Event Overview

The 2019 Head of the Occoquan (HOTO) will take place Saturday, November 2nd and Sunday, November 3rd at Sandy Run Regional Park, VA, 20 miles south of the nation’s capital. HOTO has become one of the largest regattas in the US. Held on the Occoquan Reservoir, HOTO showcases the reservoir’s winding course through brilliant fall foliage.

The two-day regatta will feature Open 8+'s and 4+'s, Collegiate events, and all singles and Masters sculling (except mixed) on Saturday, November 2rd. The Club, Junior, Masters sweep and mixed sculling events will be on Sunday, November 3rd. This schedule allows all rowers to enter multiple races on one day or several races over two days. Additionally, the Open 8+ and 4+ events will allow top area clubs to race the Collegiate 8+'s!

Be sure to register early, as registration will close when the number of registrants reaches the limitations imposed by the Northern Virginia Park Authority.

The deadline for entries and waivers will be October 20th, or when the entry limit dictated by the park has been reached, whichever comes first. The limit is based on the number of trailers as well as the number of participants. We encourage you to sign up early.

All registrations will be made at Ronin Racing: www.roninracing.com

Spectators will watch the races from Sandy Run Boathouse. This location allows for good viewing as well as proximity to food and retail vendors.

Thank you for helping to make HOTO a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. We look forward to seeing you in November!

If you have any questions or comments about the regatta send an email to 20190BCHOTODirector@gmail.com


A. Event Definitions

1. Collegiate: Open to students of a 4-year university or college.

2. Champion: Open to all.

3. Alumni: All competitors must have been graduated from or attended the university or college they are representing.

4. Club: Open to all crews, except that colleges interested in participating in Sunday club events must first compete in the corresponding Collegiate event on Saturday.

5. Lightweights: Open to male rowers not over 165 pounds and female rowers not over 135 pounds. On boats with multiple rowers, each rower must meet the weight requirement since there will be no averaging of weights. Weigh-in is held at the Upper Boathouse on the day of the event. Weigh-ins begin when registration opens and must be completed by the close of registration. Check the regatta schedule on the registration website for exact times.

6. Masters: Each competitor must be at least 22 years of age AND the average age of each boat MUST be over 30. Age is calculated using the US Rowing rules. Coxswains are excluded from age restrictions and calculations. Events are based on ten-year increments (30+, 40+, 50+, 60+, 70+, 80+) and may be adjusted to 5 year increments depending on the number of entries.

Age categories 50+ and above will be handicapped. If an event is under-subscribed, it will be held with the closest age group BUT will receive separate medals for that age group.

7. Junior or Youth Events: Each competitor must be less than 19 years of age at the end of 2019. No college students may participate. Sunday Events: 18a, 18b, 21a, and 21b “Club” events: No junior boats permitted for this event.

8. Upper and Lower Boats: Lower boat events for Juniors and Collegiate rowers may be held depending upon the number of entries. No upper boat rower may participate in the lower boat event. For each upper event boat, a lower event boat will be allowed. A club or school’s fastest boats must be entered in the upper boat event.

9. Novice: USRowing recommended definition of a novice athlete: a novice rower “shall be a coxswain or rower whose initial competition within the same discipline (sculling or sweep) has been in the previous 12 months of the date of the regatta”. Novice athletes are students or other athletes who have never competed in a regatta before the current season. Novice boats are comprised solely of novice athletes. Former coxswains who row for the first time are considered novice rowers. However, a former rower who then becomes a coxswain is not considered to be a novice coxswain.

B. Registration

1. Entry Deadline: See Registration website for exact date and time of the deadline for entries.

2. Waivers: Every competitor must have executed an official US Rowing Release and Waiver of Liability, Assumption of Risk and Indemnity Agreement (the “Waiver”) in order to row in the Head of the Occoquan. The Waiver is available at rowingwaiver.com

3. Registration Material On-Site: All registration materials, maps and schedules are available at the top of the hill in Boathouse #3. Please see schedule on the Registration website for registration hours.

4. Fees: See Registration website.

5. Scratches: Report scratches to the Registrar at least 2 hours before the event. Do not wait until the start of the event to report scratches.

6. Refunds: As in previous years, there will be no refunds for this event.

7. If you have questions regarding registration, direct them to 2019HOTORegistrar@gmail.com

C. Arriving at the Park

1. Trailer Parking: Each trailer must complete an online trailer application, available on the Registration website. Once the maximum trailer limit is reached (in order of received applications], no more trailers will be admitted to the park. Questions- please email 2019HOTORegistrar@gmail.com

2. Parking: Vehicle parking is very limited at Sandy Run Regional Park; therefore carpooling is highly recommended. No charge for buses, team vans carrying 12 people or more, and car toppers. For all other vehicles: $20.00 each.

Again, this year, free parking will be available with shuttle bus service to the park. Free parking is at the “park and ride” commuter lot located at the corner of Route 123 and Old Bridge Road in Woodbridge.

KEY NOTE for SUNDAY: There will be no spectator parking or rower drop off at the HOTO venue on Sunday until 11 am. There will be many shuttles running in the morning. Please do not drive to the venue on Sunday before 11:00am …. you will be turned around and directed to the park and ride commuter lot!

3. Boat Rigging: Sandy Run Regional Park has limited boat-rigging areas and as such strictly notes areas that are acceptable to rig shells. Please assist the park staff in ensuring your shell is not in the way of vehicles, pedestrian traffic, etc.

