1. How is Westford Community Rowing (WCR) funded?
The independent WCR organization is self-funded through program fees and donations.
2. How many seasons are there?
There are two main competitive rowing seasons, fall and spring/summer. There is also winter training on the ergs and indoor regattas.
The fall regatta season starts at the beginning of September and ends at the beginning of November. Traditionally, most of the regattas we have attended occur between the end of September and throughout October. These regattas are over a longer 3.5 - 6k distance. The spring/summer competitive season runs from April to August, with the bulk of the regattas occurring between the end of June and throughout July. These are sprint regattas which are over a 1K to 2K distance, depending on the regatta and the race that you enter.
3. How often are the practices?
In general, evening masters and learn to row participants practice twice per week. Morning masters practice three times per week. Please see the individual program pages for details of each program.
- How long is a regatta?
There is no hard and fast rule for regattas, but regattas generally take place on Saturdays or Sundays and rowers may need to be there as early as 6:30am, and stay as late as 5pm (or later). Some regattas can last two days. Regatta schedules are set by the hosting rowing club or governing entity and usually are not finalized until the day before the regatta begins as they rearrange races to accommodate last minute entries, scratches, and other factors such as expected weather.
- Are races timed or head to head?
The fall season races are the longer 5k races and have staggered starts, and races are timed. In the spring season, the races are much shorter and generally head to head.
- What are the different boat configurations?
WCR races both 4 person and 8 person shells. In addition, the rowers are divided into novices, who have only raced one or two seasons, and varsity boats with the more experienced boaters. The coach will decide who rows in which boats and which groups of rowers work best together. These groupings can change throughout the season.
- What clothing is needed?
Layers. The temperature can vary in rowing, even on the same day, so it is important to come prepared in layers. Another secret to staying warm is NO COTTON! Cotton keeps moisture against the body. You want “wicking” fabrics that will pull moisture away from the body. So whatever you do, do not get cotton long underwear types of shirts and pants to keep you warm…because once wet, it essentially becomes useless. It’s all about the “base layer.”
How do we stay in touch? We use email for club communications. Please make sure that we have your current preferred email address in our records to ensure that you are receiving club communications. Contact us with your name, email address, and the program in which you are interested to be added to our contact list
How long have we been around? WCR started in 2009 as Westford Academy/Area Crew Club (WACC) You may have heard some of our intervening monikers such as Westford Littleton Community Crew (WLCC) and Westford Area Rowing (WAR). We are currently known as Westford Community Rowing (WCR). The juniors programming has been separated from the original entity starting in spring of 2018 and now rows under Westford Academy; during that process the middle school and juniors summer programs were retained by the Westford Recreation Department and WCR became a separate non-for-profit entity running fleet management for all programs and the adult rowing programming .
Where do we row? We store our equipment at Forge Beach in Westford and we row on Forge Pond.
Who are the Sunrise Rowers? Currently there are several groups of masters rowers rowing at various times throughout the day. When we first began only the 5:30am group existed and we dubbed ourselves the Sunrise Rowers; the name stuck.
Who are the Sunset Rowers? Starting in 2016, we added an evening competitive masters group who have named themselves the sunset rowers in contrast to the original sunrise rowers.
What should I wear? Since we row on sliding seats and are in constant motion, snug but not tight fitting is best. We row in all sorts of weather: hot, cold, wet, or dry, so layering is important. After that, it depends on the weather but can include: shorts, t-shirt, socks (wool when cold), sandals, cap (or hat when cold), sunglasses, tights or leggings, sweatshirt and sweatpants, pogies (specialized rowing "mittens" that cover your hands and oar handle).
What should I bring? In addition to appropriate clothing, bring water in a soft plastic bottle. On cold days, bring extra layers. On dark mornings or evenings, a head lamp comes in handy.
What do I do with my car keys? The less you bring the better. I leave my license and phone in my car and my keys by the shed. Is my stuff safe? I’ve never had a problem nor has anyone else that I know of. While the beach is pretty quiet at 5:30 in the morning, it is a public space; use common sense.
Are there showers at the beach? No, nor are there showers at the Recreation Department. We do have access to the bathrooms in both places.
Do we row in inclement weather? It depends. Thunder and lightning, dense fog and high winds will keep us off the water. A little rain or a cold day does not keep us off the water. If we decide it’s not safe to row we usually head indoors to erg.
Can I race? Sure. Our Coach determines the lineups and we attend a few sprint regattas during the summer and a few head races in the fall. Watch our email alias or Facebook Page for more racing information. We will also post it on the team website.
Do I need to join US Rowing? Yes; our insurance coverage requires it. Basic level membership is good enough unless we enter a US Rowing Regatta in which you want to race. Other membership levels come with some additional perks, but that’s up to you. Visit www.usrowing.org/join for more info. Once you join, please sign the waiver (use XVNCL for the Athlete Access Code) and send us your full name, date of birth and US Rowing ID number so we can add you to the roster.
Who pays the entry fees? We do! Entry fees are NOT included in your program fee as they are dependent on how often, what, and where you race.
Do we have to pay capital fees? No; the capital fee is now part of your fee to WCR since the reorganization in Spring 2018
Do we have to participate in team fundraising? Not on a regular basis as we have moved away from the large fundraisers we used to do now that the original entity has been split up, but you will be expected to volunteer a minimum amount of time every year.
What types of boats do we row? There are two forms of rowing: sweep rowing and sculling. In sweep rowing, each oarsperson has one oar held with two hands, with half the boat rowing port and half rowing starboard. In sculling, each oarsperson has two oars, each held with one hand. Sweep rowing boats include eights, fours, and pairs. Sculling boats include singles, doubles, and quads. WCR owns both types of boats but is primarily a sweep rowing club.
Can I be a coxswain? Absolutely! Our fours and eights require a coxswain and you are more than welcome to cox for us.