The Regatta Number Game

Now that we’ve had our first regatta, it might be a good time to discuss the mechanics. Winning a regatta by points is a fine balance between participation and placing. The points system is broken up into divisions which are based on how many races your club enters. This helps smaller clubs compete with similar sized clubs.

For example if a club enters 23 or less events, they go into Division B. Larger clubs entering more than 23 events go into Division A. Our club is a little in between and we try to run as many races in Division A as possible. This also allows the best chance for all our members to get an opportunity to paddle. Another complexity is how points are awarded which is also based on participation.


One point is awarded per canoe in an event and an extra 1 point for first place. So before the race starts each canoe gets 1 point. If they get disqualified (DQ), they lose this point. If they come in last, they keep their 1 point. If they beat 1 boat (2nd to last) they get an additional point. So you get a point for every boat you manage to beat to the finish. Let’s say there’s 10 boats. First place would get 1 + 9 + 1 (11), second place 1 + 8 (9), all the way to last palace which is 1 + 0 (1).

If you don’t have enough paddlers for the event, then you have to Scratch. You get 0 points for a scratch, and your point does not get added to any of the other canoes. It’s like you never entered that race.


Naturally there’s some limitations that make crew selections difficult. There’s experience classes (Novice B, Novice A) and age classes (open, 40, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70). Then each paddler is limited to 2 races per day (1 race per day at the State Championships).

This limits how many times each paddler can race. This is why sometimes we move paddlers down a class to help fill canoes. For example, say we don’t have enough 55 paddlers so if we have extra 60’s paddlers who are only doing 1 other event, we can move them down into 55 to help fill the canoe for that race.

Putting it Together

The challenge of course is placing crews in to the highest possible position (most points) AND racing races with the most canoes (higher points scored). Ideally all the clubs would run all the races, but it’s just not possible.

This points system can have some unexpected results if you look a the raw numbers. This last regatta shows how. Our club tied for total number 1st places and we had many 2nd and 3rds, however we got last in Division A. It seems counter intuitive, but in the races where we dominated, there were less entries, so we got less points. Part of this is due to this being the first regatta so clubs are still getting up to speed (like the problems we had getting everyone’s paperwork approved causing crews to be ineligible to race). In terms of margins, though we were not far behind the other clubs.

This table nicely summarizes our performance against other clubs disregarding the number of canoes in each race (total points).

Race Totals May 21, 2022

The yellow highlights are the top number in each column. We entered 40 events, scratched 10, DQ’d in 3 making the number raced 30 (40 – 10 scratched). You’ll see our club was on the podium 60% of the time, which was only beaten by Puna and Laka. Despite having such good performances from us and others, the factor of collecting points meant Kawaihae at 57.1% won Division A, and Keauhou at 33% won division B.

Next Weekend

This is an amazing start to our season with great results, even if the points didn’t work out for us. This coming weekend should see more of our crews paddling and as we settle into the blend together we should see some quicker speeds.

Let’s get ’em! Kahi! Lua! Kolu! Keaukaha!

Also check out our new events calendar which you can sync up with your electronic calendars too. Also you can RSVP for regattas if you can make it or let us know if you can’t go.

Round 2 of jersey orders is closing soon! Get them now. The sizes run just a little on the large size.