Head of the Rock

  • Hosted By: Rockford YMCA Rowing Club
  • Cancelled

2019  Head of the Rock Rules

Traffic Pattern: Crews shall launch from one of four docks located south (downriver) of the finish line on the east bank of the river and shall immediately cross the river.  Boats shall proceed to the start line by crossing to the west side of the river, and arrange themselves in bow-number order as you get near the island.  Crews shall not cross the race course buoy line while proceeding to the starting area. Crews crossing into the race course will be subject to one or more of the penalties defined below.  See "Venue" tab for course map.

Lightweights:  A lightweight crew is one that complies with the requirements below.  An open event is one that is not a lightweight event.

  1. Men:
  1. A men’s lightweight crew, including a single scull (1x), shall have no rower who weights more than 160 lbs.
  2. Men’s Junior and Scholastic crews shall have no competitors who weigh more than 150 lbs.
  3. The coxswain shall not be counted for purposes of this rule.
  1. Women:
  1. A women’s lightweight crew, including a single scull (1x), shall have no rower who weighs more than 130 lbs.
  2. The coxswain shall not be counted for purposes of this rule.

Weighing of Competitors: The weight of rowers in lightweight events (Lightweights), as well as coxswains, shall be determined once each day no less than one hour and no more than two hours before the scheduled time of the first race in which the weight is relevant.  Competitors shall be weighed in racing uniform, without shoes or other footgear.  Competitors shall have only one initial opportunity to weigh-in.  A competitor within one (1.0) pound or less of the weight standard is allowed one re-weigh within the official weigh-in time window.  A competitor whose initial weight is greater than one pound above the weight standard will be ineligible to compete in the event.

Junior Crews:  Teams entering into 1st and 2nd Varsity events shall first have a boat entered in the 1st V before entering a boat into a 2nd V event.  Note, if the 1st V boat is scratched for non-medical reasons, it is the teams responsibility if a 2nd V boat is entered to promote this boat to 1st V else the boat shall be excluded from the 2nd V event. 

Hotseating: Crews are free to hotseat without notifying the Dock Master.  All hotseating must exit the water and return through one of the launch docks control commisions. Work with return dockmaster to get escort back through control commision. Crews should not access the recovery dock until their boat is approaching. All crews are responsible for arriving at the start line in a timely manner with the correct race bow number; hotseating is not an excuse for being late to the start or rowing with the wrong bow number. The presumed violation for either of these actions will be exclusion from that race.

Start Time: Crews shall arrive at the starting area 5 minutes prior to the scheduled start of their race.  It is the sole responsibility of each crew to arrive at the starting area on time.  Crews arriving late to the start will be excluded.  Under no circumstances will a crew be allowed to row for time (exibition only) if that crew arrives at the start area after the next scheduled event has begun. Crew arriving late will be asked to navigate back along the shoreline and yielding to all passing crews.

Bow Numbers: Each crew shall have a bow number indicating its’ place in the starting order.  No crew will be allowed to start without the appropriate bow number being affixed to the bow of their boat in a manner that allows the number to be seen by the starter.  Crews crossing the finish line with the wrong bow marker will be excluded.

Starting:  The Starter will arrange the crews so that crews cross the starting line at approximately 10 second intervals.  Crews are responsible for maintaining the appropriate intervals in the starting chute.

Right of Way:  A crew is deemed to be overtaking another crew when it has moved to within one length of open water of the crew ahead.  On those portions of the course that are straight, a crew being overtaken shall move to the starboard and allow the overtaking crew to pass.  Where the course turns, a crew being overtaken shall move to the outside of the turn and allow the overtaking crew to pass along the shorter path.  Nevertheless, passing is not allowed, nor is the crew being overtaken required to yield, in cases where the overtaking crew’s position clearly prevents safe passage or where the overtaking crew’s position clearly prevents safe passage or where there is insufficient room to yield.

Mixed Crews: Mixed crews with un-equal gender rowers will be allow to row, but will not be eligiable to medal.


  1. Where buoys mark the boundaries of the course, and in particular mark turns on the course, a crew shall be penalized 10 seconds for each buoy that the crew passes incorrectly.  A crew passes a buoy incorrectly when any part of its hull pass on the wrong side of the buoy.
  2. A crew that misses its correct sequencial start order shall be penalized 10 seconds
  3. Passing in the starting chute is not permitted and shall be penalized 20 seconds.
  4. A crew that fails to maintain open water between its bow and the stern of the boat ahead of it will penalized 20 seconds. 
  5. The presummed penalty for crews arriving at the start after their scheduled start time will be "exclusion", Time will be recorded as "Exibition" only.
  6. A crew that fails to yield to a crew being summoned to the starting area, or otherwise interferes with the staging of the start, may be penalized 10 seconds by the Marshal or Starter.
  7. A crew that fails to yield to a crew having proper right of way shall be penalized 30 seconds.