Frequently Asked Questions


As  a beginner how long will it be before I actually row on the water?

We understand the limits of our time each  session, and we want to teach you as much about the sport as we can. Your first day will include a quick lesson on safety, equipment, and using the rowing machines, and will then head down to the dock for some stationary rowing in our barge.  On day two, you may have a quick refresher on the rowing machines before heading down to the dock, strapping in the barge, and heading out on the Mighty Mystic!  Based on the progress of the crew as a whole, the coach will decide when you'll make the transition into a rowing hull - which generally happens at the start of week 2.

What  do I do if I can’t make a class?

With at least 24 hours notice we can often fit  you in to another class, but people registered for that class time will be given priority.  You can contact us via email, phone, or during class.

What  does a typical class include?

Class begins with warm up and  stretching (approx 10 min).  Coaches will set lineups for each boat in advance of the practice and each boat will launch promptly after the warm ups. Activities on the water range from technique drills and aerobic rows to higher intensity training and racing.

What should I wear to class and bring?

Shorts/pants: Wear comfortable, close-fitting cotton or spandex shorts. Biking shorts will do fine if you have them. It's important not to wear loose clothing in the boat as it can get caught on the sliding seats.
T-shirts: T-shirts are perfect for rowing, but wear something  that is not too baggy because your fingers can get hooked on your shirt too.
Socks: Wear comfortable socks.  Be advised that they may get wet during practice.  Socks may get wet in the course of a day’s rowing, but wearing socks will  increase the longevity of the shoes in the boats.
Sneakers/Running  Shoes: Wear sneakers for comfort if you'll be using the rowing machine, or 'erg'.   Shoes should not be worn in the boats, which have special rowing shoes fastened in place for each rower.  YOU SHOULD BRING RUNNING SHOES TO EACH PRACTICE!  Weather conditions and or lineups may require some rowers to erg for part or all of practice. 
Sunglasses/Sun block/ Hats/Bug Spray: Sun protection should be taken seriously, especially while working out.  Sunglasses are recommended but with a warning:  many pairs have fallen into the river. So you may not want to wear your finest,  or wear a band to keep them around your neck.  Bug spray is something that some rowers choose to wear during practice.
Water  Bottles: It is important to be well-hydrated when you row, so be sure to bring a filled water-bottle with you to practice.

I  am out of shape/getting back into shape, and crew sounds pretty intense. Will the class be too much for me?

We have rowers of all shapes and sizes, fitness  and abilities. The coaches consider matching levels of fitness when they make  the lineups. The work outs are also designed to fit the fitness of the crews.

I  am a rock star athlete and I want to go fast. Will crew satisfy my need for  speed?

Experienced rowers as well as rowing  Wunderkinder will have the opportunity to train hard and put their competitive  juices to the test.  One thing to remember is rowing is also a very technical sport so you will have practices that will be focusing on specific parts of the stroke and may not be the exhausting cardio workout you were hoping for.  This is very true when you start rowing, most practices will be technical.   But fear not, if you row for a while, I guarantee you will have workouts where when you reach the dock, you'll think, "oh great...now we have to carry the boat!"  Rowing is as much mental as it is  physical. 

What if there is inclement weather on the day of practice?

The only weather conditions that will prevent us from heading out on the river is thunder or high winds. WE DO ROW IN THE RAIN! Remember, rowing is a water sport so getting wet is not unusual.  Your coach will make the final decision on whether practice will involve going on the water or practicing on the rowing machines.  Your safety takes priority! 

I've heard the Mystic River is not a clean river.  Is it safe?

This is actually something we are asked a lot.  Is the river safe?  YES IT IS SAFE!  GGRC has close ties with the Mystic River Watershed Association which constantly checks the quality of the water.  In 2017, the portions of the Mystic River that we row on received a grade of "A-" for water quality.  This means the water is safe for boating just under 95% of the time.  GGRC's Program Director and Coaches monitor the river quality notifications for any alerts and make practice adjustments if needed.

What is our fleet like?

GGRC rows a fleet of boats made in the USA by Vespoli of New Haven, CT.  All of our boats, with the exception of one hull, are under 10 years of age.  Once they reach 10 years, they are cycled out of the fleet and replaced by a new hull.  

  • Eights - We have 6 in the fleet.  Sizes - 1 XL, 1 L, 3 M, 1 S
  • Fours - We have 4 in the fleet.  Sizes - 1 L, 2 M, 1 S
  • Doubles/Pairs - We have 4 in the fleet.  Sizes 1 L, 2 M, 1 S - We also have pontoons for each hull to be used as needed.