Meghan Koehler, Intern at MA Sports Marketing Office and Student at Boston College
The 53rd annual Head of the Charles Regatta on the weekend of October 20-21 was nothing short of inspirational. Year after year athletes congregate in Cambridge to put their hard work to test, and year after year history is made. This year two 13-year-olds became the youngest rowers to compete in the regatta and Delaney Evans and Caroline Sharis finished a full minute ahead of the leading Women’s Youth Double time, joining countless other boats in breaking records throughout the weekend.
The event brought an even greater energy, spark and vitality that infiltrated through the Greater Boston community. Over 700 rowing club and universities brought more than 10,551 athletes to the area to compete in this rewarding event.
The sparkling waters and beautiful banks of the Charles River provide the perfect environment for the pure athleticism, grit and competition of the regatta. Its 3-mile course with a 180 degree turn in front of Cambridge Boat Club makes Head of the Charles one of the most challenging, yet rewarding regattas of the year.
The weather at this year’s Regatta was picture perfect. The skies opened up, allowing the sun to illuminate the vibrant environment that lined the Charles River. Sponsor tents, food trucks, and nearby Harvard Square contributed to the festive atmosphere.
“This is a terrific event for Harvard Square that has grown tremendously over the past 50 years,” says Denise Jillson, executive director if Harvard Square Business Association. “The city, the police department and the University work together to create a safe and really fabulous event.” More than 70 percent of the businesses in Harvard Square operate locally making the race a boom to small businesses.
2017 participant and leader of Boston College’s collegiate-8 boat, Claire Orzel said in a statement, the event “creates an unparalleled awareness for and interest in the sport and attracts tens of thousands of spectators. That support creates such an electrifying energy that rowers can feel on the water and definitely encourages fast and aggressive racing.”
More than 25 countries are represented at the Regatta, giving the race an international context similar to Massachusetts’ other iconic sporting events, such as the Boston Marathon. According to event organizers, the regatta attracts 400,000 spectators that bring in approximately $55 million per year to local restaurants, hotels and businesses in the Greater Boston community.
“It is a privilege for rowers to race in it each year either by means of qualifying or lottery,’” says Orzel. “Seeing the international rowing community come together for an entire weekend on our local Charles River is an incredible experience.”
Hotel occupancy rates alone prove that the annual number of visitors for HOCR weekend continue to rise. This year, Greater Boston hotels booked 93.7 percent of their rooms on Friday, October 20, and 98.4 percent on Saturday, October 21; 3.6 percent and 2.2 percent more than the average occupancy rates on any other regular weekend in October and higher than 2016 numbers.
Head of the Charles Regatta is one of many premiere sporting events taking place in Massachusetts throughout the year. From professional sports to collegiate and amateur competitions, Massachusetts has a stellar sporting tradition that consistently attracts events and tournaments to the area.
2018 Head of the Charles regatta is scheduled to take place from October 20-October 21, 2018. We hope to see you there.