FAQ for Parents

Who is North Bay Rowing Club?

NBRC was founded in 1984 by local rower, sailor and river access advocate Greg Sabourin to support the sport of rowing and take advantage of the scenic and calm Petaluma River. Since then, our masters program for adults has grown to over 80 dedicated members of all skill levels. Sabourin is still a masters member of the club. The Juniors program began in the early 2000s and competes against over 30 teams within the Southwest Region, representing junior high and high school athletes from Sonoma, Napa and Marin Counties.

Practice and Training

Each practice is two and a half hours long and will be divided between the land and water. The team focuses on training on the water, but practices on land are equally important, and athletes are expected to attend all sessions regardless of locations. Most practices will take place at the NBRC boatyard, but will occasionally move to other nearby locations if conditions require.


The coxswain (pronounced "coxin") is perhaps the most important individual in the boat. Analogous to the quarterback, the cox is the leader of the crew on the water, in charge of steering the boat, directing the actions of the rowers, and making critical race moves. Becoming a good coxswain requires confidence, ability to make snap decisions, and builds leadership ability.


The Competitive Team participates in a number of regattas throughout the year, most of them local, but some as far away as Sacramento and Southern California. In most regattas, all athletes will compete, but for our most competitive regattas, crews will be hand-selected by the coaches. The selection process varies and is the prerogative of the coaches, but generally includes some mix of these elements:

Erg Testing/Fitness: Athletes are tested periodically on the rowing machines to gauge progress. In the fall season, the coach will test athletes in five or six kilometer pieces, and in the Spring, athletes will be tested with two kilometer pieces. The coaches look for continual improvement throughout the season as well as performance relative to teammates. These test pieces are standard in the sport, and are also used by the Junior National Team when inviting athletes to selection camps.

Attendance: Practice attendance is a requirement for race participation. While the occasional absence may not prohibit a rower from competition, repeated absences will impact improvement, and chronic absences may result in noncompetition.

Technical Proficiency: Rowing is a complex sport that requires a thorough understanding of technique, and the coaches will take technical proficiency into account when selecting race crews.

Seat Racing: Seat racing is a process that determines the relative speed of two or more rowers by having them scrimmage against each other in separate boats over multiple pieces.

Attitude: Athletes are expected to arrive at the boatyard focused and ready to work as a team. Positivity and willingness to improve are all key factors in defining the speed of a boat, and are taken into account when selecting race crews.

Sweep Rowing and Sculling

Sweep Rowing: Sweep rowing is when each rower uses only oar. The Junior Crew races in boats that hold either two, four or eight rowers, plus one coxswain. The boats are classified as a pair (2-), four (4+), or an eight (8+).

Sculling: Sculling is the discipline of rowing in which each athlete has two oars. The Junior Crew races in boats that hold either one, two, or four rowers, with no coxswain. These boats are classified as a single (1x), double (2x), and quad (4x).

Over the course of their time at NBRC, athletes will likely row most or all of these boat classes, and the coaches will select for a diversity of events.


The High School Competitive Team meets five days a week.
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 4-6:30 pm
and Saturdays from 9:30 am - Noon.

The Middle School Learn-to-Row Team meets three days a week.
Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 4-6:00 pm.


NBRC is a 501(c)(3) organization, and fundraising efforts play a key role in the support of our teams. The Junior Crew hosts several fundraising events annually, and athletes are required to participate, including:

Erg-a-thon: Athletes are divided into two teams and race 100 miles on a single rowing machine. Juniors solicit local businesses for donations in support of NBRC Junior athletics.

Dine-and-Donates: NBRC partners with local restaurants to raise money for NBRC Junior athletics. Families are encouraged to promote and participate in these events.

eScrip Fundraising: You shop and NBRC earns money! Check the donate page for details.

Parent Booster Club & Volunteering

The Booster Club is the foundation of any successful high school team. Parents support NBRC athletics by voluntarily participating in several functions throughout the season, including hosting pre-race dinners, providing transport and support at races, organizing travel detail for road trips, and organizing and attending fundraising events. Booster events are a great way to get more involved with your child's sport and meet other parents! Ask one of the coaches for details about how to get involved!

Financial Support

NBRC offers a limited number of scholarships for families in need of assistance. If your athlete is ready to participate in the Juniors Program and assistance is needed, contact our treasurer: treasurer@northbayrowing.org.


The basic uniform that is mandatory for all athletes is the unisuit, practice tank top, practice trou (spandex shorts), and practice t-shirt. Optional but recommended additions include NBRC bags, tech jackets, warm up gear. You can see some NBRC juniors in action in these uniforms on the High School Competitive Team landing page, here.

Both running shoes and sandals are required at each practice, and sunglasses and a hat are strongly recommended.

Uniforms are purchased by the athletes through JL Racing, and opportunities to purchase gear are provided at the start of each season.

The Boatyard & Parking

Most practices are held at the NBRC Boatyard in the southwest corner of the Foundry Wharf parking lot. Parking in the lot is strictly prohibited from 7am-5pm Monday-Friday; if you are picking up your athlete during these hours and need to park please utilize street parking only. Driving through the parking lot and remaining in your vehicle is allowed. Parking in the lot is permitted on weekends.