Eagle Creek Invitational Regatta

2004 Feedback Forum

I apologize for the low-tech nature of this forum. I contemplated just opening up a Yahoo! Groups discussion board, but I'd rather condense and present the info myself. This allows me to start off with my own thoughts for each topic based on what I think people have already mentioned. Hopefully, if I devote some time to managing the discussion this will save you all time and we can reach consensus sooner.

The way this works is that you just send me an email commenting on one of the topics and I'll add it to the site with the rest. I know I haven't thought of everything so feel free to add your own topic.

Updated: 9-1-2004

2005 Regatta Date
2005 Regatta Location
Regatta Packet
- Points System
- Event Schedule
- Start Time
Race Course Installation
Race Organization
- Start Line
- Docks
- Finish Line
- Personnel
- Provisions

Next Year's Date

   DOUG: Easter is March 27 and Passover is April 24, 2005. Click here if you want to see for yourself. Therefore, the early April weekends are 2nd/3rd, 9th/10th, and 16th/17th. Every coach I talked to preferred the earlier date as a way to give their programs a bit of racing soon after spring break. Spring Break at the University of Chicago is March 19-28, 2005.

   GEOFF (NYU): The dates appear fine, and he's pretty confident NYU will be attending next year.

   CHRIS (Case): Early in the season is good. Case's spring break is March 7- 11. Typically we have a home regatta the last weekend of March (i.e., next year, probably 3/26).

   CAMERON (WashU):April 2nd or 10th. It seems that our options are the first two weekends in April. How about everyone sounding off to Doug as to preferences. In order.(option 1, option 2, option 3).

   WILL (URochester): I have a penciled in conflict (i.e. a traditional three way race) for April 9, which is about to be finalized.

Team Time Conflicts For Next Year's Race

TeamSpring BreakApril 2-3April 9-10April 16-17
BrandeisFeb 21-25   
CaseMarch 7-11   
Carnegie-MellonMarch 7-11   
ChicagoMarch 19-28   
EmoryMarch 14-18   
NYUMarch 14-18   
RochesterMarch 7-11 
WashUMarch 7-11   

Please check that I've got the Spring Break dates correct

If space is blank no conflicts have been registered

So far the YES votes for a race April 2nd near Pittsburgh have come in from:
Tim @ Case
Donald @ CMU
Will @ Rochester
Jess @ Chicago

   DOUG: Here is a link to a description of Moraine State Park in Pennsylvania just north of Pittsburgh. Lake Arthur, where the proposed race is to occur, is in the park.


Next Year's Location

   DOUG: At the moment, we have two basic options for next year's location: Indianapolis or Pittsburgh (or possibly even Rochester). My thoughts are that the race be held to minimize the travel distance for the teams that show up. I thought this year's location was great for the teams that showed up, and if it's the same teams next year we should keep in Indy. However, if we can get commitment from NYU and/or Brandeis then farther east may make sense. Therefore, as soon as NYU, Brandeis and Emory can confirm whether they'll attend will allow us to decide.

   GEOFF (NYU): Strong preference for something closer to the east coast due to cost considerations. Travel costs to Indy would be roughly the same as for their spring break trip.

   CHRIS (Case): Lake Arthur is a GREAT regatta site with extremely calm water. One cox so disliked the Indy conditions she says she would not attend if it were held there next year, and pretty much the entire women's team found the rowing incredibly difficult (particularly as it's such a young crew). We would much prefer Arthur. In fairness to the eastern teams, it'd be good to have a more eastern site regardless (whether PA or NY). Editor's Note: Chicago attended the Big Ten Invitational at the Indy course two weeks later and the water was awesome. I agree that the water can get rough in Indy, but we rolled the dice and lost. If only the wind had turned 180 degrees...