4. Team Tents: There are two designated locations for team tents. See the venue map for acceptable team tent areas. The Regatta Registrar will assign team tent areas. No tents will be permitted in the area around the boathouses. This rule will be strictly enforced.

5. Viewing Areas: Spectators are encouraged to view the races from the open area below the boathouses. Any spectators in and around the boathouse area must avoid the boat traffic area and avoid areas designated for coaches and athletes only. These areas will be clearly marked.

6. Prohibited: No open flames, or alcohol will be permitted in the park. No dogs or other animals are permitted in the park on Regatta Days. All attendees must abide by NVPRA rules. (See: http://www.nvpra.org/park/sandy_run/content/rules

D. Bow Numbers and Equipment

1. Competitor Number: Every boat must display the bow marker assigned to it at on-site registration. The marker must be fixed to the bow so that the entire marker is clearly visible on both sides. The bow-most occupant of every boat, and all stem-seated coxswains, must also display the exact matching back marker, pre-affixed to the layer of apparel in which they intend to race. Without proper competitor numbers the race organizers cannot guarantee an accurate time.

2. Bow Balls: All boats with a sharply pointed bow must be equipped with a fixed protective bow ball.

3. Shoes: If a boat is fitted with shoes, it must have, in working order, a device on each shoe that facilitates the quick release of the athlete’s foot in an emergency.

E. Launching and Hot Docking

1. Event Schedule: Unless otherwise officially informed by the Chief Referee or Regatta Control, all competitors should assume that the regatta is running on time and in accordance with the pre-published schedule of events.

2. Hot Docking: It will be responsibility of the crew launching late or borrowing a boat to inform the dock master in the event hot docking is to be attempted. It is up to the discretion of the dock master whether to allow hot docking, which will not be allowed to the detriment of the other crews launching or returning from their race.

3. Launch Schedule: The Regatta Director will maintain a very strict launch schedule in order to ensure the regatta is run on schedule. Crews arriving at the dock after final call for their event may be turned away from the dock. When launching, competitors must bring all oars with their boats as regatta volunteers will assign them directly to the least congested dock. The dock masters will provide recommendations for launch but it is the responsibility of each crew to launch in time to arrive at the start on time. The starting area is a 30-45 minute row from Sandy Run Park—plan accordingly. Due to Daylight Savings time, launch times on Sunday will be strictly enforced by the HOTO staff and no boats will be allowed to launch after 3:45PM.

4. Handicap Access: Sandy Run Regional Park offers all of its handicapped patrons parking access at the top of the boathouses at Sandy Run. Any special needs should be communicated to the organizers at 2019OBCHOTODirector@gmail.com

F. Penalties

1. Starting Penalty: Entries that (1) miss the final call for their event, (2) arrive less than five minutes before event start, or (3) start out of order may be assessed a 30-second penalty. Late arriving crews will be allowed to race only if deemed appropriate by the start team.

2. Race Course Penalties: Competitors will be assessed up to a 30 second penalty for each buoy missed or struck, depending on severity of violation.

3. Unsportsmanlike Behavior: Crews, coaches, or spectators exhibiting unacceptable behavior may be excluded at any time from the event at the discretion of the Regatta Director.

4. Passing: When a passing crew (the Passer) closes to within one boat length of open water on the boat being overtaken, it is the responsibility of the slower crew to yield the line chosen by the Passer in a timely manner. The yield should be completed by the time the Passer has closed to within one boat length. A crew failing to yield will incur the following interference penalties:

• 1st infraction: 60-second penalty

• 2nd infraction: removal from the regatta results

5. Safety When Passing: A passing crew has the right to pass on the side of its choice if and when a safe pass can be accomplished. The Passer must allow sufficient room for both its boat and the boat being overtaken to stay safely within the racecourse. If a pass is attempted, the Passer shall not press the right to overtake to the point of severe collision. If the Passer causes a severe collision, that crew may also be assessed a 60 second penalty.

G. Protests

1. Making a Protest: A protest involving the conduct of a race, unless circumstances beyond the competitors’ control prevent it, must be lodged at the end of the race at regatta headquarters within 30 minutes of submission of the results.

2. Lodging a Protest with the Chief Referee: If the on-the-water ruling is to be appealed, the appeal must be lodged with the Chief Referee in the form of a written statement within 30 minutes of reaching land.

3. Decision of the Chief Referee: The decision of the chief referee shall be final.

H. Awards

Awards are based on the number of boats that start the race, not the number of entries.


1-3 racers -1st place only

1-6 racers -1st and 2nd place

1-10 racers - 1st, 2nd, and 3rd

1-14 racers - 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th

15+ racers - 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th

In an event where age groups are combined, medals are awarded to the fastest boat in each ten year age group as above. For example, Women's Master 8+ (50+), medals will be awarded in the 50-59, 60-69, 70-79 age groups; number of places based on entries in each age group as specified above. Age must be entered accurately when entries are submitted to be eligible to medal in the breakdown categories (Coxswain age is not considered).

I. Regatta Cancellation

The HOTO organizers will make every effort to hold all races as closely as possible to the published schedule and still allow for safety and fairness for all involved. However, in the event the regatta has to be cancelled there will be no refunds and no credits toward future HOTO Regattas.

J. Vendors

Vendors interested in participation at HOTO should contact 2019HOTORegistrar@gmail.com

Thank you for your cooperation in helping to make HOTO a safe and enjoyable experience foreveryone. We look forward to seeing you in November!

If you have any questions or comments about the regatta send an email to 20190BCHOTODirector@gmail.com