Though San Diego has mild winters, April marks the true beginning of even better weather. The calm, warm saltwater of Mission Bay has been a longtime watersports destination—this year, 2014, marks the 41st annual San Diego Crew Classic. The SDCC is the largest regatta in the world held for eight-oared rowing "shells," or boats. It is unique in that there are often times Olympians practicing next to high school seniors, club teams, and college teams. The SDCC is credited in bringing many West Coast rowing teams to notoriety, balancing the formerly East Coast-heavy sport in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
At present day, the regatta is a two-day, 100 race event, with over 4,000 athletes—a far cry from the initial three-hour event first held in 1973. Though the races run over the weekend, the event really begins on Friday—crews arrive and become acclimated to the waters of Mission Bay, and spectators get a chance to watch them practice from the comfort of the Karl Strauss Beer Garden. Saturday and Sunday are filled with races, of course—free parking is offered at Ski Beach, where you may take a shuttle or walk to the action at Crown Point. The days begin early, around five or six in the morning, and the last races end by three thirty. There’s nothing like spending the mornings by the bay, soaking in the weather and raw power and excitement of the regatta. That’s what makes the Crew Classic the premier spring regatta in the world.
Tickets and more information for both competitors and spectators can be found at www.crewclassic.org. Additionally, you can check schedules and results once the weekend of the regatta draws closer. See you on the shore!