   CAMERON (WashU): Here is My take. I don't like Pitt. for travel reasons but I will get over it. It would put us and Emory in the travel seat. My main concern is weather. I have no concept of what the weather will be like in early April in Steel City. I see the avg. high is around 60 and the avg. low is around 40. Are we Interested in considering a more southern venue. This may not be as easy for some but it could mean roughly the same drive for most and perhaps consistent water. Charleston WV could be a reasonable option. It is farter away for us but in a collective sense it is closer for everyone.

I still like the idea of rotating the regatta to different venues. As a means of developing the relationship between the programs. It would be nice to play in each others back yard. If there is a program that feels that they could not host for lack of adequate facilities then we simply move to the next in progression or consider a venue close to the host school.

   DONALD (CMU): Pittsburgh would serve well for this capacity weather wise. Even if it is on the chillier side- however, historically, this is not too bad. The venue would be Lake Arthur @ Moraine St. Park, approx. 30 mi. due North of Pgh, I79. I have checked with appropriate parties- access will not be an issue. Regattas have been run there in the past. It is a great lake, there would be no recreational traffic. Downside is lack of lanes, though there are plenty of buoys that can be dropped. 2k course w/ 6-7 lanes wide is easily accomplished.

   WILL (URochester): As for Charleston,SC, I think Emory is the only school within 500 miles of Charleston. Charleston, WV - only CMU (227 miles) and Case (251)are within 500 miles as per map quest. Weather in Pittsburg in April is fine, absent a freak occurance. Don't think it is colder than WV. As for Moraine State Park, it is closer for 6 schools (by a total of 1,031 miles) but Emory (extra 214 miles) and Washington (extra 132 miles) would travel further.



   DOUG: I will do a bit better job next year providing more detailed directions and trailer instructions. Is there anything else that should have been in the packet?

- Points System

   DOUG: The points system was a point of contention for some. The system favored fielding many boats and winning the big boats events. I think Donald from CMU has "volunteered" to come up for a new system for next year's event.

   CHRIS (Case): Didn't make much difference to Case's performance.

- Event Schedule

   DOUG: We are all small programs and there's lots of doubling up. I think the final schedule worked out fine, but some weren't entirely happy.

   CHRIS (Case): Thought we had ample time for hotseating. The one thing I would suggest for next year is that if programs think they will need to borrow boats and/or oars, that they say so EARLY so that we can nail down exactly who needs to bring what for whom rather than trying to resolve situations on the fly during the day.

- Start Time

   DOUG: There appeared to be almost unanimous support for starting the race earlier. This year I honored the request of a couple teams making the long drive to start later. However, no one gets much rest the night before and the weather in Indy can get horrible in the afternoon so starting earlier seems to be the answer. Another option is to have the race on Sunday so teams can travel on Saturday and not be rushed. Since we have only a few events we could try and get the race done as early as possible on Sunday to allow for travel back home.

   CHRIS (Case): I would prefer to keep it on Saturday; otherwise, I am open.


Race Course Installation

   DOUG: I will apologize once again for the cluster-f that occurred the morning of the race. Some of the work installing the course was meant to be done by the park district for us. Hence, the waiving of the fees since it wasn't done. I wasn't told that buoys were even there until two days before the race after being told they wouldn't be since our race was so early. Anyway, if we have it in Indy next year, I promise to have a better handle on the buoy lines.

   CHRIS (Case): I actually think having some of the lines caused more trouble than if we had no lines, because it really seemed to confuse coxswains at the starting area. Better just to have no buoys, especially given the way the crews spaced out in most of the races.



   DOUG: All in all, I think things went pretty well on the day. I got many positive remarks about how the race was run, and everyone was very patient at the starting line and with the weather. I floated the idea of possibly having this be an "official" USRowing regatta, but every coach I talked to didn't think it's be a good idea due to the cost and added administrative burden for our small race. Therefore, we'll be run by the coaches again. This means that each team will need to provide a body or two to spend the day volunteering. So make sure your team captains are left with clear instructions while you're stuck in a launch all day.

