As in past competitions, we will have sprint and distance races, in both solo and tandem configurations.

In addition, this year entrants will also be able to compete in a tandem race on a Venice-built pupparin, and a four-station gondola – both are firsts for US competition.

Thanks to Tim at Sunset Gondola, we will also have the first sandolo race in America.  This will be a solo time-trial and rowers will be using the crossed-oar method known as “valesana”.
You may also see some youth racing, supervised by Tim – these races will take place on his sandolo.

Some of the gondola races will be time-trials, while others will be executed in multi-boat heats.
Many thanks to the gondola owners who have agreed to bring boats to fortify the racing fleet.

The 2015 US Gondola Nationals will be based out of the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club (BCYC), which is at the east end of Newport Harbor.
Most if not all of our races will begin and end in front of the yacht club.USGN Route Map

Both solo and tandem sprint competitions will start at BCYC, travel north to the bridge to Balboa Island, turn and race to the finish line back at BCYC.
Both sprints will cover .7 miles/1.1 km .
Spectators will be able to watch and cheer from the yacht club, from the shore across the water, and from the bridge where the turning will take place.

Distance Tandem
The distance race on gondola in tandem configuration will start at BCYC, travel north to the bridge to Balboa Island, continue west as the canal between the island and mainland turns, pass around Harbor Island, and return to BCYC.
This course has been measured at 2.55 miles/4.1 km.

Distance Solo
The solo distance race on gondola is a counterclockwise loop around the three islands of Balboa, Little Balboa, and Collins Isle. The race will start at BCYC, travel north to the bridge to Balboa Island, continue west as the canal between the island and mainland turns, take a left after Collins Isle, and follow the shoreline on the left all the way until the finish line at BCYC.  This course is 2.22 miles/3.57 km – a little shorter than the Distance Tandem course, but it puts the racers in windier conditions, and forces them to get past the Balboa Island Ferry (which has ultimate right-of-way in Newport Harbor).  The Distance Solo course is still under consideration by Newport Beach authorities, if not approved, then solo distance racers will follow the same course as the Distance Tandem race.

The pupparin race is a tandem race.
Similar to the Distance Tandem, the course will start at BCYC, travel north to the bridge to Balboa Island, continue west as the canal between the island and mainland turns, turn at a buoy adjacent to Collins Isle, and return to BCYC.
This course has been measured at 1.79 miles/2.88 km.

The sandolo race will be a solo crossed-oar time-trial.
Route and distance to be announced.

Four-oar Gondola
The four-station gondola race is to be a distance race. traveling out of the harbor, around the seal buoy, and back.
Wind and sea conditions will be monitored before the choice is made to go forward with this course.
A few factors are still being determined regarding the start and end of the race.
The four-oar gondola race is expected to cover between 2 and 3 miles of water.

When I was given the honor of hosting this event, I couldn’t wait to map out the courses and I was excited about adding a few new events as well.
Lots of ideas and opinions were directed my way as far as the length and types of races to host.
It’s challenging to try and keep everyone happy, but I am thrilled to have you all come out to my home port and I hope you’ll all enjoy the event.

I’ve tried to point my bow in the direction of the Venetian model of things.
Our Distance races in both solo and tandem are a little closer to the regulation race distances in the Veneto, as is the pupparin timetrial.
the four-oar gondola course is closer to that of a six-man caorlina course as well.

Here in the US we enjoy a good drag race, so it’s no surprise that we’ve come to love the sprint format.
I don’t know if they do anything like it in Venice, but it’s fun, and a great way to let everyone have a shot, so in that area I have veered away from the Veneto.
Oh well. I still like American beer and you’ll likely catch me ordering a cappuccino in the evenings.
I’m still a yankee at heart.

With all of these longer races, it’s possible for a gondolier who enters all races, to cover more than ten miles of rowing in two days of competition.
That may not be much for some (after all, how long is the famous Vogalonga?), but even so, some competitors may want to concentrate their energy on only a few events to insure better course times.

Truth be told: the races in Regata Storica and other regulation voga-alla-Veneta races are much longer:
The gondolino race covers 7 kilometers (4.34 miles) and the pupparini go 4.5 kilometers (2.79 miles).
In Regata Storica, the racers each only row one race, but I knew that many entrants would want to do more than that so I had to make some adjustments.

If you don’t race, or only plan on racing in a couple of events, we can probably use your assistance in managing this big crazy endeavor.
Part of our agreement with the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club includes free passenger cruises for club members at certain hours.  If you would like to add “rowing a passenger cruise in Newport” to your list of things to do, we’d love to have you jump on a boat and make it happen.

Whatever you choose to do, I hope to see you here!

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