For all crews involved, the 52nd annual Head of the Charles was one to remember. On the first day of racing, the skies released a torrent of rain upon competitors. With reduced visibility and slippery oar handles, the Saturday crews pushed down the course regardless. Sunday was much drier, but crews were instead battered by a west-southwest wind. Because of the winding nature of the course, the wind changed from a headwind to a tailwind in just minutes.
Saturday morning saw many of the masters events race down the course. Belmont Hill’s own Mr. Richards finished second in the Men’s Senior Master Fours, just four seconds behind first place. Gregg Stone, a Belmont Hill rowing coach and the father of Winsor Olympian Gevvie Stone, finished second in the Veteran I Singles. Both raced with the sky-blue oars of Cambridge Boat Club.
The youth sweep crews descended on the course on Sunday. Belmont Hill and Winsor each entered a four and eight. Crowds crammed onto a sinking dock to scream the boathouse crews around the final turn. The Belmont Hill and Winsor fours both finished 10th in their respective events. The young Belmont Hill eight claimed 63rd and the Winsor eight got 67th. Belmont Hill captain Bobby Jahrling (VI) said, “We wanted to do a little better in the four, but considering our lack of practice time, I think we’re happy with the result. I think the entire team had a great showing.”
Because of ISL rules, the Belmont Hill eight could only practice once a week. The four could only practice twice a week. The four practiced with the rest of the team on Sundays and then rose early every Thursday morning for a second weekly practice. Mr. Richards and Mr. George would lead most of the Sunday practices while Coaches Greer Dent, Jacob Sobstyl, and Belmont Hill alumnus Henry Ogilby took the helm on Thursdays.
The Head of the Charles marked the final hurrah of Winsor’s fall rowing season, where they raced in the Head of the Housatonic and Textile River Regatta.
Recent alumni from Belmont Hill and Winsor also charged down the course in Championship events. Tommy Ruggles (BH ‘16) took 4th with Georgetown’s Lightweight Four. Elizabeth Roe (W ‘16) took 11th in Harvard-Radcliffe’s Champ Four. Giovanna De Vito (W ‘16) raced in the Champ Eight with the Naval Academy. Coxswain Cole Durbin (BH’14) and Alexander Richards (BH ‘14) took 3rd in the Champ Eight with Harvard. Robbie Danziger (BH ‘13) raced in Georgetown’s Champ Eight. And Gevvie Stone (W’03) made rowing headlines when she tied a Head of the Charles Women’s Championship Single record by winning the event for the seventh time. She also won the Championship Eight with her world sculling peers in the “Great Eight.”
The Head of the Charles is much more than a rowing race. The regatta is rowing’s Mecca, bringing rowers from all over the world to the frigid shores of the Charles. This year was no exception.