October 20-21, 2007 - Head of the Charles Regatta
It's really a "Big Deal" to be invited to participate in the Head of the Charles Regatta (HOCR). This is the largest 2-day regatta in the world. In 2007 there were over 1800 boats, 8200 participants, and 300,000 spectators! The fact that participation is by "invitation only" seems like a pretty big deal to me.

The regatta takes place on the Charles River in Boston, between the Harvard, MIT, and Boston College campuses. Schools, clubs, and individuals from all over the world participate in the 40 or so racing events over the 2-day period. Each event has up to 50 boats participating.

"Head" races are apparently a British tradition. Narrow river channels did not allow numerous boats to start at the same time, so they were started sequentially... every 15 seconds. The boat with the shortest time claims the title of "Head" of the river. Since passing is a dangerous affair, boats are "seeded", with those expected to be fastest going first and those expected to be slowest, going last.

I've compressed these photo-collage pages into 22 thumbnails plus the cover page. Clicking on each will open a higher resolution version, allowing viewing of individual photos on each page.

While these pages have the same content as the photo booklet which was auctioned at the Spring Crew Dinner, the resolution of the printed photo pages cannot be conveyed over the web... you should've bid at the auction!

This was truly a wonderful event. The weather was absolutely perfect. The excitement of the races and the serenity of the setting proved a stunning and unexpected contrast. The bustling bridges and crowded riverbanks in the photos of pages 5, 6, and 7 directly conflict with the images of tranquility on the last page.

How did the JCU Lady Streaks fare? In numbers, they were 42 out of 44. Now you might think that was disappointing but first... consider that these racers are among the best in the world. Also consider that the JCU teams (up to this point) have had no outside financial assistance, so they must raise money for equipment and travel, besides taking time for their practices and hopefully, their schoolwork.

Finally, consider that this racecourse is one of the most difficult, with very sharp turns and bridges as obstacles in the course. The orange buoys on pages 19, 20, and 21mark the center of the course. Obviously the best strategy, and best controlled boats would cut these turns as closely as possible, with blades extending up to the buoys.

Click on the images below to enlarge the pages
My photos from the Elliot bridge, near the end of the course, show that many of the "faster" boats took the last, tight turn very wide. They were faster because they were just more powerful. The JCU team took the turn very tight, showing great control, poise, and teamwork. Personally, I'm pleased and... a little bit proud that the team placed their emphasis on these qualities rather than on simply being the strongest rowers.