1. The Numbers
More than 9,000 athletes from around the world will compete in a total of 61 different race events in 2013. Add in about 1,400 volunteers and 400,000 spectators, and the banks of the Charles are going to be busy. The crowds bring in close to $50 million each year for the local economy.
In 1995, the races were a one-day event. In 1997, the regatta was stretched into a two-day event. So what happened in 1996? The Head of the Charles was canceled due to inclement weather. In 1969 and 2004, the Head of the Charles ran on a shortened course due to weather conditions, but 1996 is the only time in the regatta’s history that it has been cancelled.
3. Winklevoss Twins in Ties
The Winklevoss twins became a household name following their feud with Mark Zuckerberg over who actually came up with the idea for Facebook. The two also happen to be world class rowers at Harvard who went on to compete in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. A long-standing custom at the Head of the Charles is to suit up in an off-beat uniform or t-shirt. One year, the twins suited up in shirts and ties, a decision they told the Harvard Crimson that they later regretted because it was such a hot day.
First held on October 16, 1965, the Head Of The Charles Regatta was the idea of Harvard University sculling instructor Ernest Arlett. Arnett told Cambridge Boat Club members D’Arcy MacMahon, Howard McIntyre, and Jack Vincent that they should consider a “head of the river” race that was similar in tradition to races held in his native England. They organized the race, and the rest is history.
5. Oldest Athlete
In 2012, Mary Elizabeth Stone of Berkeley Paddle and Rowing Club was the year’s oldest competitor at age 85. At 86 years old, she will be rowing again in 2013. That race, the Senior-Veteran Women’s Single race will be held Saturday morning.