2015 River Rowing Tour in Europe – SCRC Style

Santa Cruz Rowing Club’s River Rowing Tour in Europe

Please join us for a visit to the Henley Royal Regatta 2015 and a row on the historic Thames in England and the romantic Weser in Germany. This tour is open to all active rowers, SCRC members and non-members. See the Touring Page for More Details!!!

When: July 2-16, 2015

Visiting the Henley Royal Regatta

Since we are planning to row in Europe next year, why not visit the most well-known rowing regatta in the world, the Henley Royal Regatta?

Rowing the Mid-Thames

Weyfarer’s Rowing Club in Weybridge, England graciously allows us to return two of their boats from the regatta to their boathouse for a scenic three day, 43 miles row down the historic Thames.

Rowing the Weser in Germany

The Mündener Ruderverein in Hannoversch-Münden, Germany kindly provides us with two quad gigs for a six days row along Brothers Grimm’s fairytale road on the upper Weser river valley. We will row about 85 miles of beautiful scenery along historic towns, ancient castles, and rolling hills and forests.

Estimated Costs: $4,000 + daily allowances

Transportation (Airfare, Taxi, Rental Car): $2,400

Hotel based on double occupancy: $1,600

For sign-up or additional information please contact: joe_hoffmann08@att.net

Rowing the Weser

Rowing the Weser

Rowing the Thames

Rowing the Thames

Henley Royal Regatta

Henley Royal Regatta

No comments yet


Important Monterey Crossing Details – Please READ


The course is a straight line (if you’re good) from the entrance of Santa Cruz Harbor to the entrance of the Marina in Monterey.  Officially, the time is kept from the Aldo’s Restaurant wharf inside Santa Cruz harbor to an imaginary line between Coast Guard Pier (Jetty) and Municipal Wharf #2 in Monterey.  Timekeeping may or may not be done by Santa Cruz rowing club volunteers, this year’s timekeeping is TBD.  The distance is approximately 25.5 statute miles as the crow flies but usually significantly longer for most rowers with an imperfect course.  Generally, this may take between 3 hours for a very fast double in good conditions and 5 hours for a slow single (or even 6 or 7 hours for weak rowers in the case of rough weather or in the case of heavy traditional or slow boats).  After crossing the imaginary line and finishing the timed event, rowers must go back outside the Municipal Wharf #2 and follow the wharf in to the beach to land.  This spot on the beach near Municipal Wharf #2 is the quietest surf and nicest beach location for landing.   Look for “Municipal Beach” on a map online, for example.  The surf conditions will depend on swell, chop, tide and a few other factors and might be difficult but often are mild especially in September.  Warning: after rowing several hours it may be difficult to stand even without surf breaking against you and a boat on your shoulder.

For most contestants, a GPS will be an important asset for navigation.  One is not required and a compass may be adequate for the experienced skipper.  [Compass is required as backup in any case.  And PFDs, of course.]


Contestants are free to start at a time of their choosing, within limits.  The limits are a few important ones.  First, contestants should plan to complete the course before about 10:30 or maybe 11:00 at the latest for logistical reasons (celebration and boat return) and because it is likely the wind will be strong by then.  This means that some crews will wish to start in the dark and most will wish to start before sunrise.  [Sunrise is at 7:00.  The autumnal equinox is September 22 but the day of 12 hour sun is September 26.]   Rowing in the dark brings several challenges.  Any crews who wish to start in the dark should contact Linda Locklin, Tim Huebner or Tom Dexel all of whom can give lots of advice on this topic.  One requirement is for Coast Guard boat lights (red, green, white) during the hours of darkness.

Second, the start time should be compatible with the rower’s escort skipper, crew and boat. [Some skippers may not enjoy a super early wake-up.  Some skippers may have the need to return to Santa Cruz before a deadline (not the least of which is the rising wind and deteriorating sea conditions), necessitating an early start.]

Third, if you start or finish before or after our timekeepers are present you won’t have an official time.


If all goes according to plan, Santa Cruz Rowing Club’s trailer will be parked at the finish and available to transport all or nearly all contestant’s shells back to Santa Cruz Harbor if they are of typical sizes.   A few volunteers will be on hand to help rowers disembark (i.e., stumble out of) their shells and carry them up for temporary storage on the beach.   Some will be de-rigged but many or most will fit the trailer with riggers on.  Beach captain and/or crew of volunteers will assist.


Weather permitting, there will be gathering with food and drink and story telling.  If all goes according to plan, times will be announced and awards given.  Then more stories will be told.  Escorts are invited, welcomed, honored and thanked.   This gathering takes place on Municipal Beach.  Bring a jacket.

Weather permitting, there will be gathering with food and drink and story telling.  If all goes according to plan, times will be announced and awards given.  Then more stories will be told.  Escorts are invited, welcomed, honored and thanked.   This gathering takes place on Municipal Beach.  Bring a jacket.


