The BU women’s varsity boat finished 11th of 47 entries in the Championship Eights event at the 41st Head of the Charles regatta on October 23, while the Terrier men took 12th place overall in the same event.
The women, with a time of 17:31.693, were eighth among college competitors. The men finished the Championship Eights race in 15:24.096 — the 7th-fastest time collegiately.
The freshman men’s boat topped all competition in the Youth Fours event, defeating 43 boats. At 18:43.473, their time was more than five seconds ahead of second-place Princeton University. “We thought our freshmen might have a shot, and they won,” says Rodney Pratt, the men’s varsity crew coach. “It was a pretty exciting moment for our freshman coach, David Lefebvre.”
The BU alumni boat came in fifth in the Club Fours event, with a time of 17:51.622.
Wary regatta organizers kept their eyes on the sky Saturday, the flooding in parts of the state earlier this month in their minds and knowing that heavy rain and high winds were forecast that night. Last year, strong gusts shortened the course by half a mile, and in 1996 the Head of the Charles was canceled altogether because of a record downpour, raging wind, and debris — much of it tree branches — floating into the Charles River basin from upstream.
“We weren’t too worried, because the weather forecast wasn’t that bad,” says Pratt. Light rain was a factor in the number of people who came out to watch the two-day event — an estimated 201,000, just two-thirds of the average audience size. Still, race problems were few compared to last year, when course changes confused some rowers.
Princeton won the men’s Championship Eights race — the first time an American college has won the event since the U.S Naval Academy accomplished the feat in 1983. Capturing the women’s title in the Championship Eights was the U.S. Rowing team.