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.
The current and scheduled dredging on the Schuylkill River National Racecourse may impact the ability to install a racecourse and hold a fair regatta. For that reason, a decision was made to hold the Jefferson Dad Vail on the Cooper River Racecourse in 2023.
Location- Cooper River Park (346.55 acres) runs through Pennsauken, Cherry Hill, Collingswood and Haddon Township. The park is bounded by North and South Park Drives, Route 130 and Grove Street.
From the NJ Turnpike: Take Exit 4 to Route 73 North heading toward Philadelphia. Take left onto Route 38 West, then exit south on Cuthbert Blvd., just beyond exit tto Rte. 70 is North Park Blvd. and the race course.
From I-95 and Philadelphia: Go over Ben Franklin Bridge on 676 (US 30). Continue on HWY 38 heading east for 0.6 miles. Bear right on US 70 heading east for 1.1 miles to N Park Blvd.
From I-295 in New Jersey (runs parallel to NJ Turnpike): Take Route 70 West; Head south on Cuthbert Blvd. to North Park Blvd. and take right to parking area.
Anywhere on North or South Park Drive will have viewing areas. There will also be grandstands by the finish line area. The races will also be livestreamed and you can find the link on the homepage of www.dadvail.org.
Click here for a map.
Camden County Boathouse is located on the Cooper River Racecourse. 7050 N Park Dr. Pennsauken, NJ 08109.The Boat House is located on the race course.
Yes. Paper programs will be sold at the event and electronic versions are available, at no charge, on dadvail.org.
Refer to the Heat Sheets posted on the web site at dadvail.org.
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.
From the public address system after each race or on the web at dadvail.org
Parking and handicapped parking is located at the main concourse area near finish line. Additional parking will be located at the corner of Cuthbert Ave and North Park Drive, across from double tree hotel. As well as additional street parking on North Park Drive.
Click here for a map.
There will be a handicapped parking area, at the finish line area.
At the Rowers Village. Cell phones will be helpful.
The following transit lines have routes that pass near Cooper River Park
How to get to Cooper River Park in Pennsauken by Bus, Subway or Train? (moovitapp.com)
There is no fee for spectators. The event is free!
Spectators are permitted to bring lunches and beach chairs. Pet’s are permitted provided the pet owners ensure their pets are on leashes at all times, and the owner is equipped with, and makes responsible use of their pet’s Pooper Scooper. Alcoholic beverages are sold is designated areas.
Visit www.dadvail.org, download the Dad Vail App (Apple and Google Playstore) or you can buy a Jefferson Dad Vail Program with Heat Sheets
2,000 meters. This is an Olympic length course.
Generally, races begin at 7 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday and end around 5 p.m.
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.
Typically around 100 schools enter the Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta, making the Dad Vail the largest college regatta in North America
Marietta, Rutgers and Manhattan. Marietta was the winner.
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
Yes, Except for the WWII years and 2020 due to COVID
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.