The most challenging part of this event is the need for an escort for each rowing shell.  Although it is tempting to “share” an escort, it is a mistake to plan for such sharing for several important reasons.  Planned sharing almost never works out to the plan.  Escorts and racers should meet the evening before and discuss all race strategies and escort duty expectations and limits.  Not all escorts want to escort the same way, for example.  Some escorts will happily bring backup clothing, hydration, first aid, etc. for the racers.  Some escorts may be unable to transport the shell they are escorting in the case of broken equipment.  But any of them will, at a minimum, be able to transport the rower(s) in the case of a failure of rower or equipment.

If you know of any skipper who might be willing to escort a sculler for this event please contact us.

Santa Cruz Rowing Club will try to obtain escorts for all the contestants.  Our club can’t guarantee that enough escorts will be found.  So we urge all contestants to make their own efforts in addition to SCRC’s efforts and coordinate this with the Race Director.  Often it is best to stay in touch with one’s escort by employing a VHF radio.  Shouting also might work.  Hand waving isn’t the best.  Escorts are allowed to assist the rowers [i.e., supplying clothing, water, cheering, use of the escort's head, course guidance, food, first aid, conversation, tools, repairs, etc.] they escort but towing them or transporting their boat will not qualify the rowers for awards.  Not every escort will take part in the gathering after the race.


The sea conditions in Monterey Bay can be anything from flat as a lake to essentially the same as offshore in the Pacific Ocean.  Generally one can expect a swell coming from a NW or WNW direction.  In addition there will likely be a wind which will change directions throughout the morning (often starting from N and shifting to E then S, a headwind, then W then NW by noon or earlier).  Our expectation is for wind to be light early in the morning and build to a peak by mid-day.  A typical day will find many whitecaps during peak wind.  The swells can be 3 to 20 feet high.  But their interval can also vary a great deal so a 20 foot swell with a long interval may not be steep and may even be pleasant.  The sea conditions usually make course keeping a very challenging task.  Nearly every wave will turn the rowers’ boats away from a perfect course.  In addition to the water, the weather may pose challenges.  Fog is somewhat common (though late September sees little fog, typically).  Thick fog might reduce visibility so that rowers cannot see hazards and escort boats cannot see their rowers.  Rain might occur, soaking the rowers and causing evaporative cooling.


Monterey Bay has fishing boats (big and small, commercial and private), sailboats, tour boats, SUPs, kayaks, outrigger canoes and many other skippered craft.  Skippers of these craft sometimes will not be courteous to rowers.  Monterey Bay has whales, sea lions, dolphins, sharks, otters, harbor seals, orca (rarely) and birds (did i mention sea lions?) which, in case of a collision, can cause a capsize and/or equipment failure.   In particular, there is normally a dense population of sea lions (some of which weigh 1200 lbs.) who swim near the Coast Guard Jetty at the finish.

There are only three buoys near the race course that might pose a danger of collision.  But rowers have been known to stray off the course.

Jellyfish live in Monterey Bay in abundance.  Giant Kelp grows near shore and floats in deep water when dislodged.  Logs and debris are generally not abundant but can cause serious damage in a collision.  Near the finish, when rowers are the most tired, one can expect a lot of boats under way and anchored.Water temperature on the surface will probably be somewhere between 50 and 54 degrees Fahrenheit.  If one capsizes and swims, that’s chilly but shouldn’t cause hypothermia very quickly.  Air temperature will probably be something close to that.


Course keeping is easiest if the rowing shell’s skipper employs a GPS and has accurately programmed waypoints, not simply the single finish line as the only waypoint.  Lacking a GPS, a compass and some experience and guidance may be adequate, especially if the weather is clear and visibility is good.  Warning: the finish is NOT at the end of the Monterey Peninsula and heading for that might help a bit at first but will not even get you close to the finish.  Navigation assistance from the escort skipper should be discussed in detail before the race between the rower and the escort.

No comments yet


Get Ready for the Monterey Bay Challenge

Santa Cruz Rowing Club and Friends,

Mark your calendars and spread the word.  September 27th, 2014 (a Saturday), we will host the Monterey Bay Crossing.  It’s a human-powered boat race from Santa Cruz to Monterey across some of the most beautiful waters in the region.

Steering Committee for the race has been formed.

Tom Dexel        tdexel@apr.net       (chair)

Tim Kensit         kensit@att.net            Rod Williams    rodwilliams@bigpond.com

Tim Huebner     never_late@yahoo.com    

Volunteers willing to assist should contact any committee member.  Ideas for optimizing the event are requested.  Connections to possible escort boat skippers are requested.

Stand by for future updates, news and details.


* Race Director is TBD and will likely be a member of Santa Cruz Rowing Club

* Race is open to rowed and sculled craft: singles, doubles, triples and quads designed and seaworthy for rough water rowing

* Race could be cancelled at the last minute if weather or sea conditions will not allow for expected safe operation of rowing shells and escort boats (however, September is usually pretty nice here)

* Santa Cruz Rowing Club is the sponsor of this event and contestants must sign liability waivers and coordinate with SCRC and Race Director.

* Rower Costs and deadline for registration are TBD (it’s usually not expensive)

* Rowers should be experienced in navigating and trained to a fitness level allowing for several hours straight of rowing with few rest breaks

* Rowers should be confident of their ability to re-enter their shell from deep water.  Perhaps more than once.

