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Regatta Tips for Newcomers

"Regattas can be hot, cold, sunny, rainy, fun, boring, and exciting, all on the same day."
--Unknown Regatta Spectator

Before You Go

Before you go to the regatta, print out a schedule of the day's races, which is usually posted on the Race Day Schedule (Published by VASRA 1-2 days prior to the regatta) on the night before the regatta.

Early morning weather at Sandy Run can be windy and cold. Then the weather may change to warm sunshine or a cold drizzle. Prepare yourself for comfort by dressing in layers. Wear Colgan Crew Spiritwear to show your support for the team. Wear comfortable shoes to help you navigate the long rocky trails at the park. Bring a chair or pad to sit on, and bring binoculars to see the races.

Most Colgan Crew regattas are held at Sandy Run Regional Park.  A typical regatta includes about fifteen schools, each racing several boats.

Rowers are required to arrive early to prepare for the race. Races typically start in the morning and run through the afternoon. Upper boats often race in the morning and lower boats race later. Check the schedule to find out the planned start time for each race. The schedule is usually only posted a day or maybe two before the race.  Remember that race times may change based on the weather or other factors.

The coaches will tell the rowers what time they need to arrive. Plan to arrive early, since it may take 30-60 minutes to reach the grandstands from the time you arrive at the park.


There is only parking for volunteers and rowers at Sandy Run. Car pooling is recommended. All spectators will need to park at South County High School or a commuter lot on 123 and take shuttles to Sandy Run. Check the VASRA site for more information on parking. There is a fee for the shuttle, generally about $15 per person, for a trip to and from Sandy Run. Bring cash, because that is all they can accept. For those needing extra help getting down the grandstand, there is a  small shuttle for an additional fee.


If you signed up to serve as a volunteer on regatta day, be sure to sign in at the boat ramp before going to the grandstand. This signup station is staffed by VASRA.

Before you travel to the grandstand, you may want to stop near the boathouse to enjoy the spectacle as hundreds of rowers carry their boats to the water. If you hear someone shout "heads up", that means a boat is coming through, so move out of the way. The boats are heavy, hard to maneuver, and expensive to repair.

A trail to the grandstand can be found near the boathouse near the docks.

A trail to the grandstand begins just inside the main gate. The one-mile trip to the grandstand covers steep hills and unpaved trails, and takes 15-20 minutes to walk.

On race days, you can avoid the walk by paying a nominal fee for the shuttle to the grandstand that runs from the parking lot inside the main gate.

The Grandstand

Near the grandstand you will find programs and race schedules, T-shirt vendors, and a concession stand selling hot and cold drinks and food. When you reach the grandstand, look for other Colgan Crew spectators wearing Colgan navy blue, grey or light blue.

The grandstand offers an excellent view of the finish, but binoculars will help you see more of the race. You may wait two hours to see a five-minute race, two minutes of which you can see without binoculars. But it's an exciting 2 minutes, and well worth the wait. You can cheer for all the Colgan Crew boats!

Colgan Crew Association, Inc.

13833 Dumfries Road 
Manassas, Virginia 20112
Email : [email protected]
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