Thirty-seven years of Harvard rowing supremacy over the English ended today when the beautifully coordinated visiting Cambridge crew beat the Crimson by about a length and a half.
Two lengths behind, in what seemed like a second race, B.U. sked out M.I.T., the crew which last year was the only boat to beat the Crimson and was the Eastern sprint champion. Teach's coach, Jim McMillin, seemed keenly disappointed by the loss.
The largest crowd in the memory of anybody present turned out to watch the holiday regatta, guzzle beer, and listen to the Band. It had an hour extra to do so because rough water in the lower basin delayed the start of the race by an hour.
Cambridge rowed almost perfectly. Its blade work was extraordinarily clean, raising hardly was splash, and never during the mile an three-quarter course was it seriously threatened.
Times were not particularly impressive but not surprising since the boats battled a slight headwind and a current, probably caused because the sluices of the dam which forms the basin were open at that time. The official estimates were: Cambridge, 9:38; Harvard, 9:43.5; B.U., 10:01; M.I.T., 10:04.
Nor was the Crimson's rowing anything to be ashamed of. Tom Bolles' men rowed a race that was well above par for this time of the season. They beat local opposition with ease and given some more mileage this season, about six weeks more, a bet on the Englishmen against Harvard, would be anything but safe.
All four entries got off to adequate starts after a little trouble getting into position because of choppy water. As is its custom, the Crimson rowed ten strokes at 36 and then settled to a pace between 30 1/2 and 31. Cambridge kept up around 34 1/2 to 35 for a half mile and naturally took a fairly substantial lead.
So far the pattern of the race was no different from any which has pitted the Crimson against high stroking oppositions. The area between the half mile mark and the mile and a quarter turned out to be critical. Usually the Crimson holds crews in this sector and then catches up with them but yesterday Cambridge was allowed to expand its lead.
"That's where we lost it," Tom Bolles commented. The coach said the race convinced him that he had a first class crew in the making this year but that it just wasn't ready yesterday for first class, thoroughly conditioned opposition.
During the body of the race, B.U., then in last place, was rowing about 22, slightly faster than Cambridge, which was at 22 1/2, and Tech and the Crimson which were at 31.
Shortly after the boats passed under the bridge, the Crimson began to close slightly the two length lead Cambridge had built up. As the shells skimmed by the Jordan Marsh building, approximately the mile and a half mark, the Crimson had sliced the visitors' margin to a few feet less than a length, but during the last lap, when both crews went up to about 37, superb precision and better condition paid off, and Cambridge pulled ahead a little shy of a half length more.
The crowd, though disappointed,--it had not seen the Crimson defeated on the Charles in more than two years--cheered the victors lustily as the Band played "God Save the King." The winners received a cup from the Union Boat Club which had conceived the idea of the regatta as a celebration of its hundredth anniversary