San Diego's Mission Bay will fill with thousands of rowers from across the world, racing at the first major regatta of the year, the 43rd Annual San Diego Crew Classic.
Athletes from more than 100 universities, clubs and high school programs from across the United States will start rowing the course at Crown Point Shores on Mission Bay Friday to prepare for the race. Spectators can watch the boats practice on the course for free, all day.
The weekend starts with the traditional Friday night pasta party, where crews, family, friends and coaches will gather at Crown Point Shores for the all-you-can-eat event. The event costs $20.
Come Saturday morning, the races begin.
The main gate opens for spectators at 6:30 a.m. and racing begins at 7:20 a.m. The course begins near SeaWorld and the Ingraham Street Bridge, then heads north along Mission Bay for 2,000 meters before finishing at Crown Point Shores. A Jumbotron will provide an up-close view of the races.
A free shuttle service for rowers and spectators begins at 5 a.m. Saturday and Sunday and ends at 8 p.m.
The Lane Zero Beer Garden will be open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for those spectators who would like to enjoy a cold brew while watching the boats whiz by.
The races wrap up at 5 p.m. on Saturday.
Saturday evening, unwind with a party at the pavilion, where the Crew Classic community is invited for drinks, hors d'oeuvres and good company. The event is 21 and over and costs $50 per person.
On Sunday, the schedule is similar, with a shuttle service beginning at 5 a.m. and the races starting at 7:10 a.m. Racing concludes at 3:30 p.m.
For those not racing, there will be a classic brunch by the bay starting at 7:30 a.m.
Tickets to the San Diego Crew Classic cost $12 if purchased in advance or $15 at the door.
Rowers of all ages participate in the event annually, organizers say. Over the course of the year leading up to the competition, the rowers compete in more than 100 races in various divisions in preparation for the premiere rowing event.
Organizers say the “master level” – rowers over 21 years old – is the fastest growing segment of the sport. While many master level rowers are still novices to the sport, others are reliving their college and club experiences by participating in the Crew Classic year after year.
To get more details on this event, visit this website.