Grand Rapids Fall Classic

  • Hosted By: Grand Rapids Rowing Club
  • 2017 Registered Regatta


The Grand Rapids Fall Classic is hosted by the Grand Rapids Rowing Association. Beginning along picturesque Riverside Park and concluding just north of the GRRA boathouse, the 3.5k course runs on a calm and scenic stretch of the Grand River that is perfect for rowing.


Entries must be submitted online at RegattaCentral. The entry deadline is Monday, September 25 at 11:59 PM EST. Late entries will be accepted on a case by case basis and may be requested by emailing the regatta director. All late entries will be subject to a $20 fee per entry. The Regatta reserves the right to limit the number of entries in any one event.

Masters competitors must submit date(s) of birth for all competitors during the entry process. Masters crews with missing or incomplete date of birth information will forfeit the entire crew’s handicap. The lineup deadline is the same as the entry deadline, Monday, September 25 at 11:59 PM. Lineups and/or birthdates will not be accepted the day of the regatta.

All competitors may race in multiple events. Competitors are responsible for allowing sufficient time to race in one event, land, re-queue, and launch again.

The regatta will not refund scratches communicated after the Monday, September 25 entry deadline.


Junior: High school/junior rowers have been enrolled in high school in 2017 and are under the age of 19 at of December 31, 2017.

Novice: Novice athletes are in their first year of rowing.

Lightweight: High school lightweight rowers should comply with current USRowing maximums of 150 for men and 130 for women. There will be no weigh-in; lightweight entries are on the honor system, however a scale will be available at headquarters for protests.

Masters: Masters are 21 years of age or older and are at least one year removed from competitive college or national team rowing. Handicaps are awarded beginning at age 27.    

Mixed: Mixed crews should be 50% male and 50% female, excluding the coxswain.


Handicaps for masters events are figured on the average age of the crew using standard USRowing handicap formulas. Handicaps will be assigned by age class. Rowers competing as masters who fail to provide ages for each rower in the boat will forfeit the entire crew's handicap. Masters competitors must submit date(s) of birth for all competitors during the entry process. The lineup/birthdate entry deadline is the same as the entry deadline. Lineups and/or birthdates will not be accepted the day of the regatta.


The race schedule is posted on RegattaCentral and listed below. The coaches and coxswains meeting will be held at the headquarters tent at 8:00 AM. The first race will begin at 9:00 AM. A final schedule will be made available to all competitors on Thursday, September 28. Short breaks will be added as needed to maintain a reasonable schedule for athlete and equipment circulation once the final number of entries has been received. First call for launching will be 40 minutes prior to race time with a second call 30 minutes prior.


Coaches and scullers must report to the regatta headquarters tent to pick up their race packet. Registration/check-in will be open on Friday from 5:00 to 7:00 PM and Saturday from 7:00 to 10:00 AM.

Any scratches must be reported to the headquarters tent at least one (1) hour prior to an event’s start time. The regatta will not refund scratches communicated after the Monday, September 25 entry deadline.


Results will be posted as they occur and are finalized by the referees and regatta officials (including any penalties) at the headquarters tent. After the race, official results will be available on RegattaCentral, Row2k, and the Grand Rapids Rowing Association website. If there is a large number of entries in a masters event, crews may be split into separate events based on age.


All shells must be equipped with a bow ball. Each set of shoes within the shell must be equipped with properly-secured heel tie-downs no longer than three (3) inches.


The Grand Rapids Fall Classic is a USRowing registered regatta and requires the USRowing once a year waiver from all participants.


Bow markers will be provided to all crews by the Regatta. Bow markers must be returned at the conclusion of racing and will be collected at the control commission tent at the dock. A $10 charge will be assessed for any bow markers that are not returned. All shells must have bow clips to race.


Crews should approach the dock bow first. Control commission will check the heel tie-downs and bow ball and mark down that the crew has launched. The control commission or dock master will signal when you may approach the dock. There is 150 feet of dock for launching and landing on both sides, but only a single ramp for all dock traffic.

When returning from the finish line crews will land with their bow downstream. Crews should stay close to shore so as to avoid the race course and maintain a good position for docking and approach the dock slowly. The dock master will provide direction for where to land.


