We mostly follow USRA rules, but let’s go over the basics and then defer to the USRA Rules of Racing.

1.1 Race Course Description

The race is rowed upstream and is a buoyed course. The start is located near the Des Moines Botanical Garden. The finish lies just upstream upstream from the Prospect Park launch area.  The course is approximately 5,000 meters (3 miles) long, with a bike path most of the way.

1.2 Course Boundaries

The course is marked by buoys. Refer to the Coaches and Coxswain meeting for specific markers.

1.3 Coaches and Coxswain Meeting

The coaches and coxswains meeting is scheduled for 7:00 am at Prospect Park at the announcer’s position near the launch docks. It is strongly encouraged that applicable individuals attend to gain insight on the course and any corrections or hazards present. The US Rowing Rules of Rowing  for Head Races apply to this regatta, except as noted below or as altered by the LOC in response to conditions.

2.1 Entry Classifications

The following classifications are used at this regatta:

  • Novice: Persons who have not competed in a USRA-sanctioned competitive event prior to 10/01/2015.
  • Junior: Maximum age is 18 as of 12/31 of the current year and currently in high school or equivalent.
  • Collegiate: Currently enrolled as a full-time student in a college or university.
  • Club/Open: Crews with rowers who may not fit the master or junior categories (such as a father-son double, a men’s 8 of varying ages, or 19- or 20-year-olds not in college) or any crews who wish to compete in this category.
  • Master: Minimum age is 21 as of 12/31 of the current year. Minimum average age of a crew is 27 as of 12/31 of the current year.
  • Grand Master: Age 50 or greater as of 12/31 of the current year.
  • Mixed Crew: Must have an equal number of each gender rowing in the boat.

2.1.1 Handicaps for Masters Races 

Age handicaps are based on the average age of the crew not counting the coxswain. All rowers competing as masters will receive a handicap in the results, if provided with registration. Rowers competing as masters who fail to provide ages, before the race, for each rower in the boat will not be given any handicap. This regatta follows the formula and process for handicaps established by US Rowing adjusted for the approximate length of the course.

2.2 Entry Application

Entry Applications shall be accepted only from USA residents that are either individual members of USRowing or members of a USRowing-member institution, and from foreign nationals that are in good standing with their nation’s FISA-recognized governing body.

2.3 Entry Fees

The list of fees is as follows:

  • Eights – $56
  • Fours – $40
  • Quads – $40
  • Pairs – $28
  • Doubles – $28
  • Singles – $16
  • Late registration and entry change fee is $5 additional per entry

2.4 Seeding/Starting Order

Starting order for an event is determined by placing the winning crew from the previous year at the head of the race. The order of the remaining participants in the event will be randomly assigned with weighting given by the rank provided during registration.

2.5 Colors and Uniforms

During the race, all members of a crew shall wear shirts of a uniform design and color to help officials in identifying crews. Failure to wear team colors may result in inaccurately recorded racing times. Please notify the dock master if you are using borrowed blades.

2.6 Composite Crews

Composite crews (rowers from more than one crew in a boat) must register as such and must wear their own team’s uniform. Composite crews are not eligible for team points.

2.7 Bow Markers

Bow markers are assigned and included in your registration packet. Please return them to the registration tent after each race.

2.8 Registration

2.8.1 Registration Hours and location

Registration for the Head of the Des Moines is available via Regatta Central.

2.8.2 Registration Deadlines

Standard Registration Deadline: September 19, 2016 11:59 PM CDT
Late Registration Deadline (online): Not Accepted
Boatings/Line-Ups Due September 19, 2016 11:59 PM CDT
Payment Due September 21, 2016 11:59 PM CDT
Waivers Due September 21, 2016 11:59 PM CDT Day of Event Registration

Event day registrations are accepted (with applicable late fee) no less than 90 minutes prior to the scheduled race’s starting time.

2.8.3 Race Withdrawls

Entries may be removed from a race by notifying registration and the dockmaster no less than 45 minutes before the start of a race.

2.8.4 Race Entry Modifications Before Standard Registration cut-off

Race entries may modified online before the standard registration cut-off. Additional fees might apply if changing the shell type. After Standard Registration cut-off

Race entries may be modified after the standard registration cut-off by filling out the appropriate change form available at the registration tent. No charges will be applied if only the rowers change. An entry change fee will be assessed if the event is changed. Additional fees might be applied if changing the shell type.

3.1 Rules of Racing

The Head of the Des Moines Regatta follows the current US Rowing Rules of Rowing unless otherwise noted.

3.2 Appeals and Protests

Any protests must be made in writing at the registration tent within 60 minutes of the race’s published preliminary results. A $50 protest fee must accompany a completed protest letter and will be returned if your protest is upheld. Protests will be forwarded to the chief referee for consideration.

3.3 Sportsmanship

All participants, coaches, and spectators are expected to exhibit good sportsmanship. Disrespectful language or behavior may be subject to disqualification from the regatta.

4.1 Coaches and Coxswains Meeting

The coaches and coxswains meeting is the first scheduled event of the day and will be held at Prospect Park at the announcer’s position near the launch docks. The USRowing Rules of Rowing for Head Races apply to this regatta, except as noted within these rules and regulations or as altered by the LOC in response to conditions.

