Who is “Dad” Vail
Harry Emerson “Dad” Vail was one of America’s early college coaches. He coached at the University of Wisconsin between 1911 and the late 1920’s. His crews competed against great odds since there was little support for the sport and little rowing took place in Wisconsin. Crew candidates often went out for other sports. He persisted, however, drawing on a lovable personality and great respect for hard work. His efforts were recognized more widely outside the Badger State than where he coached. He died on October 8, 1928. The regatta is lovingly named for him.

Where is Kelly Drive?
Kelly Drive is in the Fairmount Park section of Philadelphia, Pa. This mecca of rowing is located on the east bank of the Schuylkill River just northwest of Center City Philadelphia.

How do I get to Kelly Drive?
Click here for directions.

Where is the Grand Stand?
2200 Kelly Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19129

Are racers at Boat House Row?
No. Go two miles north to the Grand Stand.

Do you sell a Program?
Yes, at the Grand Stand.

When do Colleges race?
Refer to the Heat Sheets posted on the web site at dadvail.org.

What’s a Heat Sheet?
Heat Sheets describe the Day’s races telling who rows when, and in which lane. Separate Heat Sheets are published for the Qualifying races (All day Friday), the Semi final races (Saturday morning), and the Final races (Saturday afternoon).

You can find heat sheets, schedules and race results on this web site, dadvail.org. Note: Heat sheets are generated by the regatta organizers shortly before races begin on Friday, and may be updated as heats are completed.

How/where do I find race results?
From the public address system after each race or on the web at dadvail.org

Where do I park for the regatta?
Enter Kelly Drive from the north or south and follow parking directional signs.

Are cars allowed to park on Kelly Drive?
Yes, with proper official window stickers visible on windshields. Remember, however, parking is limited on the drive.

The Handicapped. Are they allowed on Kelly Drive?
Yes. Please refer to the attached map.

How do we get from the parking area to Kelly Drive to watch the races? 
Shuttle buses take spectators to the drive. The buses follow a route through the parking area to Kelly Drive and then to the Art Museum on Pennsylvania Ave. There they turn around and retrace their route returning to the parking area. Shuttles have four stops: Canoe Club, Grand Stand (The Finish Line), Rowers' Village (where crews assemble) and the Art Museum for the trip back. The shuttle is FREE.

Where is the best place to meet rowers?
At the Rowers Village. Cell phones will be helpful.

Does public transportation travel to Kelly Drive?
Yes. SEPTA buses 32 and 38 run though center city on J.F.K. Blvd. and Pennsylvania Blvd. Get off near the Art Museum and look for regatta shuttle buses assembling on Pennsylvania Ave. for the return route north on Kelly Drive.

What does it cost to enter the regatta?
Nothing. It’s FREE

What’s the best place to watch the races?
The Grand Stand

Where are Alumni Tents located?
North of the Grand Stand seats.

Are spectators allowed to bring lunches?
Yes, and beach chairs. and pets on leashes providing their pet’s Pooper Scoopers. Alcoholic beverages are sold in the Food Court.

Are there refreshments?
Yes. Please refer to the attached map for specific location.

Are there Medical Facilities at the Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta?
Yes. Please refer to the attached map.

How do I find the names of the entries and the times of the races?
Buy a Jefferson Dad Vail Program with Heat Sheets at the Grand Stand.

Where’s the Starting Line?
Please refer to the attached map.

How long is the race course?
2,000 meters. This is an Olympic length course.

Where’s the Finish Line?
Please refer to the attached map.

How many race lanes are there?

How many races are there?
Over 175.

When do races begin?
Generally, races begin at 7 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday and end around 5 p.m.

Under what conditions will races be halted?
Generally, if the water is very rough, or debris is blocking the lanes, or lightning is in the sky, races will be halted. Rain of and by itself will not necessarily stop the races. Officials make the final decision on all stoppages.

How many colleges enter the Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta?
128 schools entered the Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta in 2013, making the Dad Vail the largest college regatta in North America

When did the Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta Begin?

What colleges competed in the first Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta?
Marietta, Rutgers and Manhattan. Marietta was the winner.

Who started the regatta?
The Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta was started by two men with ties to rowing at the University of Pennsylvania. The individuals were ‘Rusty’ Callow and Lev Brett. Callow was then coach at Penn and laid the foundation. Brett was credited with being the architect. Their goal was to have a college regatta for developing crew programs.

Has the Regatta been held continuously since 1934?
Yes, Except for the WWII years.

When did the Regatta become a permanent fixture in Philadelphia

Where can I go for Public Information?
Ed Levin
Publicity Director
Dad Vail Regatta
610-246-5902 (Cell)

Who runs the Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta?
The Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta Organizing Committee. Jack Galloway is Chairman and Jim Hanna is President. The DVROC is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization.

Does the Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta have a presence on Facebook and Twitter?
Yes. You can follow the regatta on Facebook and Twitter. Please click the links below for more information:


By Harry Stinger