Regatta Tips for Parents

Regattas are fun, relaxing, sociable events—if you have a plan! Here are a few tips for parents to get you started.

Season Prep

Before the first race of the season, decide on a tote or backpack that you will use as your regatta bag. Pack it with the essentials, and leave it packed for the season. Replenish as the season progresses. Include items such as travel packs of tissues, hand wipes, sunscreen, binoculars, pen and small pad of paper, and head gear like a cap, visor or hat (you will be in the sun all day—plan your head covering accordingly).

You’ll probably want to purchase a folding chair (or chairs) with carrying straps if you don’t already have one.

On-Site Tips

You will typically have to walk a good distance from where you park to the MRC tent. Make sure the items you bring to the site are lightweight, have wheels and/or good shoulder straps, etc.

Bring a camera and binoculars (both optional, but you’ll be glad you did).

Your rower should have a sleeping bag or quilt and a pillow at regattas for comfortable resting between races. You can buy a lightweight, washable, inexpensive sleeping bag at Wal-Mart or Target.

Getting There

This website includes information about regattas, including where they are, dates, and an address to plug into your GPS or Google.

What to Wear

Often, it’s chilly when we arrive and blazing hot by noon. LAYER! Make one of your layers a windbreaker or something that can take a light rain. Don’t wear shoes that can’t get dirty!

Bring a hat or visor—it’s a long day in the sun. You can still get a sunburn when it’s overcast.

Planning Ahead

We generally must arrive at race sites EARLY (and ON TIME). Take a few minutes the night before to load the car and lay out clothes for a quick exit in the morning.

The Night Before

  1. Have your rower pack his/her bag with additional clothing that may be needed, schoolwork to bring, any prescribed medications, inhalers, or EpiPens, and maybe a deck of cards or a game for downtimes between races.
  2. Load the car with your regatta bag, chair(s), sleeping bag, a light blanket, and a couple of pillows so your rower can doze back off while you drive. 2 – 3 pillows pile up nicely so your rower can be in a comfortable position (it’s all about the rower!). Your “site” sleeping bag can double as a blanket.
  4. Prepare any food you need to bring. Leave the bag or cooler near the refrigerator so you actually remember to get the chilled items out! Be sure to bring your gallon of water.
  5. Check the weather: Races will take place even when there is some rain predicted—bring something waterproof and lightweight, like a windbreaker with a hood. Coaches will let you know if a race is cancelled due to weather.
  6. Get to bed on time!!!!!

Make sure you have you rower’s uniform top and trou ready! It’s generally better to wear the top and trou while traveling vs. dressing on site. You can wear other clothing over the uniform.

Arrival and Staking your Claim

Rowers need to head to wherever the boat trailer is parked to help with setup.

Parents should head to the MRC tent area as soon as you get to the site and set up your chair(s) somewhere comfortable. If you want to reserve a place near the water, set your chair down as soon as you get there—waterside fills up fast.

Race and Eating Schedule

Please bring a copy of the lineups that were mailed out during the week. Remember, the schedule can change the day of the race.

Food is the fuel that drives the rower in turn which drives the boat. To avoid running out of energy or eating too much, rowers must eat the right food at the appropriate times. Rowers: don’t put off eating; it may get to be too late! Rowers should eat immediately after races and about 2 hours before their next race. Avoid greasy and fatty foods.

Food will be brought by everyone to be shared amongst the members of the team.


Regattas are long days and there is generally lots of down time between races. Bring your favorite reading material or a laptop—or hang around the food tent and chat with your fellow MRC parents.

Dogs are usually welcome, but they must be on leash—and please only bring dogs that do well in boisterous crowds. Check the park’s web site for rules.