The VIRC Masters program is always open to new members. Whether you have rowed before or are just interested in learning more about a fascinating and effective way to be fit, make friends, and spend time between the sky and the water as the sun rises, we’d like to hear from you.
In rowing, masters are people who are 21 years-old or older; the term has nothing to do with your ability. We’re happy to have members in the 18 to 21 year-old category too; they race in the open division. If you haven’t rowed before, you’ll be a novice master – a subtle introduction to the paradoxical, meditative side of the sport. At many regattas, you are officially a novice for two years, an indication of why rowing can be such a compelling pursuit. It may look simple, but there is no end to the layers of understanding and opportunities for improvement.
Like other sports for adults, master rowers can compete head-to-head against people in their age bracket. There is an age adjustment system so 65 year-olds can trounce 40 year-old whippersnappers in multi-age events – which they often do! And unlike most sports, men and women rowers can compete on the same team, in mixed boats.
While many of the VIRC Masters train with the goal of competition, there are also technical rowing practices that focus more on enjoyment, basic conditioning, and developing competence on the water. We want to accommodate as many levels of interest and ability as we can.
Questions? Read on!
Practice times vary during the year as the light changes. In the winter, we workout indoors during the week and row on Saturday mornings. As we move into spring and it gets lighter, we nudge the practices a little later so that we can get on the water. Once it’s light early enough, we are on the water whenever it’s not too windy or foggy.
Typical schedule (all practices are in the morning, when the water is the calmest):
- Monday, Wednesday, Friday 5:30 – 7:00 a.m.
- Tuesday, Thursday 6:30 – 8:00 a.m.
- Friday 7:30 – 9:00 a.m. technique focused row
- Saturday 7:00 – 9:00 a.m.
All of our rowing practices start at the Boathouse at Jensen Point on the Burton Peninsula. In the winter our indoor practices are at nearby Camp Burton, in Grisham Hall.
Whether or not you attend regattas is up to you. The Masters typically go to five or six regattas each year. Three or four are in the Seattle/Tacoma area and are on a weekend day. The Northwest Masters Regional Championships regatta in late June takes place over three days (two nights), usually in Vancouver, Washington. There is a two-day/two-night regatta in Victoria, BC on the last weekend in October that we usually attend, too. The away regattas are particularly fun.
What To Wear?
Appropriate clothing is the key to exercising comfortably on the water. Especially in winter, you will want layers that you can peel off as you warm up. Avoid cotton clothing – it is worse than useless when it gets wet!
- Polypropylene or performance wool shirts
- Water-resistant windbreaker (consider high-visibility material)
- Fleece hat
- Spandex shorts or leggings
- Wool, polypropylene, or neoprene socks
We walk into the water to launch our boats from the beach at Jensen Point, so you will need water shoes of some sort to protect your feet from the rocks. Crocs and Tevas are popular in the summer; add neoprene socks or neoprene booties in the winter.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Your note will be forwarded to several people, and one of us will get back to you to help you get off to a smooth start with VIRC Masters rowing.
- Check out the Adult Learn to Row page for classes.
- If you’re an experienced rower, why not join us right away?
- A first step is to ride in the launch and watch a water practice. Complete contact form if interested in this.
Thanks for your interest in the VIRC Masters Rowing Program.
Rowing is a great sport – come and join us!