Start Order

The final start order for 2017 will be available for download closer to the date from Rowing Victoria.

Start Order Principles

HRC wishes to implement a transparent ranking system for the HOTY race order.

This updated system will be further reviewed in 2017 so please check back later for refinements.

New categories/reordering categories

  • MMH8+

  • MMIK8+

  • XMF+8+

  • MFComp8 + ( No age restriction, Male, Female, Composite)

 In addition, we are allowing composite school crews (small club, remainder crews)

 Principles behind the new categories

3.1       The Head of the Yarra is a showcase for the best Australian and International Rowing, and the Open Classes are the culminating races of the Regatta.

The crews should be of National and International Level Standard.


Open Class is the only class that allows adult rowers between 18 and 27 to form composite crews.

This has resulted in very disparate crews racing in a class where there should be little variation in crew speed, with resulting conflicts on the race course.


For 2017, HRC has created a class to run in the Masters bracket for rowers of any age, specifically for composite crews.

Entries will be allowed from Male and Female. For 2017, the crews will be handicapped according to handicaps for Male and Female for the A Age Group, and one set of medals will be awarded for the entire class. 

HRC reserves the right to reclassify entry from the Open classes if it sees fit in the interests of high quality racing. The new class will be reviewed for 2018.


3.2       HRC wishes to encourage young rowers from smaller clubs and schools to form composite crews to race competitively in School events. 


Small clubs and crews cannot form an eight, and competitive rowers are excluded from racing.

It is not the intention to allow crews to be formed when crews could be formed from a single club or school.

This is not an avenue for a "cherry-picked" crew to race.


HRC will allow composite school and/or club crews to enter School events at the level of their choosing. 

HRC reserves the right to refuse entry, reclassify entries or reallocate crews after the finish of the race if it sees fit.

Clubs and schools considering entering a composite junior crew should contact HRC in good time to allow a planned allocation.

Entries for club/school composites should be made at least 4 weeks before the regatta.

In following years, the entering club/school will hold a ranking position in the same manner as for sole club/school crews.


3.3       HRC wishes to encourage larger schools and clubs to consider entering composite crews in School events after their representative crews have been selected ("remainder crews").


Larger schools and clubs may have incomplete crews with less competitive rowers which could be amalgamated to allow rowers to gain experience, and a composite entry would facilitate rowing for those rowers. 


HRC will allow composite school and/or club "remainder" crews to enter School events at the level of their choosing. 

HRC reserves the right to refuse entry, reclassify entries or reallocate crews after the finish of the race if it sees fit.

Clubs and schools considering entering a composite "remainder" junior crew should contact HRC in good time to allow a planned allocation. Entries for club/school composites should be made at least 4 weeks before the regatta.

Any "remainder" crews will be ranked at the very back of the class in order of entry.


3.4       HRC wishes to reduce the effect of handicapping on racing for crews in the Masters classes.


The age brackets of masters racing are well established and with a narrow age range, allow for even racing.

Grouped classes in the older classes, such as F-K can often have a large handicap difference between classes.


HRC will introduce more classes to allow single age group races where entries support a single group.

For 2017, Male Masters will now have A-C, D, E, F, G, H, and IJK.

Mixed Masters will be A-C, D, E, and F.

There is no change planned for Female Masters in 2017.

The classes offering for 2018 will be reviewed after the 2017 race.


Ranking Process

It is recognised that a starting position at the front of a class is an advantage for a crew. HRC seeks to use historically based ranking to reward clubs who have supported the event and classes previously. Fastest first also should extend boat separation along the course, rather than to compress boat separation. Compressed boat separation may cause collisions and may also prejudice fair racing and the orderly conduct of the race. 

The entries will close for ranking purposes 3 weeks before the raceday.

Any questions regarding ranking should be directed to . Any errors in application of the following rules detected after publication of the draw should referred to  by the entering club.

Ranking will be based on the entering club’s previous year’s HOTY result for each class. If there was no entry for that club in that category in the previous year, then the entry is randomly assigned after the allocation of places to clubs which had raced the previous year. If there are any composite school crews nominated as remainder crews, then they will start at the very end of the ranking, after any class changes, if any. THIS IS A CHANGE FROM 2016.

