***Important information for those planning to bring trailers***

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Welcome to the 2017 Charlie Butt Scullers’ Head of the Potomac Regatta!

The 37th annual Charlie Butt Scullers’ Head of the Potomac Regatta will be held Sunday, September 24, 2017 over a 2.8-mile course that extends down the Potomac River along the Virginia shore across from the Georgetown/Foggy Bottom waterfront in Washington, D.C. The sculling events that give the regatta its name will be complemented by sweep events. Results will be available at Regatta Headquarters (Potomac Boat Club) and at Thompson Boat Center no sooner than one hour after each race. Spectators will find excellent viewing from the foot of Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown; the banks of Roosevelt Island (entrance on the Virginia side of the river); the Washington Harbor complex; the Thompson Boat Center near the intersection of Rock Creek Parkway and Virginia Avenue N.W.; and the footpath and park in front of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Online registration is available via Ronin Racing. To guarantee a place in the regatta, and to avoid a late entry charge, entries must be submitted by Sunday, September 10. From Sunday, September 11 to Sunday, September 17 there will be a late fee of $20 per entry.


SHOP course map

Entries – Please register online at Ronin Racing.

To guarantee a place in the regatta, and to avoid a late entry charge, entries must be submitted by Sunday, September 10. From September 11 to September 17 there will be a late fee of $20 per entry.

Any questions regarding entries or registration should be sent to Director of Registrants Will Packard.


Online registration ends on Sunday, September 17. There will be no registration on race day.

Race packets will be released only upon submission of all waiver forms. Under no circumstances will a competitor be allowed to pick up a packet and race without payment of the entry fee or submission of a complete waiver form. Please fill out waivers on Ronin Racing here.

The official address for the regatta is:

Charlie Butt Scullers’ Head of the Potomac Regatta
Potomac Boat Club
3530 Water Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007

Entry Fees

For complete entries submitted by September 10:
Singles – $30.00
Doubles and Pairs – $40.00
Quads – $55.00
Fours – $65.00
Octuples and Eights – $70.00
After September 10, add $20.00 per entry.


For an event to be a medal event, a minimum of three entries from at least two organizations must start the race. Sweep events will be awarded medals for first place only. Sculling events will receive medals according to the following formula: 3 to 10 entries – 1st place only; 11 to 15 entries – 1st and 2nd place; and 16 or more entries – 1st through 3rd places. In events 1 and 23 a separate medal will be awarded for each division, all other requirements having been met. Medals will be awarded for Men’s and Women’s Senior Veteran Singles (age 70+) if the regatta receives sufficient entries – three or more competitors from two or more boat clubs.


The regatta committee reserves the right to rule on any situation not specifically covered by these guidelines and to penalize or disqualify any competitor or crew that appears to violate the spirit or letter of the rules of competition or sportsmanship, on the water or off.

Schedule of Events

1 Youth/Novice Single (M&W) 8:30 a.m.
2 Open Single (M&W) 8:45 a.m.
3 Lightweight Single (M&W) 9:00 a.m.
4 Men’s Masters/Senior Masters/Grand Masters/Veterans/Senior Veterans Singles 9:15 a.m.
5 Women’s Masters/Grand Masters/Veterans/Senior Veterans Singles 9:30 a.m.
6 Men’s Youth Eights 9:50 a.m.
7 Men’s Club Eights 10:10 a.m.
8 Master’s Four-With (M&W) 10:25 a.m.
9 Women’s Club Eight 10:40 a.m.
10 Open Double (M&W) 10:55 a.m.
11 Women’s Youth Four-With 11:10 a.m.
12 Men’s Open Eight 12:10 p.m.
13 Club Double (M&W)/Parent-Child Double/Youth Double/Adaptive Inclusion Double 12:25 p.m.
14 Women’s Four-With 12:45 p.m.
15 Quads (Mens/Masters Mens/Womens/Masters Womens/Mixed) 1:00 p.m.
16 Master’s Eight (M&W) 1:15 p.m.
17 Men’s Youth Four-With 1:30 p.m.
18 Men’s Four-With 1:45 p.m.
19 Women’s Open Eight 2:00 p.m.
20 Masters Double (M&W/Mixed) 2:15 p.m.
21 Women’s Youth Eight 2:30 p.m
22 Mixed Eight 2:45 p.m.
23 Grand Challenge Octuple 3:00 p.m.


