The 54th Head of the Charles Regatta was held in Boston on Oct. 20 and 21. The Head of the Charles began in 1965 and has been held annually in the fall since then. Over 11,000 athletes compete in the event and tens of thousands of spectators line the shore of the Charles River to watch. Part of Memorial Drive is closed off for the duration of the event in anticipation of the large crowds and busy streets. Since the event has become more and more popular over the years, the Head of the Charles Regatta choses teams to compete based off of applications that are due far in advance.
The Head of the Charles has a board of directors and a race committee, but it relies heavily on its many volunteers to run a successful event. Over 1,800 volunteers are spread out between 30 different committees to help facilitate the event. A few of the different committees are awards, river control, hospitality, and first aid.
The race course consists of a three-mile upstream stretch through Boston. There are a multitude of different race categories that take place throughout the two race days. The categories are divided into men’s and women’s, age group categories and singles, doubles, fours and eights. The racing schedule is extremely tight to be sure that everyone has the opportunity to race. Awards are given out to top finishers within each category.
Wellesley sent two boats to compete in the Women’s Collegiate Eight event on Sunday afternoon. Collegiate teams from New England and the rest of the east coast travelled to Boston to compete in the event. Twenty-eight boats raced within the category, and Wellesley placed 10th and 17th. Wellesley’s first team raced a top-ten time of 19:26.915 during the event. Bates College placed first in the event. Wellesley’s 10th and 17th place finishes were an improvement from the 2017 Head of the Charles Regatta. In 2017, the Blue placed 14th and 20th in the same event.
Wellesley College will compete in the Seven Sisters Championship Regatta back at the Charles River next Sunday, Oct. 28. This race will conclude their fall season, but they will return in the spring.