by Margaret Burdge | October 21, 2013 10:24 am
More than 9,000 athletes and 300,000 spectators (with even more watching the live feed from home) flooded to the Head of the Charles this weekend for the annual Head of the Charles Regatta (HOCR), the largest competition in the world of its kind. With races all day Saturday and Sunday, spectators enjoyed a world-class athletic competition that brings both local blood and international competitors to Boston.
This year’s regatta took place during one of the most beautiful fall weekends Boston is likely to see this year. Couldn’t make it to the festivities this weekend? Check out what you missed at this year’s Head of the Charles:
Landon Carter, a member of Marin Rowing Association—a big winner throughout the day—started off Saturday’s races strong with just over a 21-minute time in the Senior Veteran Men’s Singles race.
An unusual occurrence at HOCR, Bart Pasternak of Saugatuck Rowing Club flipped his boat after colliding with the Eliot Bridge. It’s one of the race’s many obstacles. Rowers must maneuver the wide turns of the course and navigate six sets of bridge arches. Pasternak didn’t quite make his turn, but he courageously got back in his boat to finish the race.
In the Grand Master Men’s Singles, for rowers over 50, Cambridge Boat Club’s Gregory Benning shattered the course record for the event (which had stood for 21 years) by a full 15 seconds. A total of 17 course records would be broken on day 1 alone.
Alison Sanders-Fleming from Cambridge Boat Club (above) finished 11th in the Grand Master Women’s Singles, while her club-mate, Saiya Remmler, pulled out a win with a time of 20:35, a new record for the event.
Many of the alumni teams approached the races with a sense of humor. The Harvard Alumni Men’s Eights (top) each donned a different superhero’s logo, while the Drexel Rowing Alumni Group went for the bow-tie look. The Stanford women’s eights also wore Superwoman outfits as an homage to their school’s name.
The University of Michigan Alumni team (right) was not about to let the Alumnae Women’s Eights title go without a fight, but the University of Virginia Alumni surged into the win with a record-breaking finish.
Boston’s Union Boat Club broke the Charles River Rowing Association’s 16.33 Club Men’s Fours record from 2002 by more than 20 seconds.
The Club Women’s Fours race unfolded very unexpectedly, with the Boston University and Boston College crews neck and neck into the Eliot Bridge underpass, only to be beaten by the Fordham University crew (above, seeded 7th). The most surprising turn of events, however, was Clemson (an unseeded team leaving the start at the 34th position) who finished second.
A true exhibit of brute force, the Brown University club team—different from the alumni teams in that members could not have been on either JV or Varsity Rowing while at the School in order to qualify—broke their record from last year by more than 10 seconds.
The Coast Guard team placed 18th in the Collegiate Eights on Sunday.
Beneath a crowd of cheering spectators, the Brighton local team, Community Rowing, certainly earned their name with a strong showing of community support at the event, for a fourth place finish in the Club Women’s Eights.
Mississauga, Canada’s Don Rowing Club faced one of the worst problems in rowing, a detached oar, while they were in close quarters with Baltimore Rowing Club Carnegie Lake Rowing Association. After a quick stop on the other side and some rearranging, the team continued on and finished the race in 23rd place before Carnegie, who finished last with a three-minute penalty.
The Toronto Sculling Club stayed far ahead of the pack in the Master Women’s Eights, finishing more than 20 seconds before the other boats.
After a second-place finish in 2012, Matthew Miller and Sam Stitt from Potomac Boat Club broke the record for the Championship Men’s Doubles race with a time of 15:51, 10 seconds faster than Boston Rowing Center’s 1992 time.
The Austrian team was all smiles as Inge Janssen and Magdalena Lobnig kept a strong lead, finishing the race in just over 18 minutes.
“Let’s go Blue!” chants radiated across the banks as the Michigan Rowing Association (right) surged around the turn. But despite energetic support, they could not beat the University of Virginia Rowing Association (left) who bested University of Michigan’s 2008 record by less than a half of a second.
Barry University’s Collegiate Women’s Fours team used every last bit of energy to beat Western Rowing Club’s 2008 record in the event, but Trinity College (above) was the only leading seed who held their ground, finishing fourth.
The men of the University of New Hampshire were one of many teams competing in the Collegiate Eights on Sunday.
Kathleen Bertko raced past three-time defending champion and Cambridge local, Gevvie Stone, for an 18:33 win in the Championship Women’s Singles, 12 seconds faster than the previous record, which Stone also beat.
After a stellar win last year, Norwegian Kjetil Borch came back strong, beating a course record that has been in place for more than 30 years, set in 1982 by Yale’s John Bigelow.
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