Definitions and Eligibility Rules

Note – unless otherwise stated, all dates shown are in the year of the regatta.

Novice: Any sculler who has not competed in a sculling race prior to January 1 and who has not been a member of any senior national team nor has been a finalist in any sculling event at any national championships, the Independence Day Regatta or Canadian Henley.

Youth: Any rower 18 years of age or younger as of September 24.

Intermediate: USRA rules apply

Master: Any rower at least 30 years of age as of September 24.

Senior Master: Any sculler at least 40 years of age as of September 24.

Grand Master: Any sculler at least 50 years of age as of September 24.

Veteran: Any sculler at least 60 years of age as of September 24.

Senior Veteran: Any sculler at least 70 years of age as of September 24.

Handicaps will be based on the USRA 1000m handicaps adjusted for the 2.8 mile head race distance. A listing of time handicaps used for different boat classes is available online.

Lightweight: Men: 165 pounds or less; Women: 133 pounds or less.

Club Eights: Raced by individuals who, in the current year, did not finish in the top six places of any race at the EARC, EAWRC, Western Sprints, IRAs, PAC-10s or at NCAAs, or the top six places in any elite or open event at any national championships or national team trials.

Parent-Child: This division of event 13 will be raced after the Club Double. This race is for fun: no age requirements or handicaps, no gender requirements, no DNA, no arguments. Separate medal awarded, all requirements (three boats to start, representing at least two organizations) having been met.

Adaptive Inclusion Double: Crews in this event include one athlete with a verifiable and permanent physical or intellectual disability and one athlete without any qualifying disability. Inclusion crews may be mixed or same gender. Competitors must at a minimum be enrolled in high school. There is no age maximum and no age handicap. Separate medals will be awarded for the PR 1 or 2 (fixed seat) and PR 3 (sliding seat) categories.

Mixed Eights: The crew shall be at least half female (i.e., no fewer than four women), excluding the coxswain.

Grand Challenge Octuples: Entries must be submitted under only one club/school name. Four of the eight scullers must be from the same club/school. Mixed gender crews are acceptable.

In Masters Events 8, 15, 16, and 20: The average age of masters crews must be 35, with no rowers under the age of 30. Handicaps are based on the USRA handicaps adjusted for the 2.8 mile race distance.

In Events 15 (Masters and Mixed Masters), 22, and 23: Masters crews (minimum average age 35, no rowers under age 30) will receive a handicap but will not race in a separate division. Masters handicaps are based on the USRA standard.

Coaches and Coxswains and Packet Pickup (Race Day Only)

The coxswains and coaches meeting will be held at Thompson Boat Center, 2900 Virginia Avenue, NW, Washington, DC (at the corner of Virginia Avenue and Rock Creek Parkway) at 7:00 a.m. on race day, Sunday, September 24.

Race packets may be picked up at Thompson Boat Center, 2900 Virginia Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. (at the corner of Virginia Avenue and Rock Creek Parkway) on race day, Sunday, September 24 from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Competitors may not pick up a packet until all completed waiver forms have been received and entry fees have been paid.


Lightweights must report to weigh-in between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, September 24 at Thompson Boat Center. Lightweight rowers will not be allowed to pick up a race packet until after weigh-in.

