The race winds up the Yarra River from the heart of Melbourne to Hawthorn. See the Course Map on the Maps page.

The draw can be found on website at <RACE DRAW>

7.3.1. Getting to the Start

Officials will be at the City staging to assist in the timely dispatch of crews. Please also note that Boat Safety Officers will be present to ensure that boats comply with required safety standards.



  • On-water warm ups are permitted but only downstream of Princes Bridge.

  • Any crew planning to warm up and then proceed directly to the start must launch their boat at the western (downstream) end of the city boat shed landing i.e., closest to Princes Bridge and immediately cross to the far side (north or city side) of the river and turn their boat so that they are pointing downstream and proceed through the right hand arch under Princes Bridge closest to the bank.

    Downstream of Princes Bridge, crews warming up must use only the right side of the river and avoid any commercial/recreational boat traffic.

    After warming up, returning crews are to pass under the right (south) arch of Princes Bridge and proceed with caution past the city boat shed landing to be in the start marshalling area at the upstream end of the landing area 5 minutes prior to their start (and not before, in order to minimize traffic congestion).

  • Crews not planning to warm up are to launch their boat at the eastern (upstream) end of the city landing i.e., furtherest from Princes Bridge and proceed directly to the start, keeping to the south bank.

7.3.3. The Start

It is important for each crew to ensure they are on the “starting line” at the appointed “Start-time”. The Starter will start the race at the appointed time and crews not in line will penalize themselves. Officials will be available to assist in aligning crews.

Crews will be lined up in predetermined rows of four boats abreast, however one crew at a time will be signalled to start. As the last boat in each row is sent off, the next row of boats should be slowly touching it forward into the assistant starter’s hands. There is a five-ten minute break between each Section. and a one-minute break in the middle of the larger Sections.


There is a time penalty for crews who fail to start within five seconds of their race being called. See penalties for more information.

7.3.4. During the Race

If your boat or crew should become damaged or injured or for any reason and be unable to continue to row as a full crew you will be forced to stop racing and clear the course. You must pull over to the bank as soon as is practical and wait for the race to pass. Marshals will let you know when you are able to resume your row. If you require medical assistance refer to your coxswain’s medical card for guidelines.

On-course Umpires are positioned all along the course and particularly at strategic points where there is a possibility of a collision.

The Umpire’s role is to ensure that safety is paramount,  fair play exists and to assist with the avoidance of collisions. Umpires are placed at ALL main river bends.

7.3.5. Overtaking 

A boat is deemed to be overtaking when it has its bow ball within half a length of the stern of the boat in front. When this occurs the slower boat must not block or obstruct the faster crew. The faster boat must be prudent and delay the act of passing if a pass cannot be accomplished without incident.

This takes away zones and places the onus on the crews. The crew being overtaken cannot block or obstruct, but does not need to yield or slow down. It has the right to pursue its own race. However it does not get any protection from any kind of no-passing zone. The passing crew can pass if it is safe and should not be blocked or obstructed.

Any crew that disregards an Umpire’s instruction will incur a time penalty (or disqualification).


"Big Bend" (this is looking downstream)

7.3.6. The Finish: What to do getting off the water

Crews must continue rowing after reaching the finish line to avoid possible collision or a bank-up of crews over the line behind them. Your coxswain’s last race call should be “ Well Rowed - Row Light”.


Officials will direct crews at the finish . Adhere to these instructions and note that time penalties will be enforced on crews failing to follow instructions which are part of the safety regime.

At the finish the river is divided with a line of buoys. Crews must follow the buoy line to the very end before turning back towards the Hawthorn staging. This is essential to facilitate safety and an orderly removal of crews and boats from the water. Boat storage Officials will be on-hand to direct crews to storage racks.

When carrying your boat on land, coxswains should stay with the forward moving pointy end of the boat, leading to ensure clear passage. There is a large assembled crowd on the banks that you may need to navigate on the way to boat racks.

If your boat is progressing stern first, the coxswain must be at the stern to ensure it does not hit someone. Equally if it is bow first then cox must at the bow.