No comments yet


Take the Compass Navigation Challenge!

Watch KC row on the compass heading from the Santa Cruz Harbor Mouth to the Mile Buoy. See if you can row on a compass heading with accuracy. Comment to let me know about your navigation experience.





No comments yet


Dip your oar into the SCRC Annual Meeting Friday March 22nd

Hob Nob, Rub Elbows, Sing a Ditty, lift your glass to the Santa Cruz Rowing Club Annual Meeting! Another great excuse to have FUN with your splashy peers who love the ocean and love to dip oars into salty water! Hosted by Sam and MaryAnn at their welcoming Rowers Clubhouse. Come early at 6pm for social time, 6:30pm catered dinner ($20 must RSVP by the 18th) or just come by 7:15pm for the Swag, and Sign Up for the greatest ocean rowing club on the west coast. RSVP: postmaster@scrowing.org by the 18th AND if you need directions. 

It takes more than 1 oar in the water to belong to SCRC!



OWRC Regatta Sunday April 21st

Open Water Rowing Center in Sausalito kicks off 2013 with the 36th Annual April Regatta, Sunday the 21st. This Regatta has a course for everyone! The Long course @ 7.6nm distance is like rowing to Capitola and back – except you row out the Golden Gate! The Medium course @ 5.3nm is like rowing to SC3 – Mile Buoy - SC7 – Harbor plus a half mile. The Short course @ 1.9nm is a sprint that is shorter than rowing to the Mile Buoy and back – piece of cake!! Check it out! Did I mention they absolutely LOVE Volunteers?

OWRC 36th Annual Regatta

Registration is available at http://www.regattacentral.com as it was last year. Entry fee is $45, and that includes the post-race barbecue.  Additional lunches for friends and family are $15 each.  Any questions?  Contact Ellen Braithwaite at ellen.sculling@gmail.com or owrc@owrc.com


No comments yet


Row to Hawaii in 2014!!

Tom Dexel organized a GREAT presentation for rowers and SC Yacht Club members.

You can join this row to Hawaii in 2014! Start training and find sponsors now.

No comments yet


November Ocean Rowing in Santa Cruz

West Coast rowers are a lucky bunch, but there’s no luckier than Santa Cruz rowers. Fall and Winter reveal a secret; folded between replenishing storms are awe-inspiring fog-free, flatwater mornings with crispy, colorful sunrises. Late afternoons disappoint local sailors and serve up many windless passages to early evening sunsets, perfect for a short rejuvenating row after a long work day. Check out our latest YouTube Video of rowing on our amazing Monterey Bay Sanctuary waters. November Rowing on the Ocean in Santa Cruz. Our Club President invites you to enjoy rowing our Fleet and adds her advice about remembering to tie down the boats every time. Listen to the beautiful sound of our repaired Lighthouse Fog Horn. This sound is your friend when you are forced to navigate home in thick fog.  Take care not to get caught out in the dark during our shortest days of the year. Remember, it is a requirement to display a white light in low light conditions, before sunrise and after sunset. Enjoy, and stay safe!

No comments yet


Rowing Your Boat in a Sea of Change

When you set out onto the water in your rowing boat, you felt fresh and excited. The sun was rising with welcome to the inspiration of a new day. The sea was calm, reflecting fluffy clouds.

Copyright Karen Carlson

Your oars left perfect puddles. The trail of your boat was straight and true. You felt a wisp of chill on your cheek; a slight riffle on the water amused you. The tiny spout of harbor porpoise to starboard thrilled you and you followed along. Next, a sea otter and pup resting in a nest of kelp drew you to turn and hurry over for a better view.

Suddenly, a powerboat came roaring out straight at you, so you turned to move off his heading and avoid the wake. The wind shifted, quickened, and suddenly the breeze became a shivering cool. The hairs on your neck lifted. A few droplets of water dripped off your hair onto your nose.

Photo: Beth Gummere

You turn and see a huge wall of wet cloud overtaking you. A few moments later, you are engulfed in gray fog and you have lost your way back.

This scenario is the introduction to a series of navigation and safety blogs for you. Together we will explore a variety of tools and habits that will enhance your safety on the ocean. No matter how simple or sophisticated your tools, the key to successful navigation is VIGILENCE. You must consistently use your tools and be aware of your surroundings to enhance your safety in a sea of change.

No comments yet


Santa Cruz Rowing Club Fun Row Results

Rowers having breakfast at a large picnic tableSunday everyone enjoyed a FUN ROW and breakfast at Aldos. The sun was shining, the water was flat calm, dolphins were abundant from Blacks Point to Lighthouse and beyond. Lots of birds were enjoying the bands of small fish. See you next time!Our event is up on YouTube…..Enjoy!!


No comments yet



No comments yet


Rest time

No comments yet


Rower’s Canvas

Sometimes reflections on the water speak to you.    
Pink Sunrise Calm

No comments yet


Whales everywhere

No comments yet


Leaving the Harbor

No comments yet