Course Description

As shown on the accompanying course map, the 2.8 mile course starts almost 2 miles above Key Bridge, just downstream of Fletcher’s Cove, and follows the Virginia shore for 1/3 mile to a point just below the Hens and Chickens Islands where it makes a slight turn to port. The course continues along the Virginia shore for 0.6 miles to a point about 400 yards above the Three Sisters Islands where it makes another turn to port. From here the course goes straight for 0.9 miles passing through the second arch (from the Virginia shore) of Key Bridge making a turn to starboard. The course then continues downstream past the upper end of Roosevelt Island where it makes a wide turn to starboard around the island and then goes straight to the finish just above Roosevelt Bridge.

The course will be marked with a pair of buoys at the starting line, a single large buoy at the Hens and Chickens turn to port, three buoys marking the turn above the Three Sisters, and a pair of buoys each at Key Bridge and at the finish line. There will be a line of small buoys marking the shallow water and debris on the inside of the turn around Roosevelt Island. Additional buoys will be in place between the small buoys and Roosevelt Island for safety purposes.

Boats must pass on the Virginia side of the buoy at the Hens and Chickens turn or be assessed a thirty second penalty.  Boats must pass on the Virginia side of the three buoys above the Three Sisters Islands or be assessed a fifteen second penalty per buoy (keep the buoys off your port side). No penalty will be assessed for failing to pass between the buoys at Key Bridge or at the finish line; however, your finish time may not be recorded if you cross the finish line too far from the timing boat for the officials to read your number.


Shells without a bow ball will not be allowed to start. Rowers in shells with flexible shoe soles attached to foot stretchers must assure that the heels are attached in such a way as to allow quick exit in case of emergency. All competitors must row a fixed-rigger, sliding-seat racing shell.


Each boat must display its number and be equipped with a bow clip. No boat will be allowed to leave the dock without a number. Back patch and bow numbers will be in race packets. Each competitor is responsible for arriving at the starting line at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled starting time for the event. Course marshals will direct competitors in the marshaling area above the starting line. At the start, shells will be started at 10-second intervals. Any boat arriving late and starting three or more minutes after the last boat in the event will be assessed a 30-second penalty.


When passing, the overtaking boat has the right of way. The boat being overtaken must give way on the side chosen by the overtaking boat. No boat should press its right of way to the point of collision. Good sportsmanship must prevail at all times, and any boat showing disregard for safety may be penalized or disqualified.


See Course Description. All boats must row clear of the finish area and return to launching sites via the DC side of the river.

Dock Assignments for Out-of-Town Entrants

All out-of town entrants (except singles and doubles) must boat from the Thompson Boat Center at the intersection of Virginia Avenue, N.W. and Rock Creek Parkway. Single and double scullers may use the float at PBC. It will not be possible for out-of-town crews to walk shells larger than a double through Potomac Boat Club. No equipment may be stored at PBC. Those launching from Thompson Boat Center should allow 45 minutes to reach the starting line; from PBC, 30 minutes.


Regatta participants and spectators are advised to heed all posted parking restrictions. Access to the Washington Canoe Club immediately upstream of Potomac Boat Club must be kept open at all times. Do not park under the Aqueduct (the old stone arch) or between PBC and WCC so as to interfere with passage of traffic into the Washington Canoe Club.

Boat Trailers

There is a limited amount of space for boat trailers at Thompson Boat Center. If you plan to bring a trailer to the regatta you MUST inform the regatta committee in advance, no later than September 10, so that parking spaces can be allocated in accordance with U.S. Park Service requirements. Without advance notification we will not be able to assure you trailer parking at the Thompson Boat Center parking lot. If you are bringing a trailer, please inform the Regatta Committee by September 10 using the form below and include the following details:

  • Organization Name
  • Contact (driver or designated representative)
  • Telephone numbers, both daytime and evening
  • E-mail address

Further Information

Additional information including directions to PBC and the Thompson Boat Center is available on the Club’s website, www.potomacboatclub.org.

Contact the Potomac Boat Club Regatta Committee

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Your Race Committee

Lauren Schumer: Regatta Chair

Eric Edmonds: Director of Timing

Ken Swain: Director of Permitting

Will Packard: Director of Registrants