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HomeCharlie Butt Scullers' Head of the Potomac Regatta

Charlie Butt Sculler's Head of the Potomac (SHOP) Regatta


The SHOP regatta is hosted annually by Potomac Boat Club and operates out of Thompson Boat Center.



Official results
for the 41st SHOP (2021) Regatta are available here (external link).

44th SHOP Regatta: Welcome to Head Race Season 

Registration will be on Regatta Central and will open in August 

SHOP will take place on Sunday, Sept 29, 2024. The slightly later date is to avoid a variety of events in Georgetown, be aware of religious holidays, as well as hopefully, have less pleasure boat traffic. There are notable changes to the time frame, schedule, events and course. These changes are to allow for a safer and more manageable regatta on a very busy water way.  Additionally, there is no longer parking under the Whitehurst Freeway where some of our local single and double car-toppers have traditionally parked.  Those programs should plan to unload and park elsewhere or launch from TBC. We are looking into launching some small boats out of Key Bridge Boat House. 

1.  The first race is a 8:00AM and the last race is at 12:00PM - there are fewer breaks, however, we have designed the schedule to allow for hull sharing as well as double rowing. 

2.  The course has shifted:  the start line will be at Hens and Chicks and the finish line will be at Roosevelt Bridge.  This will allow for a more manageable que upstream since we are running events back to back of the same boat class (ie - all the men's single). The previous course was about 4500 meters and the 'new' course is about 4300 meters. 

3.  A junior novice 8 category has been added as well as adaptive/inclusion and paddling events.  

4. While we are not instituting an event cap, there is a regatta entry cap. Please be aware and register sooner than later. 

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Definition & Eligibility Rules
Definition & Eligibility Rules

Note – unless otherwise stated, all dates shown are in the year of the regatta.

Novice: Any sculler who has not competed in a sculling race prior to January 1 and who has not been a member of any senior national team nor has been a finalist in any sculling event at any national championships, the Independence Day Regatta or Canadian Henley.

Junior: Any rower 18 years of age or younger as of September 29

Master: Any rower at least 30 years of age as of September 29

Senior Master: Any sculler at least 40 years of age as of September 29

Grand Master: Any sculler at least 50 years of age as of September 29

Veteran: Any sculler at least 60 years of age as of September 29

Senior Veteran: Any sculler at least 70 years of age as of September 29

Handicaps will be based on the USRowing 1000m handicaps adjusted for the 2.8 mile head race distance. A listing of time handicaps used for different boat classes is available online.

Lightweight: Men: 165 pounds or less; Women: 133 pounds or less.

Club Eights: Raced by individuals who, in the current year, did not finish in the top six places of any race at the EARC, EAWRC, Western Sprints, IRAs, PAC-10s or at NCAAs, or the top six places in any elite or open event at any national championships or national team trials. 

Adaptive Inclusion Double: Crews in this event include one athlete with a verifiable and permanent physical or intellectual disability and one athlete without any qualifying disability. Inclusion crews may be mixed or same gender. Competitors must at a minimum be enrolled in high school. There is no age maximum and no age handicap. Separate medals will be awarded for the PR 1 or 2 (fixed seat) and PR 3 (sliding seat) categories. After consultation with AWL, it was determined that all adaptive races will be a half course for the 2022 regatta.

Mixed Team Boats (2x/4x/4+/8+): The crew must be evenly comprised of men and women, excluding the coxswain.

In Masters Team Boat Events (2x/4x/4+/8+): Masters crews (minimum average age 30, no rowers under age 27) will receive a handicaps but will not race in separate age divisions. Only one winner will be named for each event. Masters handicaps are based on the USRowing Standard

In Mixed Masters events: Masters crews (minimum average age 30, no rowers under age 27) will receive a handicaps but will not race in separate age divisions. Only one winner will be named for each event. Masters handicaps are based on the USRowing standards.

Medals will be awarded only to first-place finishers in events with 1-10 entrants. Events with 11-15 entrants will have medals for first and second place. Events with 16+ entrants will have medals for firs, second, and third place.

Potomac Invitation Paddling Exhibition
: Paddlers will be issued a guaranteed entry code by either Regatta Co-Chair. This event is entry capped to seven women and seven men paddlers. Participants in this event will race a half-course, from just upstream of Key Bridge to the finish line. Exceptions will not be made.

Coaches and Coxswains Meeting (Race Day Only)

The coxswains and coaches meeting will be held at Thompson Boat Center, 2900 Virginia Avenue, NW, Washington, DC (at the corner of Virginia Avenue and Rock Creek Parkway) at 6:45 a.m. on race day, Sunday, Sept 29

Race packets (Race Day Only)
Regatta packets may be picked up at Thompson Boat Center, 2900 Virginia Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. (at the corner of Virginia Avenue and Rock Creek Parkway)
 on race day, Sunday, Sept 29  from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Competitors may not pick up a packet until all completed waiver forms have been received and entry fees have been paid.

Potomac Boat Club crews and those out of town scullers confirmed to launch from PBC may pick race packets up from Potomac Boat Club.


Lightweights must report to weigh-in at Thompson Boat Center between 6:30 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 2. Lightweight rowers will not be allowed to pick up a race packet until after weigh-in.

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Please register online at REGATTA CENTRAL 

Any questions regarding entries or registration should be sent to regatta registrar, Mike Kummer at

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Entry Fees
Entry Fees
Singles – $60
Doubles and Pairs – $100
Four and Quads – $160
Eights – $200
Paddling  - $20

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Course and River Map
Course and River Map

Those launching from Thompson Boat Center should allow 35 minutes to reach the starting line. Those launching from Potomac Boat Club should allow 25 minutes to reach the starting line.

