Race Information

The 2017 Festival weekend will take place on Saturday, June 10 (race seeding trials only) on the Charles River from the Pierce boathouse at MIT, and Sunday, June 11 (races, finals, and festival) on the Charles River near Harvard Square.   

You will be racing in Great White North fiberglass, Hong Kong style dragon boats. The boat, drum, paddles and standard size flotation devices will be provided. Any team is allowed to wear their own personal flotation devices so long as they all match. Exceptions to matching flotation devices are allowed for age/weight appropriate devices when the Festival cannot fit the team member with such a device. 

The length of the course will be approximately 500 meters, on a course from the Western Avenue Bridge to the Weeks footbridge on Sunday.  Teams will be racing at MIT on Saturday, June 10 for seeding and on Sunday, June 11 for competition.

Teams are allowed a maximum of 24 registered members, comprising of: 1 Drummer, 1 Boston Dragon Boat Festival Qualified Steersperson, and 22 Paddlers. A maximum 20 paddlers may race at one time. The additional two paddlers are to be considered alternates and may paddle as the captain wishes.  No experience is required for paddlers.  Team members must be at least 14 years of age and should be able to swim 100 meters in light clothes with an age/weight appropriate flotation device.

Teams will be divided into Local and Visiting divisions.  In addition teams may be grouped into the following classes: Club, Recreational, Corporate, Women’s, Youth, and Cancer Survivors depending on the teams registered.  All teams must have a minimum of 8 female paddlers, except for women’s teams which must have 20 female paddlers.  

Saturday Heats

MIT Pierce Boathouse (Boathouse Directions)

The time trials take place at the MIT Pierce Boathouse on the Saturday of the Festival weekend. Each group will begin their second heat soon after returning to the start. You will not exit your boat between heats, though you may substitute registered alternate team members.

There will be two back-to-back heats, with the average time used in seeding for Sunday's races. Once the crews in the race ahead of your heat have launched, your crew will be directed onto the boathouse docks. Once the previous race's crews have returned to the docks and exited via the ramp, crews can then get life jackets and paddles and proceed to their assigned boats.

Races begin from the dock at the MIT boathouse.  Once your team is settled into your boat, steerers must position the boat so that its tail is aligned with the end of the dock and held by a dock staff volunteer.  Heat races end 500 meters upstream, near the Hyatt Regency. There are 2 white poles on the Cambridge shore that signify the finish line flag.  (view map)

The results of the time trials will determine the brackets for Sunday's races.  View sample race bracket chart for Sunday's finals.

Sunday Races

Weeks Footbridge near Harvard (Festival Directions)

On Sunday, the docks will be located on the Boston shore.  Races begin between the River and Western Avenue bridges, near Western Avenue.  Races end near the Weeks Footbridge, just before the boat docks. (view festival map) (view race course)

Once your team has launched from the docs, you should proceed downstream to the starting line.  At the starting line listen for
instructions from the race officials at the start line.   Buoys will mark the approximate finish line; an air horn will be used to indicate the passing of each boat across the official finish line.

Additional Resources