Poughkeepsie Regatta Head Race

  • Hosted By: Hudson River Rowing Association, Inc.

Rules of the Poughkeepsie Regatta

Overview: The Hudson River Rowing Association invites you to compete in a 5,000m head-style race along the historic 1895 to 1949 Intercollegiate Rowing Association course while experiencing the natural splendor of the Hudson River during its calmest season of the year!  Shadowing the route of the old Junior Varsity (3-Mile) course, crews will race downstream from the Culinary Institute of America's main campus in Hyde Park to the Mid-Hudson Bridge in Poughkeepsie, passing under Walkway Over the Hudson State Park and rowing by several other Poughkeepsie Waterfront landmarks.  

News: Please contact the regatta director with any other questions you may have!

Venue:  Spectating opportunities are available along nearly the entire length of the course at Quiet Cove Riverfront Park (1,300m),  Walkway Over the Hudson (4,100m), Victor C. Wayras Park (4,500m) and Kaal Rock Park or view the entire race course from the Walkway Over the Hudson. Don't miss your chance to experience the beauty of the Hudson Valley while being the first crews in nearly a decade to compete on the same course of "Boys in the Boat" fame! 


Course Map


A view for the coxswains when approached the walkway bridge and the Mid Hudson bridge where to go. 

Rules & Regulations:


a. There will be a cap of 100 total entries with 1X events capped at a maximum of 10 entries per event.   Entries over the caps will be wait listed and may be accepted by the Regatta Director. All entries must be registered via Regatta Central and paid for by the deadline posted on Regatta Central.  Late entries may be accepted at the discretion of the Regatta Director.  Late entries that are accepted will be assessed an additional late entry fee equal to 50% of the entry fee. Unpaid entries will not be permitted to race. 

b. Complete registration information must be submitted by the registration deadline.  Missing or fictitious ages, names, abbreviations, initials, etc. must be corrected by the registration deadline.  Entries with incomplete information will be deemed scratched and treated as such.  Participants may only enter one event.   

c. Scratched entries will be refunded their entry fees up until the registration deadline less any administration costs.  Entries scratched after that deadline will not be refunded.

d. Events must have a minimum of two entries.  Races with only one entry may be combined with another event or canceled.  In the event of race cancellation due to insufficient entries, the entry fee will be refunded.

e. Should the Regatta be cancelled by the Race Director prior to race day, entry fees shall be partially refunded or credit towards next year’s regatta.  Races cancelled on the day of the Regatta due to river conditions or inclement weather will not be refunded.

f. Compliance with COVID protocols for individuals while on boathouse property.  Bathroom facilities are open for use. Water fountains will continue to be closed at this time.

For fully vaccinated individuals: Masks and face coverings are not required for fully vaccinated individuals in both indoor and outdoor spaces.  They are recommended for crowded indoor spaces.

For individuals NOT fully vaccinated: Those individuals who have NOT been fully vaccinated are required to continue wearing masks.  Social distancing and cleaning measures are still recommended whenever possible.  Those who are required by their school will continue to mask.



a.  Prior to the Regatta, starting order will be determined by random draw.  Bow numbers will be assigned to each boat according to this order and distributed along with a schedule in race-day Registration Packets.  Boats will be called to the launch dock by race number and bow numbers.  Boats launching from other locations will be called at the discretion of their dock master.  Boats on the river must position themselves in the marshaling area (marked on the course map) so they can start in bow number sequence.  Bow numbers will be collected at the return docks.

b. The Starter will space boats so that each shell crosses the starting line at regular intervals. 

c. Buoys will approximate both the start and finish lines. 

d. Boats must remain in the marshaling area and be alert to the possibility that they may receive directions from race personnel at the start, finish, dock, or in safety launches.  They must follow any such directions in an expeditious manner.

e. Hot-Seating will not be accommodated by regatta officials and events will not be delayed for boats that have hot-seated.  If you intend to reuse a boat, it is the responsibility of the coach and crew to ensure that enough time has been allotted for your crew to hot-seat and arrive at the starting line prior to the start of your event.  Coaches need to plan on a minimum of at least one (1) hour to reuse equipment in a subsequent event. Crews arriving late to start may, at the discretion of the starting officials, not be permitted to race.



a. A boat is deemed to be overtaking another when it has moved to within one length of open water of the boat ahead. On those portions of the course that are straight, a boat being overtaken shall move away from the Poughkeepsie shore to allow the overtaking boat to pass.

