The varsity heavyweight crew got off to an excellent start in its first test of the season here Saturday, coming from behind in a shortened mile course to defeat a surprising B.U. eight and a disappointing Rutgers crew by a length.
The first boat victory was a part of a complete Harvard sweep in the afternoon races, rowed in conditions that featured two overturned shells--one snapped in two--30 m.p.h. winds, shortened racing distances, lengthy delays, a bored but large and faithful crowd, and exasperated coaches, referees, managers and oarsmen.
Contributing to the Crimson sweep, Coach Larry Coolidge's revamped varsity lightweight crew slapped down a previously undefeated and highly-confident MIT eight by about three lengths after repeated delays in the last race of the evening. Dartmouth finished third, far behind.
Earlier, Coolidge's JV boat had won by a wide margin in a shortened course. The varsity and Coach Fred Cabot's freshmen were actually the only crews of the afternoon to row their scheduled distances, the Henley mile and five-sixteenths. It was in the freshmen race that the MIT boat sank after two minutes, and Cabot was so busy rescuing the survivors he never saw his crew win.
The conditions caused so many postponements that at the highlight events in the late afternoon it was almost too dark to see the boats. Oarsmens' dates were left stranded on the river bank, and a pleased Harvy Love said, "This was one lousy excuse for a boat race, but we won."
It wasn't too dark, however, to see the well-stroked performance turned in by sophomore stroke Dick Masland. Setting to a smooth 31 after the start, Masland kept it there calmly even though the surprising B.U. crew was leading after a half a mile.
Still barely trailing with three-eighths of a mile to go, Masland then put on the pressure and raised the stroke to a 33-34 by the finish. The Crimson started to pull ahead, building up its comfortable lead. If the race had been the scheduled 1 and 3/4 mile, Love's crew might have had a larger lead.
The Yale heavy-weight crew also swept their MIT counterparts on the mile course, and their times could have told something for the future, had not the day been so nearly ruined by the weather. The Ells' time for an approximate mile was 5:59, compared to Harvard's 5:41, but nobody knew if they rowed the same distance, or if the conditions were the same for each race.
The varsity boating was as follows: cox, Bob Goodwin; stroke, Masland; seven, Harry Pollock; six, Doug Robertson; five, Spencer Borden; four, William Bancroft; three, John Hodges; two, Captain John Higginson; and bow Alan Hager.