Regatta 101

What is a Regatta?

Most of our races or regattas are held on Saturdays at Sandy Run Regional Park from March through May. TJ parents gather at the grand stands and help cheer on the rowers and coxwains. Each regatta is run by volunteers, and we have a reputation of being wonderful volunteers who are always ready to help. We do have one or two travel regattas in the schedule every year. You can find the 2022 regatta schedule here.

Regattas are exciting events for our team, as each regatta is an opportunity to see how our boats have progressed. Each and every rower gets to race during the season: there are no "benched" rowers. However, a boat may not be able to race if it is missing one of its rowers or its coxswain and no one is available to substitute. It's imperative that members of our team make a real effort to make it to every regatta.

The Race Course

In the spring, high school rowers race 1500 meter races. The course is divided into 6 lanes by buoy lines, with large orange buoys marking the finish.

On race day, the start dock is set up and stakeholders are stationed in order to hold boats in place. Launches (motorboats) driven by referees are on the course just in case anything goes wrong.

Bird's eye view of the race course.

Map of Sandy Run Regional Park

What to bring?

For Rowers:

Rowers and Coxswains should wear uniforms on regatta days and bring your food tent assignments. A large refillable water bottle is a MUST. Additional layers and dry socks are also recommended. There are changing cubbies available at the boathouse. Early on in the season, it may be very cold out. Temperatures tend to be even lower on the water, and there's nothing worse than having to race on cold, stiff muscles. Check out our performance clothing here for TJ Crew tech shirts, fleeces, and other useful stuff. As the season gets warmer, you should plan to pack sunscreen to avoid sunburn. Last but not least, don't forget to bring toilet paper and hand sanitizer - the portable toilets at the river run out of both of theese pretty quickly!

For Parents:

Dress for the weather as we will be outdoors the entire time! A hat, sunscreen, binoculars, jacket, camera, and water are recommended. You may also buy and bring a seat cushion from TJ crew as they are comfy! Traveling light is best, and good walking shoes are a MUST if you plan to walk to the Grandstands.

What time should students arrive?

Coaches expect rowers to arrive at least 2 hours prior to their race time. Coxwains are expected to arrive earlier to attend coxswain meetings. Since parking for Sandy Run is closed during regattas, parents should drop off students at designated drop-off spot 2.5 hours prior to rower's race time. Coxwains should be dropped off at the designated drop-off spot 45 minutes prior to their meeting times.

How can I help?

Contribute to TJ Food Tent:

Students are assigned items to bring for the TJ food tent so they may visit at any point during the day to hydrate and eat. Tents at Sandy run are for students.

Parent volunteers are needed at each regatta to help set up the food tent on Friday evening before the regatta, and to clean up after the regatta. Please sign up on the home regatta page under each regatta.

Volunteer for regattas:

Each family MUST volunteer at least once during the season. TJ Crew is fined if we fail to fill our required VASRA volunteer positions - races can not happen if we don't help! Plus, you get to park at the river instead of South County HS! Check out open slots and sign up here!

How do parents get to Sandy Run regattas?

Parking at Sandy Run during home regattas is available ONLY for coaches, rowers, and VASRA volunteers. Spectator parking is at South County High School - 8501 Silverbrook Rd, Lorton, VA 22079. A bus service is offered from South County High School to Lot C in Sandy Run Regional Park every 15-20 minutes. Cost is $10/person round trip for non-athletes, and free for athletes in uniform. When you enter the parking lot, look for signs, the shuttle buses (not school buses) and the parking personnel who will be wearing reflective vests.

Give yourself 90 minutes to get from South County High School to the grandstands. Plan well ahead so you don't miss the race. There is a shuttle from Lot C to the Finish line if needed, one way $3. Athletes and parents in the same vehicle – either have the athlete drop off parents at South County and then drive to Sandy Run and park, or drive to Sandy Run to be dropped off and then a parent drive to South County and park. Unfortunately, VASRA doesn't allow parking onsite for athletes/parents in the same vehicle. We encourage rowers to carpool.

Bus and VASRA volunteers at South County High School welcoming parents.

Sign for Lot C at Sandy Run Regional Park. This is the bus drop-off/pick-up point.

Watching the Action

Once you arrive at Lot C in Sandy Run Regional Park, you can either walk to the Grandstands, or take a small bus ($3 per person each way), which is helpful on rainy days, as the trek downhill to the Grandstands could be slippery. It takes about 10 minutes to walk from Lot C to Grandstand, so please plan your arrival accordingly.

The grandstands at Sandy Run are placed at around the last 250 meters of the race course, so the finish line is in full view. Look for TJ parents and join us in cheering our boats.

You can find results of every race at these regattas, including our races, at VASRA's twitter feed: @VASRAResults.

Where may I get food and drinks?

There is a concession stand at the Sandy Run Grandstands. VASRA volunteers sell snacks and lunch items as well as spirit wear. Do support the stand so we are able to help cover race expenses. For travel regattas, TJ Crew volunteer parents offer wonderful meals for everyone at both St. Andrew’s and Stotesbury.

Pasta Party!

Fridays before races at Sandy Run, parents who live near the river host pasta parties for the team. Each rower and coxswain chips in $7-$10 to cover costs. These are fun gatherings where rowers and coxswains enjoy spaghetti and good company. The team captains are super respectful and happy to help clean up. If you live in or near Fairfax Station and may be willing to host, please reach out to a team captain). After Friday afternoon practice, upperclassmen and/or parents drive team members to the party. Once everyone arrives, pasta, meatballs, garlic bread, and meatballs are served. Parties generally end at 9pm, allowing athletes to get a good night of sleep.

What is VASRA?

VASRA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) association. This organization serves to promote scholastic rowing among high schools in Virginia. VASRA is the organization that runs all of our home regattas. We are required to help VASRA by volunteering for races. Every crew family is required to volunteer at least once during the season. You can sign up to volunteer on this signup genius page. Free parking at Sandy Run is available to those volunteering that day. See https://www.vasra.org/ for more details about VASRA and the different volunteer positions.