or near the docks.


All boats will be launched from the GWC side of the river for collegiate racing.  Arrangements have been made which eliminate any cross course traffic.  Launch your boats as directed by dock personnel.You will be heading UP stream.Please be efficient on the docks, as regatta timing depends on your adhering to your launch schedule.Don't be late to the docks.

Row only in the designated travel lane. Entering the race course may create an unsafe condition and may results in a warning or exclusion.

Proceeding to the Start Area


Because of continuing issues with crews arriving late to start the following is required.  All crews rowing to the start area are to proceed briskly; 8's must row by minimum 6 oars, 4's by all 4.  Failure to do so or failure to heed instructions of course marshals may result in a warning or exclusion !!!!  PLEASE have your crews be aware of their progress and their race times.

Row briskly to the start.Don't be late.Row by 6's or 8's so as not to be late to the start or block the travel lane.  Blocking traffic to the start may be assessed a traffic violation. The travel lane will be marked by buoys in the dock area, around turns, and at narrow spots on your port side.The travel lane will proceed thru the West arch of the Genesee Park Footbridge. The river traffic pattern is counter-clockwise.You will never need to row across traffic or have a buoy on your starboard side (hazard warnings excepted). Keep well to Starboard at all times.Interference will result in penalties appropriate to the infraction. NEVER impede racing; the river is several boat lanes wide, your courtesy and awareness are required. This is a natural river. Tree branches and shore snags are present.The rowing lanes will be cleared as best as practical, but coxswains vigilance is required as typical for river rowing.  As you leave the docks, you will approach the footbridge.Go thru the center arch in the prescribed travel lane (submerged logs are between the pier and the shore).Proceed past the rail road bridge to the start staging area.Report to the start area marshals when you arrive.Don?t be late to the start.

In the Start Area

Report 10 minutes ahead of your race to the start area marshals when you arrive.Start Marshals will advise you as to time to the start of your race, where your group is assembling, and what order you will be racing in.Presume races will be run on time and that you will race in bow number order.Take a watch, be on time.  Keep your crews warm by doing small drills. Keep in communication with the start marshals. Crews which row out of the start staging area and miss the start of the race do so at their own peril.The Start Marshal will line up your race in bow number order and will assist in spacing boats at 12 second intervals.  As this is a fall race, coxswains are advised to check that their fin and rudder are clear of leaves and debris.

Approaching the Start

The Start Marshal will alert you as to when your race is about to start. The Judge at the Start (Starter) will be near the bank on the starboard side (East Bank) of the River. You will be instructed to row on the paddle in sequence such that boats will be spaced at 15 second intervals (approximately 5 to 8 strokes between boat starts).The Starter will call you to increasing power so that you cross the line at full power.

The Start

Boats will be staged in two lanes, odd and even before the start. You will be released in turn by the Start Marshall (located at Black Creek), advance into the start.  The starting line is marked by a series of large red buoys 75 meters south of the railroad bridge forming a starting chute.The Judge will call you to increasing power so that you cross the line at full power.You will be given the command to start racing ("GO") as your bow crosses the start line.You are responsible for maintaining boat spacing.You are responsible for being at full power as you cross the start line.Your race time will be started by the timers as your bow ball crosses the start line. If you fail to follow starting procedure, the Judge at the Start will command your boat to return to the starting area at the end of the line of your grouping.  Additional information will be given to you by the Start Marshal on the water.If you suffer equipment breakage, pull off of the course within 100 meters of the start safely to port into the travel lane. Travel to the Starting Marshal and report your issue. Boats leaving the starting area are presumed to accept the fairness of the start. Boats failing to start without legitimate breakage will be assessed a warning and restarted appropriately as determined by the Judge at the Start.

The Race

The race is held on the Genesee River, a natural river with natural banks, bends, turns, currents, eddies, trees, outcroppings, snags, etc. Some floating debris is to be expected despite the organizing committees' best efforts to sweep the river.Navigate the course to your best advantage, keeping away from shores' hazards. Buoys mark the racing and travel lane. Keep your hull to the starboard of course marking buoys. In turns be sure that your racing line does not pose a hazard to boats proceeding to the start in the travel lane.Your clashing oars to a traveling boats' hull or rowers is a grievous safety hazard which will result in penalty, possible exclusion from the race. When approaching the footbridge near the finishing area, go thru the center arch. Submerged logs and shallows are between the pier and the shore. Going between the pier and the shore constitutes a safety violation as well as course violation and will result in exclusion.

Boats being overtaken are required to relinquish the fastest racing line to the overtaking boat. Overtaking boats are to CLEARLY (Loudly !) indicate their intent to pass and to which side they choose to pass. Boats being overtaken who fail to yield will be assessed an interference penalty.Interference will be determined by the discretion of the observing course marshal and is not subject to protest. Boats being passed are required to give safe water to the passing boats. Failure to yield a safe racing line will result in interference. If interference results in collision (clashing of oars on hull or oars on rower) or forcing the passing boat to stop rowing to avoid collision with an obstacle, the interfering boat will be penalized. When in doubt yield; yielding will result in less time lost than an interference penalty or exclusion.

The Finish

The finishing line is at the end of the long aluminum dock,denoted by a white tent, red buoys on the water, and a large orange finishing flag.Row full power thru the finish.Ease off and continue rowing thru the Elmwood Avenue bridge (stone bridge) before you spin and return to the docks.The Marshal at the Finish will advise you when and to which dock you are to land.Failure to follow instructions will result in assessment of a traffic pattern violation penalty.Any protest should be lodged with the Marshal at the Finish before getting off of the water. Leaving the water indicates acceptance of the fairness of the race.


Shore crews are advised to watch for landing crews. Quickly bring shoes, etc. to crews, assist in oar removal.Clear the docks quickly as other crews will be waiting to land.Carry your boats directly to your trailer area.Race results will be posted as they are available, your patience will be appreciated.  Any protest lodged on the water will be adjudicated by the Head Referee as appropriate. Present your written protest, observations, requested resolution, and check for $25 to Rochester Community Rowing to the Head Referee and follow given instructions for consideration and resolution.


Have fun, row hard, appreciate the skills and efforts of your competitors.

Dress for the weather.

Be polite, leave all your energy on the water.

Cox, take a watch.Cellphones or electronic communication with the shore are prohibited in the boat.

Don't be late to the start.



(See Sprint Course Graphics Below:)

Sprint Course Comments -


The afternoon sprint course provides the opportunity for crews to demonstrate their power in short course rowing, and the coxswain to demonstrate their ability to negotiate a prescribed course at high speed.

Crews race as pairs, matched by their head racing times.

The two lane course features a starting line which has been staggered to precisely account for the angled nature of the sprint course. (See RED area below)

Crews will be lined up in pairs in the starting area (GREEN area below) by the starting marshals.

The start is a moving start. Crews will be started in pairs at 20 second intervals by the Starting Marshal. Paired crews will be called to  the starting line by the Judge at the Start and accelerated to full power as they approach the starting line. Crews are to be at full power as they cross their respective starting line. Each boat will be given a separate starting time as their bow ball crosses the starting line of their assigned lane.

The two turns in the course result in a race course of three straight sections ending in a finish line which is perpendicular to the banks of the river.

Turn one is just before the I-390 bridge, turn two is just before the foot bridge.

Crews are required to use the center arch of the foot bridge following their racing lane as marked.

Turns are marked by large orange buoys on the Starboard Vertex of the curves. Lanes into and out of the turn corners are copiously marked with yellow buoys.  Stay in your lane.  Do not cross buoy lines.

The finish line is at the same location as the Head Race and is marked with large RED buoys.