Head of the of Hooch, one coun­try’s largest row­ing re­gat­tas, of­fers two days of rac­ing ac­tion on the wa­ter . down­town

Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow - - FRONT PAGE - STAFF RE­PORT

The first Satur­day and Sun­day of Novem­ber are sig­nif­i­cant to row­ers: It’s the week­end of Head of the Hooch.

Head of the Hooch, one of the coun­try’s largest row­ing re­gat­tas, of­fers two days of rac­ing ac­tion in down­town Chat­tanooga on the Ten­nessee River. The first race on Satur­day, Nov. 4, is 8:45 a.m., the last at 6:24 p.m. Ac­tion Sun­day, Nov. 5, starts at 8:15 a.m., with the last race at 2:25 p.m.

This re­gatta is a head race, mean­ing com­pet­ing crews race on a course at dif­fer­ent times pit­ted against each other, but their fin­ish­ing times de­ter­mine their places. Head of the Hooch com­peti­tors row a 5,000-meter course ( 3.1 miles) on the river, fin­ish­ing at Ross’s Land­ing Park, 201 River­front Park­way.

Head of the Hooch, also known as the Head of the Chat­ta­hoochee, was founded in 1982 by the At­lanta Row­ing Club. The first year saw 225 row­ers en­ter fill­ing 105 boats. For 16 years the re­gatta took place on the Chat­ta­hoochee River in Roswell, Ga.

In 1997, the re­gatta had out­grown Roswell River Park, and re­lo­cated to the 1996 Olympics row­ing venue in Gainesville, Ga. The race con­tin­ued to grow, ne­ces­si­tat­ing an­other move in 2005 — this time to Ross’s Land­ing in Chat­tanooga. The re­gatta draws crews from across the coun­try as well as hav­ing hosted teams from Canada, Ger­many, Swe­den and Aus­tralia.

Fol­low­ing are some tips for spec­ta­tors and first-time vis­i­tors to Chat­tanooga:

There are two types of boats ( shells) for two types of row­ing: sweep row­ing and sculling.

In sweep row­ing, each rower has one oar about 12.5 feet long. In sculling, row­ers use two oars, each about 9.5 feet in length.

Spec­ta­tors have sev- eral choices of lo­ca­tions along the river from which they can fol­low the ac­tion.

The Wal­nut Street Bridge, a pedes­trian bridge span­ning the river, gives a bird’s-eye view of the race. Spec­ta­tors can look down on the river and watch crews as they glide un­der the bridge. A good lo­ca­tion for pho­tog­ra­phers.

Coolidge Park on the city’s North Shore is a good van­tage point to see boats on their way to the start­ing line as well as cross­ing the fin­ish line. A nice spot for a fam­ily pic­nic, or to take a fold­ing chair and set­tle in for a pleas­ant day on the river­bank.

Peo­ple with bikes may want to fol­low the rac­ers by bik­ing on the Ten­nessee River­walk, which par­al­lels the course. To rent a bike, check out bikechat­tanooga.com.

STAFF PHOTO BY TIM BAR­BER

A row­ing team passes docked boats be­low the Wal­nut Street Bridge dur­ing a prac­tice for last year’s Head of the Hooch.

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