The Joys of the Head of the Charles Regatta

Saturday, October 27, 2018 - By: Yannick H, Privett ‘19

First of all, the Boston Project Crew would like to say a massive thank you to Mrs Sage for organising the trip and to Mr Carr and Mrs Biesenthal for coaching us. It was an amazing journey and an incredible experience. The 54th Head of the Charles Regatta is the largest rowing event in the world with over 11,000 competitors from over 35 countries racing in 60 different events.

This journey started on a Wednesday morning, more than a month ago, with a 5km time trial in singles, with the top four selected into the quad. It was not the strongest of starts, but we found our focus and improved in leaps and bounds. The next worry was - who would be the coxswain? Fortunately, Erika C jumped over from the Senior Girls program to take charge of the quad. 

Fast forward to Boston where we travelled for 14 hours, arriving at the Community Rowing Inc. boathouse to set up our rental boat and oars and get out on the water. Two hours after we arrived, we had our first sightseeing practice on the course, learning about all the turns (there were many) and sight lines for Erika to use on race day. On the second day we had our second practice; this time there were a lot more boats on the course with no coach beside guiding us down the course. It was an experience, especially in bow seat. Our rest day was when there was the first day of racing. We met some of the world’s greatest rowers in person (this was the first time I’ve ever been star-struck). The atmosphere in the main village was crazy with so many vendors as well as competitors and spectators, which was a little overwhelming but I guess that’s just the nature of being at one of the biggest regattas in the world. 

We also met up with several Brentwood Grads including Kate Laumann Wallace ‘17 who gave us a tour of the Harvard Yard. Kate is in second year at Harvard and rowing with the Harvard/Radcliffe Women’s team and racing in their Championship 4+. Riley Toporowski ‘18 met up with us after the races were done. He is in first year at George Washington University and was rowing in their Varsity 4+ in the Championship event. There were another thirteen grads rowing or coaching at the event. 

Our race was Sunday afternoon at 12:37 PM. We arrived at the course with a howling southeasterly wind that meant there was going to be a screaming headwind for most of the course. The Head of the Charles is a 4.8 km course that winds it way from the Boston University boathouse through downtown and ending up by Northeastern University’s boathouse. Since this was Brentwood’s first entry since 2011, we were seeded 40th out of 40 crews in the Youth Quad event. Erika had to not only deal with the very strong cross winds and rough water, but she also with the slower crews she had to navigate around; in the end, we passed six crews and finished 11th. Considering the conditions that all 40 crews had to race in and the extra effort of passing the slower crews, we came off the water knowing we had rowed our best possible race on that day. 

It was the best regatta experience we - Ethan S ‘20, Karl D ‘21, Axel E ‘19 and Erika C ‘19 - have ever come across

Thank you for a great trip Mr. Carr, Mrs. Biesenthal and Mrs. Sage for organising!

Yannick H, Privett ‘19

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