Crews, Chaos Converge for Head of the Charles
Lightweights Shine, Royden Surprises, In Head of Charles
Last night at 7 p.m. the Charles River was still. Its banks bore the mark of the hundreds of picnicing spectators, its bridges had managed tc withstand the onslaught of the some 677 shells and skulls that had weaved their way up the river, and its waters, in general, seemed to breath a huge sigh of relief. The rowing extravaganza of the fall season, The Head of the Charles Regatta, had come and gone and the Ol' Man was still rolling along.
While the Head is not much more than a chaotic cruise of the Charles for the near 3000 oarsfolk participating, there are those who love to look at it as a telltale prefiguring of the Spring rowing scene.
Following that line of thought, light-weight oarsmen from East to West, and North to South might just as well place their oars into winter storage, since Harvard's lights swept away with the laurels in the lightweight eights event and regrouped to place second in the fours division behind a mixed entry stroked by Harvard senior light Lief Soderberg.
The eight set up with Ned Reynolds at stroke, Bob Leahey in the seven seat, Stuart Kushner at six, Bill Chapman at five and with a bow four of Gil Welch, John Kiger in the three slot, Mark Sieber at two and Greg Miller balancing things out from the bow slot.
Sieber explained the tempo of the staggered start race yesterday, "We got so far out in front that we couldn't see the next boat. We knew we could win but we didn't have anyone to race against."
In one of the major upsets of the day Radcliffe junior Wiki Royden made her mark as one of the primary contenders as a national singles oarswoman as she out-stroked perennial winner Gail Pierson.
Royden then came back to join some of her shellmates from this year's very successful national team, and stroke them to a second place showing behind the favored Vesper boat Club.
'Cliffe Sails Trimmed
The sailing was not as smooth for her Radcliffe teammates, however, as the strongest 'Cliffe four finished back in fifth almost a minute behind the winning boat, Yale.
The home waters of the Charles did not prove to be at all friendly for the Harvard heavyweights. Although a four comprised of Ollie Scholle, Dave Bixby, John Brock and Jim Donaldson with Bruce Larson at cox was able to cop third place in the elite fours class, an entry in the elite eight category found itself desperately in need of a stroke to fill the empty seat of Al Shealy.
While tweeds and topsiders, lime green weaters and vibrant pink turtlenecks cruised the banks and bridges of the Charles shouting encouraging crew wittisms to the bypassing rowers, "Row rapidly Radcliffe" the coxswains and oarsmen seemingly inspired by their driving counterparts of Mem Drive put on a bumperboat steering display which would make the most seafaring gent swear off the waters for life.
One enterprising cox from the Niagara District Rowing Club decided her boot could make much better time if it simply hooked onto the MIT boat just a head of them, a power five, and bow and stern suddenly became one and the same, to the indignation of the Kendall Sq. crowd.
But all in all it was a regatta of fun and frivolity, a touch of that old time rowing which seemed to set just fine with everyone. Chuck Clifford, UNebraska coxswain, summed it up best, "Man we drove 38 hours to get here and today was just the greatest."