The entering club will rank multiple crews in each class 1, 2, etc with 1 being the highest ranking.

Composite crews will form part of the entering club’s entries for that class. THIS IS A CHANGE FROM 2016. The decision on which club should submit entries is at the discretion of the clubs.

The ranking choice is made by the entering club, by ordering 1,2,3 etc. at entry. If no ranking is received, the earliest entry, as determined by Rowing Victoria, will be ranked highest. In 2017, no changes to the club’s ordering will be allowed after 3 weeks before raceday. 

The HOTY Organising Committee reserves the right to provide preferential ranking for international and representative first-time crews based upon their expected performance.

Results are not transferable between classes. For example, a winner in an E age group does not become first in an F age group as the crew ages. The club retains the ranking in E, or inherits a club ranking in F, or joins the random assortment after ranking of previously competing clubs in that age group. THIS IS A CLARIFICATION OF THE 2016 POLICY

Any changes to class of crews after the 3 week prior closing date will result in loss of ranking and starting from the back of the new class. The order at the back of the class will be determined by the time of receipt of changed entries.


There will be no planned break in the starting sequence of a class to ensure that there is no unfair advantage caused by increased separation of boats within a class

Summary of the ranking process

Once all returning club entries have been allocated in order of last year’s result, then the remainder of on time entries will be randomly allocated to the following starting places. Following this, changed entries will be added in order of date of change.

The ordering decision is made by the entering club. There needs to be control within the club of the process, and independent entries should not be allowed. Clubs should decide whether to enter composite crews if they then compete with rankings of solely club crews. It is very important to enter correctly before the closing date. Starting at the back of a large class could be a significant impediment to winning that class.


Race Categories & Handicaps

So what categories of boat are available? Remember this is an event for eight oared sweep boats only. Each year the race categories are reviewed.

Athletes wanting to complete in this year’s LTAMix8+ event must hold a Rowing Australia Provisional or National Class-action. If you are unsure of your classification status or require classification, please contact Rowing Australia - All other enquiries should be directed to Lachlan Nichols -

The race categories and handicaps are explained below.


Categories and Eligibility for the 2017 Head of the Yarra

Please refer to Rowing Victoria for the final Start Order and Race Categories.

We continue to evaluate the Race Categories.


Masters Crews Handicaps

Masters crews are generally placed in the age category corresponding to the average age of the crew attained DURING the current year. The following handicaps are based on the Australian Masters handicaps. The 1km handicap is multiplied by 8, which is the length of the HOTY course.


Age Categories & Corresponding Handicaps

Based on Rowing Australia Appendix 10. Masters Handicap Tables.

Not updated for 2018

A Min Age 27 Yrs GO   GO   GO  
B Ave Age 36 Yrs 8.6 sec 1 sec/km 8.6 sec 1 sec/km 8.6 sec 1 sec/km
C Ave Age 43 Yrs 34.4 sec 4 sec/km 34.4 sec 4 sec/km 34.4 sec 4 sec/km
D Ave Age 50 Yrs 60.2 sec 7 sec/km 68.8 sec 8 sec/km 68.8 sec 8 sec/km
E Ave Age 55 Yrs 103.2 sec 12 sec/km 111.8 sec 13 sec/km 111.8 sec 13 sec/km
F Ave Age 60 Yrs 146.2 sec 17 sec/km 163.4 sec 19 sec/km 154.8 sec 18 sec/km
G Ave Age 65 Yrs 197.8 sec 23 sec/km 232.2 sec 27 sec/km 215.0 sec 25 sec/km
H Ave Age 70 Yrs 266.6 sec 31 sec/km 326.8 sec 38 sec/km 301.0 sec 35 sec/km
I Ave Age 75 Yrs 378.4 sec 44 sec/km 481.6 sec 56 sec/km 430.0 sec 50 sec/km
J Ave Age 80 Yrs 559.0 sec 65 sec/km 782.6 sec 91 sec/km 670.8 sec 78 sec/km
Note: Average Age does NOT include the Coxswain.