USGN Race Descriptions

At the 2019 US Gondola Nationals there will be nine different categories of races – the most ever in the history of the competition.

With several categories there should be at least one race of interest to all competitors.
Here is the breakdown:

Solo Sprint

  • Multiple boat event, using 3-4 gondolas, which is conducted in several heats
  • Half-mile distance
  • The course is a down-and-back, leaving from and returning to BCYC, with a turn at a marker buoy adjacent to the Balboa Island Bridge

Tandem Sprint

  • Multiple boat event, using 3-4 gondolas, which is conducted in several heats
  • Half-mile distance
  • The course is a down-and-back, leaving from and returning to BCYC, with a turn at a marker buoy adjacent to the Balboa Island Bridge

Solo Distance

  • Multiple boat event, using 3-4 gondolas, which is conducted in several heats
  • 2.2 mile distance
  • Course route is a circumnavigation of Balboa, Little Balboa, and Collins Islands
  • Course direction to be determined based on winds
  • The Solo Distance is considered to be the most strenuous and physically demanding race for a gondolier, because he or she must do it all without a partner to assist in rowing or aid in keeping the gondola on course.  Experts in Venice have referred to single oar racing as “the university of voga alla Veneta” because they require a complete command of all aspects of Venetian rowing.

Tandem Distance

  • Multiple boat event, using 3-4 gondolas, which is conducted in several heats
  • 2.2 mile distance
  • Course route is a circumnavigation of Balboa, Little Balboa, and Collins Islands
  • Course direction to be determined based on winds
  • Two rowers work together to get their gondola moving as fast as possible while keeping it going straight as well.  The faster a gondola moves, the more she wants to spin out.

Solo Race on American Gondolas

  • A first ever in gondola racing
  • Two-thirds of a mile distance
  • The course is a down-and-back, leaving from and returning to BCYC, with a turn on the other side of the Balboa Island Bridge

Tandem Distance on Pupparin

  • Single boat time-trial
  • 2.45 mile distance
  • Two rowers on a light, tippy boat known as a “pupparin”
  • Course leaves BCYC and travels north, looping around Harbor Island, and then returning to finish in front of BCYC

Solo Slalom Course

  • Single boat time-trial
  • Distance to be determined
  • One rower navigates a slalom course of floating markers in front of the BCYC with friends and fans watching and cheering

Tandem Slalom Course

  • Single boat time-trial
  • Distance to be determined
  • Two rowers navigate a slalom course of floating markers in front of the BCYC with friends and fans watching and cheering
  • Because this is a tandem event, the two rowers must work together to succeed
  • Communication and teamwork are vital in this event

Four-oar Distance on Gondola

  • Single boat time-trial
  • 2.45 mile distance
  • A true team event with four rowers working together to keep the boat straight while going as fast as they can
  • Course leaves BCYC and travels north, looping around Harbor Island, and then returning to finish in front of BCYC

Notes:

  • In time-trial events, every competitor or team of competitors competes on the same vessel which is specific to its event.
  • No changes can be made to a boat once it has entered the competition, except for adjustments of the forcole and footing apparatus (pontapiedi).
  • In multiple boat events the field of gondolas will be assessed in order to bring them as close to each other in weight, speed, and other aspects of comparability.  
  • Prior to any multiple boat event, competitors will be assigned boats in a controlled random drawing procedure.
  • Because of this, and in order to better plan a smooth two day Nationals with so many races, it is important that all participants indicate which races they want to compete in.
  • Because we only have so many hours of daylight, signing up for some events may not be possible on the day of the event.
  • Weather, wind, and tidal changes may occur during some events.  These are considered as normal occurrences and while they may affect some competitors in positive or negative ways, there is nothing more that can be done to change them.  With tidal variations in mind, each event in the 2019 US Gondola Nationals has been designed to have either a “loop course” or a “down-and-back” course.  In each case the competitors will encounter the moving tide in both directions.
  • In the interest of time, all events give competitors one opportunity to clock their best time.
  • There are no “quarter finals” or other secondary contests unless deemed necessary, and only in the case of exact tie situations.  Judges reserve the right to decide if such secondary contests are needed.

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