Cambridge Boat Club’s Head of the Charles

Filed in Travel & Tourism by on October 13, 2009 4 Comments
©DirectoryofCambridge.com

©DirectoryofCambridge.com

This past weekend I decided to scope out the Charles River in anticipation of the Head of the Charles Regatta which is happening this weekend October 17th and 18th. As I thought there was plenty of activity at both the Cambridge Boat Club and along the banks of the Charles River. Tents were already set up near the finish line. Moving trucks were parked both at the lots and at the Cambridge Boat Club itself.

The Charles River and the parks along its banks are pretty busy even when there isn’t an event. The Head of the Charles brings in close to 300,000 to watch this regatta which is the largest of its kind around the world. More than 8500 rowers are set to participate in the race this year.

This will be the 45th regatta which was started back in 1965 by members of the Cambridge Boat Club. Originally just a one day event it was expanded to 2 days in 1991 due to overwhelming demand. The Cambridge Boat Club is also experiencing a special milestone this year celebrating it 100 year anniversary. In 1965 they could not have foreseen how popular this race would be not just locally but internationally.

Both Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts  local economies reap huge tourism benefits from this major sporting event. Hotels and restaurants are usually booked solid. If you are hoping to stay in the area there may still be time to book some rooms at Cambridge Hotels but you will be paying top dollar now. The blocks of rooms that the Head of the Charles arranged have long since been booked.

If you are planning to watch the races getting in early is a must. Similar to big events like the July 4th Charles activities and the Boston Marathon you need to claim your viewing spot early. The finish line past the Eliot Bridge is probably the most popular. Parking will be limited so if you can the MBTA is a great option.  Dress warmly the temps are supposed to be in the mid 40s..  Maps, schedules and more can be found on the Head of the Charles website.

I found a series of videos on Youtube that allow you to really experience the race vicariously.  The sound is a little crackly but I was stressed just watching them.  You can hear the coxwain directions as they actually race the race.  Rowing the Charles River is definitely a navigation challenge.  I can’t wait to watch this year!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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