Secret City Head Race

  • Hosted By: Oak Ridge Rowing Association, Inc.
  • 2016 Registered Regatta
  • USRowing Registered (Self-Insured regatta)



October 22, 2016

hosted by Oak Ridge Rowing Association
Clinch River, Melton Hill Lake Reservoir, Oak Ridge TN


5000 meters (Down Stream)


5:15 PM - 8:00 PM Friday or  6:30 AM - 8:00 AM Saturday

Coaches and Coxswains Meeting

7:30 AM, Saturday, at the ORRA’s Boathouse

At least one representative from each crew must attend. All crews will be responsible for the information delivered at the meeting, regardless of attendance.

Weigh In - LTWT ONLY

6:30AM-9:30AM , Saturday, at the ORRA's Boathouse. 



Directions and Maps

Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge

Please visit our website


Contact Information

Regatta Director:Sarah McAuliffe, Phone: (865) 482-6583, Email:



No mail-in, faxed or phoned entries will be accepted.

Registration: On-Line Entry Window closes one week prior to the event.

  • Entries should be made on the Regatta Central web site:

  • A preliminary schedule of events will be posted Wednesday prior to the regatta on the regatta central under lane draws. This will not be the final heat sheet and will be subject to changes. The final heat sheet will be distributed at the Coaches and Coxswains’ meeting.

  • Teams may sign-in at the ORRA Boathouse on Friday from 5:15 PM to 8:00 PM and on Saturday from 6:00 AM to 8:00 AM.

Entry Deadline

One week prior to the Event.

Late Entry

Crews missing the entry deadline will be considered a late entry. Please consult the Fee Schedule to check for any late fees that may apply. Late Fee (per entry) $10

Entry Fees

Singles:  $25     Doubles/Pairs: $40    Quads/Fours:  $60    Eights: $80

No team fee caps for this event.

Fee payments should be made online via Regatta Central

If a payment must be sent:

Oak Ridge Rowing, c/o Secret City Head Race, 697 Melton Lake Drive, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37837

Waiver Requirements

Every competitor must complete an online USRowing Regatta Liability Waiver. Competitors under the age of 18 must sign and have a parent or legal guardian sign an individual minor's waiver. No Paper waivers will be accepted.

Each crew must pick up a competitor's' packet at the registration table which will include each event in which it is entered. Packets will only be released to crews whose membership is fully verified to have signed a waiver form. Under absolutely no circumstances will entries with missing waivers be issued their race packet or be allowed to race.


Fees for events cancelled due to acts of God are not refundable.


If Scratch occurs on the day of the scheduled event no refund will be given. Events with only one entry may be scratched. Fees for such scratched events will be refunded.


Any competitors practicing on the course before the day of the regatta do so at their own risk. The Secret City Head Race Regatta committee does not schedule supervised practices.

Dock Master

The Dock Master has absolute authority over the dock area. All competitors must return to these docks after their race. The Dock Master will make the first call for each event 90 minutes prior to each events scheduled start time. Each competitor is required to report in before boarding launching dock. Competitors not reporting in prior to last call will be scratched. This helps ensure the regatta stays on schedule. Competitors arriving late to the starting line for an event may be Held at start area until a safe window for start is identified. The crew will race separate from other crews in the category. Outgoing boats will have priority over incoming boats. The Dock Master will get your crew to the water as soon as possible. 


Crews will launch from the input docks in the marina harbor. There will be no time for equipment adjustment on the docks. Crews should plan to adjust foot stretchers and tie shoelaces after launching. Novice crews should launch at least 60 minutes prior to their event to allow sufficient time to row to the start against the current. The harbor docks will be closed for an event 30 minutes prior to the start of the event.

Safety Equipment

Every competing boat must be properly equipped with a bow ball. Every competing boat shall also be equipped with quick-release shoes. Control commission will check before boarding launching docks (per rule 3-109).

Boat Numbers

Assigned numbers for all boats will be distributed when each crew picks up a competitor's' packet at the registration table for each event. Attachment of your boat number on the back of Coxswain and Bowman is critical for your time to be recorded correctly. Boat numbers will also be placed on the bow of each boat entered.

Hot Seating

Coaches must notify the dock master of their intention to hot seat. Events will not be held up to accommodate hot seating crews. Allow two hours between events in which you plan to hot seat for equipment or rowers - less than two hours may not allow enough time for the hot seating crew to get to the starting line. The dock will be closed for an event 30 minutes before the start of the event

Rowing to the Starting Line

Immediately after launching rowers will hold to the port side (coxswain’s right) of the harbor entrance to cross to the opposite (eastern) side of the river. After crossing the river, the crew will proceed upstream staying at least 10 meters away from the bank as a precaution keeping the orange buoys on the port side (coxswain’s left). Crews must pass under the right arch of the railroad bridge. PLEASE USE CAUTION! Traffic maps for both races will be set up at the Coaches and Coxswains Meeting and at the regatta site. When boats reach the starting line at Gibbs Ferry Park, they must check-in with the start Marshall.

Warm up

Once boats are upstream of the starting line, they may use the part of the river above the starting chute and the large orange upstream buoy to warm up. Crews should be conscious of the fact that other boat traffic on the river will not be suspended during the morning head race. Traffic may be encountered.


