Crowds gather to watch rowers compete during 2018’s regatta.
The largest regatta in the world, taking place since 1965, happens here in Massachusetts on the Charles River. The regatta occurs over three days and brings over 225,000 people to the greater Boston area, to both race and observe the competition. The style of racing that is performed at the Head of the Charles race is called head racing. Across various races, boats are set out by bow number and then are timed by the time that they complete the race. This is a style of racing that is common often in the fall, whereas sprints are common in the spring.
This Head of the Charles is one to watch, as the addition of a monetary prize for the Men's and Women's Championship sculls, has led this to be a much more competitive weekend of races.
The regatta begins Friday, October 20, and opens with Masters races. Masters races are races that mostly involve post-collegiate rowers, who are often middle-aged or older. The only races occurring on that day are the masters and grandmasters singles and doubles. Former collegiate athletes tend to dominate masters' races, so keep an eye out for alumni.
The bulk of the racing continues on Saturday, October 21, opening with clubs' singles races. The first of the eight-oared shell races begins that morning as well. The first of the majorly watched races is the Men’s alumni race. University of Washington alumni seem to be a heavy contender to win this race; they have achieved first place in it for the last two years, and they are seeded first. Ex Nemo, or the Harvard University Alumni boat, can surely be a force to be reckoned with, as they got second in 2022 and are seeded second in this year's head of the Charles.
For the Men's Club Eights Race, it will be a tossup between Harvard University and Brown University. These two teams have been going back and forth for the last couple of years, and it will be interesting to see who will come out on top for 2023. Harvard is seeded first after last year's win, and Brown second, but the only way to know who will come out on top is to see how the race is rowed.
On the women’s side, University of Washington alumni are still seeded to come up on top and have won the previous year. Friends of Brown Women’s Crew (Brown University Alumnae) may be able to sneak out with second place, due to the previous year beating out their seed, and showing that they are a force to be reckoned with.
For the Women's Club Eight, Drexel University was surprisingly strong the previous year, with Radcliffe Women (Harvard University Women’s team) seeded second. This race could go either way with perhaps even Yale University winning, as they got third place in 2022.
The Men’s Youth Eight will be a strong battle for whoever wins, as the top six crews of Greenwich, St. Joseph's Prep, RowAmerica Rye, Saugatuck, New Trier, and Marin have been in fierce competition since youth nationals. Greenwich has placed first for the past few years, but with these clubs, nothing is ever certain.
In the Women's Youth Eight, RowAmerica Rye and Greenwich seem to be the ones duking it out for the win. Other teams such as Saugatuck and Marin may be able to shake down the champions and secure the wins themselves, but we will have to wait and see how the race turns out!