The Head of the Charles Regatta
Sitting on the little plane heading to Montreal, I have time to reflect on what just happened in the last five days. Eton College of England, leave two hours after us and arrive two hours earlier than we do. We are far from home!
On Wednesday, October 19th, seven athletes and I left for Boston, MA, to take part in the largest rowing event on the planet. The Head of the Charles has over 9000 athletes in 1,987 entries. The five kilometer race course winds its way through the city of Boston and ends up in Cambridge. Along the way the crews pass the boathouses of MIT, Harvard, Boston University, Radcliffe, Boston College, and Northeastern University.
Thursday morning we made our way to the course and picked up our boats from Hudson Boatworks. The first practice was a bit of a sightseeing tour for the six athletes who were rowing on the Charles River for the first time. In the second practice we went out with the Green Lake crews from Seattle. Since they had a coach boat, I was able to go out and watch the practice.
On Friday morning, the course was closed to coach boats; however there were numerous official boats keeping things safe on the water. After the first practice we were invited to Northeastern University’s crew house for a tour and information session with their freshmen coach and recruiting officer. After a great lunch at Big Daddies Pizzaria, we went for our second and final practice before the race on Sunday.
After the second practice we had our second official university visit, this time at the Harvard University crew house. This was a real treat to get a tour of the boathouse and see all of the pictures of the old Brentonians who have rowed for Harvard.
On Friday we finished the evening off with dinner in Harvard Square with Adelaide Backer (Class of 2010), Daniel Hilhorst (Class of 2011) and Charles Angle (Class of 2005).
Saturday, Mr. Bruce Milne graciously hosted us for brunch at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge before we headed to Harvard Stadium to watch the home team beat Princeton in football 56-39. For our two German lads, this was their first taste of American football. After going back to the boat storage area and checking the two boats we headed back to the hotel for a well deserved early night.
Sunday morning the boys checked out of their rooms and we made our way to the course. At 10:35 am, our Youth 4+ came flying down the course. Starting 67th, they passed several crews with Rielly M, our coxswain, weaving in and around the numerous corners of the course. When the results came in, we were 8th! For the past six weeks we have been focused on a top ten finish as our goal. Starting so far back in the pack and as this was the first time for all five guys, I thought this was an attainable goal and they achieved it! The crew is made up of Rielly M, Nicholas R, Brett L, Friedrich W and Lance B. They were 3.5 seconds out of 5th place, which would have won them a medal. They had a great race and we are really excited about their results.
At 11:52 our youth double of Martin B and Jan B came down the course. They were the first crew off and had the other 39 crews hunting them down. They finished first across the line, however the American champions from 2011 were just a little bit quicker and they, along with the top two scullers from Ontario who are both Grade 13 athletes, finished ahead of us. Jan and Martin had a very good race and will receive their bronze medals at the end of the month.
Now we’re sitting in the Montreal airport waiting for our flight to Vancouver. We are delayed an hour. Looking across the waiting area, there are seven young men bantering and, of course, eating. Thanks to our Administration for allowing us to take these student athletes to what surely is one of the highlights of their athletic careers.
Mr. Brian Carr, Varsity Men’s Rowing Coach