Approximately 10 minutes before the scheduled start of their event, boats should proceed to the staging area just upstream of the starting chute on the park side of the river and line up in numerical sequence of boat numbers. USRowing officials will assist in the staging area. The start chute will consist of the shore on the starboard side and a row of buoys on the port side

Late Boats

Late arriving boats should not cross the line of buoys to jump into the Starting Sequence, but should await instructions from the Marshals or Starter.  Any boat that starts out of sequence against orders of the Starter will be disqualified.  

Equipment Failure Prior to Start

If a competitor loses his/her bow marker or experiences eqipment breakage prior to Start, he/she should notify Marshals as soon as possible upon entering the chute.  

The Start

All boats must pass through the starting chute to begin the head race. Events will be started at about 15-20 minute intervals. The spacing between each boat in an event will be about 15-20 seconds (or 3-4 boat lengths). The starting marshal will direct each boat to begin rowing in the chute. The start official may direct a crew to stop rowing in the chute if the spacing is too small. There is absolutely no passing in the chute.

The Race

During the race, boats should keep the large course buoys on their port side (coxswain’s left) at all times. The yellow/orange buoys must always be on the port side. Hazards areas on the starboard shore will be marked with red buoys. Passing a course buoy with the buoy on the starboard side will result in a 30 second time penalty for each buoy violation. The only exception will be at the finish line, where double buoys mark the finish line gate. USRowing officials will be stationed along the course to monitor this as well as for safety.

Passing and Being Passed

Slower boats must give way to overtaking crews, allowing the overtaking crew the shortest course. Failure to give way may result in a time penalty of 15 seconds or disqualification. Usually, the crew being overtaken should yield to the starboard.

The Finish

The finish line is immediately in front of the 1500m line that is just upstream from the harbor entrance. Two large orange buoys will mark the finish line. All boats must cross the finish line between the buoys for your time to be recorded. Keep rowing after you cross the finish line. Do not stop on or near the finish line! Boats should turn toward the Oak Ridge bank and proceed in toward the harbor entering on the right side of the mouth of the harbor.  


May be of either sex for any event. Any experience level.  No weight restrictions apply. Coxswains are not required to weigh-in.


The weight of rowers in lightweight events shall be determined on Saturday morning between 6:30AM and 9:30AM. Lightweight weigh-in will be at the ORRA Boathouse. All Competitors weigh-ins should be completed in racing uniform, without shoes or other foot gear. No one will be weighed-in wearing more or less clothing.

o    Crews and alternates will weigh-in together and must be accompanied by a Coach or Program Designate.

o    Lightweight weights will be strictly enforced.  

  • Lightweight Men            160.0 lbs. (max - no avg.)  

  • Lightweight Youth Men        150.0 lbs (max - no avg.)

  • Lightweight Youth Women        130.0 lbs. (max - no avg.)

Crews are to step on the scale in the order that they row in the boat (i.e. bow to stern).  No one will be allowed to "check weight" on the official scale during the official weigh-in times.

Un-official scales will be on site as of Friday at noon.  Each lightweight rower shall have only one (1) initial opportunity to weigh-in. A competitor within one (1.0) pound or less of the weight standard is allowed one (1) re-weigh within the official weigh-in time window. A competitor whose initial weight is greater than one (1.0) pound above the weight standard will be ineligible to compete in the event.

The LOC strongly urges all coaches to refrain from unnatural weight requirements for rowers. A rower who appears severely dehydrated or to have used extreme means to lose weight shall be required to be checked by onsite medical personnel before being cleared to race. A rower who requires intravenous rehydration will not be allowed to race.

Rules and Regulations

The Secret City Head Race will follow the USRowing Rules of Rowing.


Intent to file protest must be indicated on the water immediately following the finish of a race. The protest must be made to a USRowing official before the crew leaves the area between the finish tower and the embayment. After a crew returns to the launch docks, all right to protest is waived the regatta will consider protest from each coach or coaching representative (only one coach/coaching representative per protest is allowed) per USRA rules at a fee of $50.00. The protest must be filed with the Regatta Director and the fee paid within 60 minutes from the start of the race in question. The Regatta Jury will consider appeals from crews who have been assessed a penalty.

Event Definitions

College events are restricted to individuals age 19 as of December of the same year as the event and older. (No Youth crews will be allowed in this category)

Club events are unrestricted for of any age category or skill level. All Mixed events are club events.

Novice events are restricted for individuals who have less than 12 months rowing experience in any form.

Freshman events are restricted for individuals in their first year of the College category that may have prior rowing experience in Youth or Club rowing. Novice athletes may row in this category as well. (No Youth crews will be allowed in this category)

Youth events are restricted to rowers that have not attained the age of 19 as of December of the same year of the event.

Women's Division: Female rowers and scullers only.

Men's Division: Male rowers and scullers only.

Masters Age restricted category that receives handicaps based on age as of December 31 of the current year. Masters Age Handicaps will be based on the 1000-meter age handicaps x5 found in the USRowing Rules of Rowing.


Awards/ Medals

Top three places are awarded medals provided if at least three boats rowed in their event. Medals will be awarded once results are official. Winners not claiming their medals/trophies by the end of the race day will forfeit their award.

Event Times and order subject to change:

The most current event schedule will be available via HereNow.

The head race will begin upstream from the Melton Hill Marina at the Anderson County Gibbs Ferry Park on the Clinch River. The head race will end at the 1500m line just above the Melton Hill Marina (Figure 1).


If weather does become a problem,  the Regatta Director will notify all participating crews on any potential changes.