b. In cases where the overtaking boat’s position clearly prevents safe passage or where there is insufficient room to yield, passing is not allowed, nor is the boat being overtaken required to yield

c. Care should be taken when turning around in the marshaling area or past the finish line. Boats racing have the right of way over all other boats.



a. Where buoys mark the boundaries of the course, and in particular mark turns on the course, a boat shall be penalized 10 seconds for each buoy passed incorrectly. A boat passes a buoy incorrectly when any part of its hull passes on the wrong side of the buoy.

b. Boats failing to yield to those having proper right of way shall be penalized 30 seconds.

c. Crossing of the travel/race Buoy-line in either direction will result in a 60 seconds penalty for the offending crew.



a. All boats must be equipped with a protective "ball" on the bow or its anti-puncture equivalent as specified by the current version of the Rules of Rowing, rule 3-105, available from US Rowing.  Boats that fail to meet this rule will not be allowed to launch. 

b. For boats with flexible-soled shoes attached to the foot stretchers, heels must be attached to the stretchers with a maximum distance of 3 inches to allow for quick release in case of emergency (“heel ties”). Boats will be inspected at the dock and must comply with this rule to be permitted to launch. 

c. Water tight compartments must be properly sealed with the appropriate “bow and stern caps.”  Boats with missing caps designed to cover air tight compartments presents a safety hazard for the crew and will not be permitted to launch.

d. Each boat must display its assigned bow number and be equipped with a bow clip for this purpose.  No boat will be allowed to leave the dock without a bow number.



a. Participants will be classified according to the current version of the Rules of Rowing, available from US Rowing.  Masters rowers are 21 years of age and older.

b. Participants in junior events must be enrolled in High School, grades 9-12. 

c. Participants in Collegiate events must be bona fide students enrolled at and representing accredited/chartered colleges or universities and eligible to compete in intercollegiate athletics. 

d. Novice events are for participants in their first year of racing in that category, regardless of experience in younger categories.  For example, a rower in their 1st year as a Collegiate rower would be a novice, even if they previously rowed in High School.   All rowers in Varsity events cannot compete in Novice or Junior Varsity events.  Club and composite crews meeting these criteria are permitted. 

e. Boats in mixed events must have an equal number of male and female rowers.

f. Handicaps will be utilized for all Masters events and will be determined using US Rowing guidelines, as published in the current Rules of Rowing.  Masters entries may be split according to age categories, depending on the number of entries, at the discretion of the Race Director.  Participants are responsible for providing correct age information for Masters crews. 

g. In the interest of fair competition, the Regatta reserves the right to rule on a crew’s eligibility and appropriate placement in any event.


a. Two-way traffic is maintained on the river.  Boats must not cross the race course at any time, whether approaching the starting line or racing down the course.

b. All boats must move to the start line and docks with purpose

c. After launching proceed along the shore to the starting line.  Crews need to allow at least 40 minutes from dock to starting line.  More detailed instructions will be provided at the coaches and coxswains meeting.

d. Racing and returning boats will pass under the Walkway Over the Hudson (former railroad bridge) and Mid-Hudson bridges. Buoys will divide the Mid-Hudson bridge first span into racing and returning lanes.  Racing crews will pass under the second arch of the Walkway Over the Hudson bridge and returning crews will pass under the first arch of the Walkway Over the Hudson bridge

  1. All racing crews will pass under the second arch of the Walkway Over the Hudson bridge, and the first arch of the Mid-Hudson bridge between the buoy and the first abutment.
  2. All returning crews must proceed single file under the mid-Hudson Bridge along the shore line and proceed under the Walkway Over the Hudson by passing under the first arch.


8.  AWARDS                               

  1. Rowers (and coxes) finishing first in their race will receive first-place medals.


  1. b. Other awards or cups may be offered at the discretion of the Regatta Committee. 



a. Good sportsmanship must prevail at all times.  Objections and protests will follow the procedures outlined in the current version of US Rowing’s Rules of Rowing.



a. Trailers will be permitted to arrive and park on-site in the HRRA Community Boathouse South-lot from Friday 10/1/2021 3pm to 7:30pm or 4:30am to 6:00am on Saturday10/2/2021.  If these times do not work for you, please reach out to the Regatta Director to work out an alternate time.

b.In strict observance of COVID protocols, spectators and spectator parking will be prohibited on the boathouse property.  Regatta participants may be dropped off but non-participant vehicles must leave the boathouse property.



Registration closes Midnight, 9/27/2021.

Late Registration opens Tuesday, 9/28/2021.

Late Registration closes Midnight, Wednesday 9/29/2021.