News

The Path to Public Service at SEAS

News

Should Supreme Court Justices Have Term Limits? That ‘Would Be Fine,’ Breyer Says at Harvard IOP Forum

News

Harvard Right to Life Hosts Anti-Abortion Event With Students For Life President

News

Harvard Researchers Debunk Popular Sleep Myths in New Study

News

Journalists Discuss Trump’s Effect on the GOP at Harvard IOP Forum

Head of Charles Cancelled Due To Heavy Rain

First Time in 32 Years Regatta Not Held

By Elizabeth S. Zuckerman

There were no cheering spectators lining the Charles River yesterday as powerful winds and heavy rain forced the Head of the Charles Regatta Committee to call off the event for the first time in 32 years.

The cancellation, officially announced at 11 a.m. by committee head C. Ferdinand Schoch '49, disappointed rowers and spectators alike, sending some frustrated athletes from as far away as Tokyo home empty-handed.

"The winds were probably manageable for the better crews," said Charles S. Butt III, the coach of Harvard's men's lightweight varsity crew. "But in the regatta, the level of competence goes from Olympic champ to novice. The decision was clearly made with the lowest common denominator in mind."

Head Coach of Radcliffe Crew Elizabeth H. O'Leary said cancellation was the right decision. Because as many as 50 boats compete in each event, there was a serious risk of collisions given the conditions. Hypothermia was also a concern, she said.

O'Leary said that although she was disappointed, this comes with the territory.

"It's the nature of the sport," she said.

Demetra C. Koutsoukos '97 of the Radcliffe team echoed her coach.

"It would have been unsafe to race in these conditions," she said. "The Head is already a chaotic race. [Coxswains] take risks that are fun but not in these conditions."

Butt also raised the issue of sponsorship.

"Does BankBoston want to be responsible if something happens?" he said.

BankBoston was the primary corporate sponsor of the event.

Some rowers were more critical of the decision.

"I was like, c'mon, we've rowed in worse than this," said Jonathan P. Feeney '97, a member of the heavy-weight men's team. "We would have had a good time regardless of the weather."

Feeney's teammate Connor P. Spreng '98 said he believes the race would have been "rowable but not watchable," and that probably figured into the decision.

Rowers who traveled great distances to participate in the event had good reason to be disappointed.

"It's just like it didn't happen. It's weird. We prepared for so long," said Martyntje Quik, coxswain of the women's eight-person squad from the Nereus rowing club in Amsterdam.

Quik's crew includes Marleen vander Velde, who was part of an eight-person team placed sixth in the 1996 Olympics.

This was the first year the Nereus women's crew could accompany the men's team to the event.

The Amsterdam team hoped for a night of party-hopping before their flight home today. They said they were not going to let the cancellation. of the regatta stop them from enjoying the weekend anyway.

"We're going to screw the organization," said Christine Vink.

Katszushiko Nakamizo, a rower with NTT Tokyo who was going to participate in the event, was among a number of visitors who, having been washed away from the river, explored Harvard Square.

Collecting Harvard regalia in the Coop, Nakamizo said he hopes to return next year.

Other visitors congregated in local bars.

Brian M. Winkie of Portland, Maine, who traveled to Cambridge to watch the event, said he was "pretty disappointed."

But gesturing to his friends around the table at Shay's Bar, with beer in hand, he said, "It's not a total loss.

"We're going to screw the organization," said Christine Vink.

Katszushiko Nakamizo, a rower with NTT Tokyo who was going to participate in the event, was among a number of visitors who, having been washed away from the river, explored Harvard Square.

Collecting Harvard regalia in the Coop, Nakamizo said he hopes to return next year.

Other visitors congregated in local bars.

Brian M. Winkie of Portland, Maine, who traveled to Cambridge to watch the event, said he was "pretty disappointed."

But gesturing to his friends around the table at Shay's Bar, with beer in hand, he said, "It's not a total loss.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags