The following information is subject to change. There are a number of race courses that are set up and used on the river by crews and paddlers. This section defines some of the known start and finish lines, as well as traffic patterns used during events.
George Washington Race Course- 3 Sisters to Thompson Boat Center
- When the GW Racecourse is in place during the mid to late spring, the following rules apply during non-regatta days.
- DS Crews should use lanes 2-4 (lane 4 is closest to VA shore) only! No crew heading DS should use lane 1. US crews should stay off the course except when passing around the Three Sisters Islands.
- Slow-moving crews using the course above Key Bridge should give way to faster crews. No crew should stop and impede traffic while on the course.
- Crews should leave the course and take a standard course on the river once they have reached the upstream end of the “Black Wall” (where crews have their team color painted).
1500m Scholastic Events (VASRA/WMIRA) and Collegiate 2k Course
- The start of this course is at approximately the middle of the Three Sisters Islands with the finish being at the downstream end of the Georgetown Waterfront Park adjacent to Washington Harbor.
- Racing lanes use arches two and three from the VA shore.
- Traffic headed upstream uses the 2nd arch from DC.
- The 2k course adds 250m to either end of the course, so the start is near the top of the Three Sister’s Islands, and the finish is at the far end of Washington Harbor.
PBC Sculler’s Head of the Potomac (2022 version)
The SHOP course continues to have small alterations to it, but generally follows this pattern:
- The starting line is around or slightly above the Hens and Chickens. The marshaling area is above in the straight between the rocks and the cove.
- Crews follow the VA shore through gates and past buoys downstream, through the 2nd arch of Key Bridge, around the corner of Roosevelt Island across from TBC, and then finishes between gate buoys just before the first arch of Theodore Roosevelt Bridge.
- Crews headed upstream to follow the normal river traffic to the start.
- This is usually a very busy day on the river! Be aware of other river traffic that is not part of the regatta.
Old PBC 2K Course
There is a rarely used 2k race course that runs from just below Hens and Chickens and PBC. Crews align the start using markers on the DC shoreline. The angle of the river requires crews to line up close together on the VA shore to allow a straight line past the Three Sisters Islands with the course taking crews towards the middle of the river with a finish in front of PBC. Because this course causes crews to cross into oncoming traffic and finish in the middle of the river it is not recommended for use. It is noted here for reference only,
WCC Kumu’ohu Challenge (Spring) Race Course
15K Race: OC1/OC2, surf ski, and sea kayaks.
The start line will be a line from the timers on the WCC dock to a buoy in the river. After starting, paddle along the Virginia shore behind Roosevelt Island, continue downstream past 14th St. Bridge, and turn counterclockwise on the first red channel marker on the DC side of the river. Remain on the DC side of the river back toward WCC. Continue upstream, turn on the buoy at “mile rock” (don’t cut short and hit the rock!), and paddle back to WCC, finishing at the WCC dock.
8K Race: SUP and sprint canoe/kayaks.
The start line will be a line from the timers on the WCC dock to a buoy in the river. After starting, paddle along the Virginia shore behind Roosevelt Island, continue downstream, and turn around the second arch on the Virginia side of Memorial Bridge. Then work your way to the buoy in front of the Kennedy Center and follow DC shore back to WCC. Continue upstream, turn on the buoy at “mile rock” (don’t cut short and hit the rock!), and paddle back to WCC, finishing at the WCC dock.
WCC Middle States (Fall) Regatta Race Course
WCC Frank Havens 10k (Fall) Race Course
Follows the Middle States Regatta long course up/down DC shoreline to/from Mile Rock.
WCC Marcy Garland (Fall) Race Course
Generally follows the Middle States Regatta long course up/down DC shoreline. Usually involves a portage in Fletcher’s Cove to/from C&O Canal.