After launching, crews will proceed downstream for about 3000 meters to the start area. Yellow buoys will separate warm up traffic from racing traffic and crews should take care to stay to the right hand side. Obstacles will be marked with red buoys. Crews should proceed past the start line before turning and getting in bow number order for their race. A start area marshall will assist in arranging crews and directing them to the start.

At the start of the race, crews will be directed to approach the start by the marshal. This will be a running start. The start line is marked by two large orange buoys. When a crew’s bow ball crossed the start line, the starter will say “GO” to alter the crew that the clock has started. Racing crews should stay to the right of the large orange buoys. The course has ample width to avoid collisions and tight passing scenarios.

The course is 3,500 meters upstream against a minimal current. A large orange buoy will mark each 1k of the course. The finish line will be marked with two large orange buoys and a horn will sound when crews cross the finish line. After crossing the finish line, crews must continuing rowing upstream until passing the large white buoy, at which point they may spin and return to the dock. See map at the end of the packet for race course detail.

Race Course:


                                 Start Area Detail                                                                              Finish Area Detail


Referees will be situated along the race course to assure safety and fairness. Generally, USRowing rules of racing will be enforced. The primary goal of the officials is to ensure safety and fairness, not assess penalties.

In head racing, there is almost certainly passing that takes place. Crews being overtaken (passed) should yield to the overtaking (passing) crew. The overtaking crew must make it known which side they intend to pass on so that the crew being overtaken can provide them space. Neither the overtaking crew or crew being overtaken should force the other into any hazard, the shore, bridge abutment, or off the course. If necessary, crews should exhibit restraint until they are able to safely pass. Generally, the river is plenty wide to easily allow for passing. Failure to yield (by the crew being overtaken) or creating an unsafe situation (by either crew) may result in a penalty.

In no situation should any crew push a situation to the point of collision, in racing or otherwise. Coxswains and scullers should be aware of their surroundings at all time and remain in control of their boat at all times. Stopping, even in a race, is always preferable to collision. Causing a collision will result in a penalty.

All crews must adhere to the traffic pattern at all times and never cross the yellow buoy line that separates the warm up and return side of the river from the racing side. The river is plenty wide for this to always be possible. Crews violating the traffic pattern will be assessed a penalty. Crews disregarding the direction of marshals and officials at the start and finish may also be assessed a penalty. If violating the traffic pattern results in an additional unsafe situation, collision, or interferes with racing, additional penalties may be assessed.

All participants, spectators, and coaches and expected to exhibit good sportsmanship. GRRA has a zero tolerance policy for disrespectful language or behavior. Unsportsmanlike conduct will result in immediate disqualification.

Crews must start and finish their race with their bow number to allow for easy identification by the officials and timers. A missing bow number may result in a penalty. All crews are expected to be on time to the start. Crews arriving late may be assessed a penalty. In extreme circumstances the crew may be raced as an exhibition entry.

All penalties are subject to the discretion of the officials at the start, finish, and along the course. Penalties are generally summarized below:

Failure to Yield

Failure to yield to an overtaking crew in a reasonable amount of time.

First offense: 30 seconds

Second offense: 60 seconds


Actions resulting in a collision, regardless of the right-of-way.

First offense: 60 seconds

Second offense: disqualification

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Inappropriate language or disrespectful behavior


Traffic Pattern Violation

Crossing over the center buoy line, ignoring the direction of a marshal or official, using the wrong bridge arch.

First offense: 30 seconds

Second offense: 60 seconds

Missing Bow Number

Bow numbers should be securely affixed to allow for easy identification by officials and the start and finish line timers.

30 seconds

Late to the Start

This will be at the description of the starter. Options include assessing the penalty as listed, allowing the crew to race as an exhibition, or issuing the crew a warning and allowing them to start out of order.

30 seconds


Protests must be filed on the water to a referee or to the dockmaster. The protesting team will be assessed a $25 which will be returned if the protest is upheld. The protesting crew will have 30 minutes from the time they return to the dock to provide their protest in writing to the headquarters tent along with the necessary fee. Protests will be forwarded to the head referee and regatta director for consideration and will involve a conference of the crew filing the protest, any other crews involved in the situation leading to the protest, coaches of both crews, and the head referee.