As shown on the accompanying 
course map, the roughly 2.3 mile course starts almost 1.8 miles above Key Bridge, just at the Hens and Chickens.  The course continues along the Virginia shore for 0.6 miles to a point about 400 yards above the Three Sisters Islands where it makes another turn to port. From here the course goes straight for 0.9 miles passing through the second arch (from the Virginia shore) of Key Bridge making a turn to starboard. The course then continues downstream past the upper end of Roosevelt Island where it makes a wide turn to starboard around the island and then goes straight to the finish just below Roosevelt Bridge.

The course will be marked with a pair of buoys at the starting line at the Hens and Chickens,  a single buoy 500m beyond the Hens and Chickens, a single buoy marking the turn to port just above the Three Sisters, a pair of buoys at Key Bridge, and another pair of buoys at the finish line. There will be a line of small buoys marking the shallow water and debris on the inside of the turn around Roosevelt Island. Please note, these are NOT penalty buoys, only marking shallow water

Additional buoys may be in place between the small buoys and Roosevelt Island for safety purposes.

Boats must pass on the Virginia side of the two buoys above the Three Sisters Islands or be assessed a thirty second penalty per buoy (keep the buoys off your port side).

No penalty will be assessed for failing to pass between the buoys at Key Bridge or at the finish line; however, your finish time may not be recorded if you cross the finish line too far from the timing boat for the officials to read your number.

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Dock Assignments (Out of Town Racers)
Dock Assignments (Out of Town Racers)
All out-of town entrants must boat from the Thompson Boat Center at the intersection of Virginia Avenue, N.W. and Rock Creek Parkway. Some single and double scullers may be able to receive permission to launch from PBC, though arrangements must be made in advance for any participants wishing to launch from PBC. Permission to launch from PBC is not guaranteed. It will not be possible for out-of-town crews to walk shells larger than a double through Potomac Boat Club. There is NO LONGER PARKING ALONG WATER STREET FOR CARTOPPERS! 

No equipment may be stored at PBC or TBC. Those launching from Thompson Boat Center should allow 45 minutes to reach the starting line; from PBC, 30 minutes.

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Boat Trailers
Boat Trailers

There is a limited amount of space for boat trailers at Thompson Boat Center. The National Park Service limits us to half the parking lot for trailers, with space for a maximum of 11. The parking lot does not open for trailer parking until 5:00am on regatta day. Trailers may not be parked at TBC overnight. Additionally, cartoppers may need to unload and find alternate parking. 

If you plan to bring a trailer to the regatta you MUST inform the Regatta Registrar in advance, no later than September 25, so that parking spaces can be allocated in accordance with National Park Service requirements.

Without advance notification we will not be able to assure you trailer parking at the Thompson Boat Center parking lot.

When informing the Regatta Committee, please use the form below and include the following details:

    • Organization name
    • Organizational contact name, telephone numbers (cell/day/evening), and email address
    • Regatta day contact name (if different from above), telephone numbers (cell/day/evening) and email address
    • Driver name, telephone numbers (cell/day/evening), and email address
    • Number of trailers

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Regatta participants and spectators are advised to heed all posted parking restrictions.

The half of the Thompson Boat Center parking lot not reserved for trailers will be open to the public for additional parking, but we ask that those who are not car-topping boats park elsewhere in the area.

Parking near Potomac Boat Club is very limited.  There is no longer parking under Whitehurst Freeway for cartoppers. Access to the Washington Canoe Club immediately upstream of Potomac Boat Club must be kept open at all times. Do not park under the Aqueduct (the old stone arch) or between PBC and WCC so as to interfere with passage of traffic into the Washington Canoe Club.

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Driving Directions
Driving Directions

To Thompson Boat Center from I-95 South

Take 395N into Washington DC. Take the exit for Memorial Bridge. Stay in your right hand lane as you go over the bridge. Once you are over the bridge, turn to your far right. There will be a stop sign after you go around the turn. At the stop sign go right – this will take you onto Rock Creek Parkway. (If you end up at a stop light after going right at the bridge just take another right – that will take you on to Rock Creek too). Almost immediately after you get onto Rock Creek there will be an off ramp for the Whitehurst Freeway – take it. Immediately get into the left lanes of traffic. DO NOT go to Whitehurst Freeway but instead follow the road around to the left until you come to a stop sign. At the stop sign make a left turn. You will immediately come to a stop light. Make a right turn that brings you into the far left lane. You are now on Virginia Avenue. At the next light which is just yards after the turn, you will go straight which takes you directly into Thompson Boat Center parking lot.

To Thompson Boat Center from I-95 North

When the road splits between 95 and 495 head to Virginia (right side). After almost 15 miles there will be a turnoff for the Clara Barton Parkway. Take the Parkway all the way into Georgetown. The Parkway will eventually turn into M Street. Take M Street past Wisconsin Avenue to 30th Street. Turn right onto 30th Street and go down the hill. At the bottom of the hill turn left onto K Street. Go one block until you have the choice of bearing right into a small tunnel or straight ahead. Bear right through the tunnel. This will take you directly onto Rock Creek Parkway. Once on Rock Creek Parkway, the turn for the Thompson Boat Center parking lot will be a few hundred feet ahead on the right.

To Thompson Boat Center from Roosevelt Bridge (I-66E/US 50E)

From Roosevelt Bridge, get in the left lane on the bridge before entering DC, and follow the left lane toward Whitehurst Freeway and Rock Creek Parkway. After ¼ mile, keep following the left lane and Whitehurst/Rock Creek signs. When the lanes split into two left and two right lanes, stay in the left lanes. Turn left at the intersection heading toward the Watergate complex (this is 27th Street), then turn right onto Virginia Ave. Get in the left lane and at the light, cross over Rock Creek Parkway and into the Thompson Boat Center parking lot.