4.2 Traffic Pattern

4.2.1 Yellow buoys mark the division between the warm-up and racing lanes. All boats must keep the yellow buoys to port side at all times, whether warming up or racing. Oars may cross the yellow buoy line, but the hull may not cross. Anytime a hull violates the yellow buoy line, a 10-second penalty will be assessed.

4.2.2 Orange buoys and tape mark shallow areas and hazards. They are self enforcing. We make every effort to mark all hazards, but the river changes constantly. Crowd the orange markings at your own risk.

4.2.3 Use the bridge spans designated for warming up and racing: one for warm up, one or two for racing. Critical spans are marked with suspended green markers (green means use this lane; no marker means don’t use this span). Violations of markers will result in a penalty being assessed.

4.2.4 Blue buoys mark the separation needed for choosing bridge spans and the starting chute.

4.2.5 Green buoys mark ¼, ½, and ¾ way along the course.

4.2.6 At the start, do not go downstream from the I-235 bridge. There is a dam there.

4.2.7 After crossing the finish line, continue rowing another 100 meters in order to make a safe return to the docks.

4.2.8 Boats racing have the right of way over all other boats. Any non-racing boat that interferes with a race will be subject to possible exclusion from its race.

4.2.9 A boat is considered to be overtaking when it moves to within a boat length of the boat ahead. When passing, the overtaking boat has the right of way, but is obliged to politely make apparent to the boat ahead on which side it wishes to pass. The boat being overtaken must yield to the overtaking boat, usually toward the bank on straightaways and toward the outside of curves. If, in the opinion of the officials, insufficient room is given, a 30- second penalty may be assessed. However, no overtaking boat should press its right of way to the point of collision or forcing a boat out of its lane. Racing boats interfering with other racing boats will be subject to a 30-second penalty or possible exclusion from the race.

4.2.10 If one or more rowers is ejected from a boat during a race, the affected crew must stop and remain with those individuals until all are safely out of the water.

4.2.11 Respect for the safety of other competitors and equipment must be shown at all times. If, in the opinion of the officials, a crew is behaving in a dangerous or reckless manner, that crew may be excluded from its race.

5.1 Schedule

Races begin at 8:30 am. The final event should be completed by 4:45 pm. Breaks and lunch are built into the schedule and will be used to get back on schedule as needed. Please don’t schedule the same equipment or people in races less than 90 minutes apart. This ensures that boats and crews have enough time to make the 30-minute row to the start comfortably. Boats will not be allowed to row outside their scheduled times, unless directed to do so by officials.

5.2 Starting

Be sure you have firmly attached your correct bow marker to the bow of the boat and the back of the bow rower. (They are pre-assigned and are included in your club race packet). Be at the start at least 5 minutes before the official start time of your race. (Allow about 30 minutes to row to the start.) This is a flying start, in single file. Line up in order of your bow numbers, from lowest to highest. (A 10-second penalty may be assessed for boats missing their place in the starting order, interfering with crews approaching the start, or going below the I-235 bridge. Boats may be assessed a 30-second penalty for having an incorrect bow marker or no bow marker.) As directed by the starter or marshall, cross the starting line at race pace about 10 to 20 seconds behind the preceding boat.


5.3 Equipment Storage

A secure area will be provided for storage of equipment and trailers at Prospect Park. Security personnel will patrol from 6:00 pm Friday to 6:00 am Saturday, however DMRC does not assume responsibility for damaged or lost equipment. Designated parking for boats and trailers will be clearly marked. Please obey signs.

5.4 Launching

We’ll be calling races to launch, first call at 50 minutes and second call at 35 minutes, but it’s the rowers’ responsibility to launch on time. Have boats ready to launch (with correct bow markers) at least 50 minutes prior to the official race start time. Rowers spending undue time on the docks may be assessed a 10-second penalty for each warning. Plan on taking at least 30 minutes to row downstream. Departing boats usually have dock priority over arriving boats.

5.5 Hot Seating

If your boat requires hot seating for a crew right after your race, check with the dockmaster prior to launching. If she/he approves, she/he will give you a bright green card. When you have finished your race, hold up the card. The official and dockmaster will make every effort to give you priority docking, but safety and fairness prevail. Make sure your hot-seating crew is ready on the dock.

6.1 Medals and Trophies

Medals will be given out for first- and second-place finishers in all races and third place medals for races with 10 or more boats. They can be picked up at the registration table after the race results are posted as official. Any protested races must be resolved before medals can be awarded.

6.2 Traveling trophies

Traveling trophies will be awarded as soon as possible after the last event of the day is completed. If you have a traveling trophy from the previous year, please send it, before September 1 to:

Julia Martinusen (515-707-2746)
217 Franklin Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50314

6.3 Scorekeeping

6.3.1 Preliminary Results

When possible, preliminary results will be posted near the registration tent, and online through http://headofthedesmoines.org. These results are tentative and subject to revision by the scorekeeping team.

6.3.2 Finalization of Results

Results of a race will not be finalized until all protests and penalizations have been resolved, the time for filing additional protests has elapsed, and the scorekeeping team is satisfied that the results are error free.

6.3.3 Filing Scorekeeping Protests and Complaints

Participants and or Coaches may file protests or complaints in accordance with section 3.3. Untimely complaints and protests may be rejected.

7.1 Regatta-Day Breakfast

Complimentary breads, fresh fruit, water, and orange drink will be offered at Prospect Park beginning at 7:15 am Saturday, until supplies run out. Snacks or lunches will be available for purchase on the regatta grounds.