Truly a sight to behold, the DVROC’s newly constructed launch dock was a hit among crews at last weekend’s Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta. Stretching 416 feet down the banks of the Schuylkill with two ramps extending to the shore and two support beams harnessing it, the dock allowed all 118 universities and colleges to efficiently enter and exit the river in a streamlined fashion not often seen at a regatta the size of the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta.
Attempting to describe the complexity of such an operation, Galloway explained, “This dock has to accommodate the heavy inbound and outbound shell traffic on a busy race schedule. We are racing six boats abreast with races going off over the race course at seven minute intervals. In a matter of 28 minutes, 24 racing shells and crews will have raced. That means the 24 crews will have all launched their shells within less than half an hour and simultaneously other crews that have already raced will have to be recovered at the dock within a similarly short period of time. If you calculate that we have eight hours of racing on Friday within this hectic schedule, you can see the absolute requirement for a first-class docking system.”
And indeed it is. Mike Ragan, senior vice-president of the DVROC, and Ken Shaw, a former member of the DVROC board of directors and vice president of the Regatta, took the lead role in identifying available vendors for both docks. Ragan, who also serves as the chair of Regatta operations, personally visited AccuDock® in Pompano Beach, FL, to find the exact docks required for the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta. The low-profile AccuDock® system allows the outriggers to clear the deck and for boats to slide up against the dock – making it especially easy for rowers to get in and out of their shells.
“I was looking for something that would fit all the variables that we have to contend with,” Ragan said. “One is storage because they’re not used everyday and two is that it has to be flexible and not need heavy equipment to install it or remove it. Because these docks are 5-by-8 foot sections at 100 pounds apiece, they fit all our needs.”
After keeping a close eye on both the launch dock and the awards dock during the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta, Ragan was elated by the performance.
“It went perfectly,” he said. “Everyone was excited by how nice they looked — clean and stable — and we were able to get people in and out like clockwork.”
Now the 5,000 student-athletes from the 176 high schools participating at the Stotesbury Regatta will be able to enjoy one of the most advanced docking systems in the country. The Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta hopes these rowers will enjoy the docks for years down the line as they continue their rowing careers and eventually compete at the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta.