Dad Vail Regatta

  • Hosted By: Dad Vail Regatta Organizing Committee
  • 2016 Registered Regatta
Dad Vail Regatta
711 Lindale Avenue , Drexel Hill, PA 19026 610.623.8590

Contact: Harry Stinger


Phila., PA -- This year’s Dad Vail Regatta will be held on Friday, May 9, and Saturday, May 10, on the Schuylkill River’s 2,000 meter race course in Philadelphia’s verdant Fairmount Park.

Over 80 schools have entered to date with the likelihood that another 30 or so will register by the final deadline. Over 30 states will be represented along with several Canadian provinces making up a field of almost 120 colleges, universities and service academies.

As usual, thousands of rowers will make Philadelphia once again the Mecca of college rowing for two days of championship racing. Joining the young athletes will be tens of thousands of spectators and fans to watch the national championship of emerging crews, as the Dad Vail has been called.

The Dad Vail also goes by other names. For some its been dubbed the “Big Daddy,” of college rowing. For others its been called the national championship for the “little guy.” But whatever the name, and whatever the size of the schools, it’s the regatta that ensures crews the opportunity to see how they stack up against other teams regardless. As a result you’ll possibly see a Michigan competing against an Iona, a Purdue taking on a Johns Hopkins or a Penn State up against a Colgate.

This make-up is what makes the Dad Vail special. Founded in 1934, by two rowing officials from Penn, they had in mind a regatta where “little guys” could compete and not worry about taking on power house schools of the day. The result was three schools competing in varsity eight boats; Manhattan, Marietta and Rutgers. (Marietta won). From this group of three, the Dad Vail has grown into last year’s 118 entries and the possibility that there will be a repeat number, possibly larger, this year.

The Dad Vail is named for an early 20th century rowing coach, Harry Emerson “Dad” Vail of the University of Wisconsin. He was held in such fond regard by the Penn founders, Lev Bret and ‘Rusty’ Callow, that they named the regatta for him.

The Dad Vail Regatta Organizing Committee (DVRPC) runs the Dad Vail. DVROC is a non profit organization under the rules of the IRS. Almost 200 volunteers make the event happen annually.