TO THE EDITORS OF THE CRIMSON:-
IT is with pleasure that I comply with your invitation to say something about the newly projected intercollegiate regatta under the auspices of the National Association of Amateur Oarsmen; for my desire that this deserving experiment should be successfully carried through at Newark or Saratoga is second only to my desire that the annual University boat-race between the two old Colleges should be permanently established at New London, under a management that shall not be handicapped by the simultaneous presence upon the river of any other crews whatever. As it seems to me, on the one hand, that Harvard's support of the new regatta will do far more than the support of any other single college in making it a success, and, on the other hand, that its successful establishment will remove the last pretext which any one may offer for interfering with the arrangements at New London, I am glad to improve the offered opportunity for presenting its advantages to the consideration of the Cambridge oarsmen.
It is well known that the Passaic, Triton, and Eureka boat-clubs of Newark have intrusted to the N. A. A. O. three massive silver cups, to be annually offered as challenge prizes, for the exclusive competition of undergraduate oarsmen, rowing respectively in eights, fours, and singles. The races are to be straightaway, and the definition of "undergraduate" is to be the same as that which was maintained by the R. A. A. C. during the last four years of its history. The races are to be rowed either at Newark or Saratoga, during the first week of July, and on the day preceding the regular annual regatta of the association, which regatta the college crews are also invited to enter, in case they wish to test their prowess against that of non-collegiate amateurs. It is probable, also, that a fourth prize will be offered, in the college regatta, for six-oared boats rowed by class crews, for it is believed that such a race would have many advantages over one confined exclusively to Freshmen. The spring regattas which are always held at Yale and Columbia, generally at Cornell and Wesleyan, and often at Bowdoin, Brown, Princeton, Williams, and other colleges, consist largely of six-oared races between class crews; and the victors of these several occasions (perhaps Juniors at Yale, Sophomores at Cornell, and Freshmen at Wesleyan) might not improbably be tempted to try conclusions with one another for the class prize of the N. A. A. O. Such a race between Yale, '79, and Wesleyan, '78, the respective winners in the New Haven and Middletown regattas of October 13, 1877, came very near being rowed a few days thereafter; and, in general, it seems far easier to hold together an existing class six, already flushed with victory, than to organize de now a college eight or even four. Particular classes in different colleges may sometimes happen to be approximately equal in size, even when there is great disparity in that respect between the colleges themselves. Furthermore, an oarsman may fairly be presumed to have less hesitancy in trying his luck when he feels that the odium of possible defeat will attach to the name of his class rather than to the name of his college.
The only colleges as yet definitely committed to the support of the new scheme are Wesleyan and Bowdoin, which have wisely decided to compete for the four-oared prize of the N. A. A. O., rather than row a special race with one another as previously arranged. Wesleyan already has fifteen man in training. At Princeton and Rutgers there is considerable talk of entering for the same prize, and another possible competitor is the University of Virginia, provided its four-oared crew should win the race at Lynchburg on the last Friday of June. Should the University Eight of Harvard announce their intention to enter, there seems no reasonable doubt that Cornell would at once begin training an eight to meet them, and perhaps Columbia would do likewise; but the entrance of any fourth college is extremely improbable. In Harvard's absence I fear that Columbia and Cornell would not be disposed to compete; and in that case the only apparent chance of keeping the eight-oared prize on the programme would be in persuading the Freshmen of Harvard and Columbia to enter for it, in case they really agree to row their proposed race in eight-oared boats. Whatever the result of the Harvard-Yale race of June 27, I am sure that Yale men generally would be pleased to have the Harvard crew continue in training a few days longer, enter the N. A. A. O. regatta against Cornell and Columbia, and bear off the laurels of the much-talked-about "championship." If it were also announced that half of the same Harvard eight would subsequently compete for the four-oared cup, the number of entries therefor would be increased. Princeton, for instance, would be almost certain to train a four, if assured that the same would have a chance of trying conclusions with Harvard.
A YALE GRADUATE OF '69.NEW YORK, February 15, 1879.