- Start Line

   DOUG: Those at the start line had the toughest job. Nothing like novice men's 4's in a screaming cross-tail. Other than the wind, I really didn't hear much complaining about the start. Controlling access to the dock seemed to help keep things at the start manageable. Since our race is so early, there really is no chance of getting the start platform installed in Indy if we hold it there next year.

- Docks

   DOUG: I really didn't hear any complaints or comments about the dock. I think it went pretty smoothly.

   CHRIS (Case): Perfect. The dockmaster called out races early and repeatedly, was clear in directing returning shells and kept launching shells in line. Those helping on the dock (i.e. erynn and her mom) were particularly friendly and encouraging.

- Finish Line

   DOUG: Other than being terribly boring, things seem to have run pretty smoothly. We got results posted in a timely manner.

   CHRIS (Case): Results posted promptly and, it seemed, accurately.

- Personnel

  DOUG: I liked having a head coach in charge of each of the three locations: Start, Finish, and Dock. From this year, I think we'll need to plan on the following:
Start: 5-6 skilled people (Aligner, Starter, and a bunch of people in launches)
Finish: 1 skilled person and 6 unskilled people for timing
Dock: 1 Dock Master and 2 helpers
-- If it's in Indy, I can supply a bunch of helpers, but if it's somewhere else we may be in a pinch.

   CHRIS (Case): As with equipment, let's post the all of positions needed early and have people sign up. If we know extra bodies are needed perhaps crews can bring volunteers (i.e. friends who'd like to see a race or whatever).

- Provisions

   DOUG: My in-laws brought food for all of the volunteers, but forgot the coffee. I didn't even think about it, but they're Mormons and don't drink coffee. Cameron, I won't forget next year. ;-)



   DOUG: As you all may have guessed, I like betting shirts for any number of reasons. I would like to continue the practice. Also, I like having event level trophies for winners. A few of funded the two existing trophies, but I challenge all of you to find donors for more trophies. I'd love to see the Heinz Cup for Men's Eights next year. Come on Donald ;-) We could also consider having the entire regatta named after the cup much like the east coast races.

   CHRIS (Case): I think it's best to have Tees for ONE race.

   ANTONIO (Chicago): Cups are great, but the athletes do not get to take the cups to their dorms. I think that medals are a must.Do shirts fulfill this purpose? Perhaps. The implementation was a little screwy and perhaps that was because we (U of C) did not communicate the richness of the tradition to our crews. In college we bet shirts, but mostly raced in duals and only one event. Medals make no sense in this type of setting. I recommend that we encourage betting shirts only in events like the V & Novice 8+'s, where rowers are not going to overlap (or 4+'s, if these are going to be most people's marquee events).



   DOUG: The idea was floated about a University Rowing Association (think IRA). Face it, we'll never get official recognition from the UAA to hold a club championship. Plus, there are rumors that the UAA may dissolve. Even in the absence of a UAA organization for varsity sports, our clubs are the proper level for each other on many levels. We're all D3, mostly student run, and part of national, private universities. All the reasons why the larger universities chose to compete against each other. Creating our own group would allow us to eventually create a championship-level race and possibly invite other programs with similar demographics and structure. It's just an idea, and I'm not really prepared to sign up myself for the effort since I'll keep myself busy with the race itself in the future. If you build it, I'll run the race.

   CHRIS (Case): Sounds like a good idea.

   ANTONIO (Chicago): I love the idea for a URA, even for reasons that go beyond the UAA. Sign me up.

   CAMERON (WashU): I am a big fan of this idea. If anyone has suggestions lets actually air this out. I think if we were to establish a fund that we could use for site prep, awards... that would be great. I am hesitant to agree to expand now but do not see that as a permanent position. just think we should establish a consistent foundation.


I want to thank all of you again. I really had a great time, and I think all of the coahces and students recognized the importance and coolness of this race. Let's make next year even better.

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Mail any comments to: doug@rathburn.net
Last updated 8/12/2004