Head of the Charles: Sunday Morning Update

Noon Update: No delays so far, but crews have been restricted to launching no earlier than 45 minutes prior to racing. The winds continue to increase in speed and the warm-up area and the Charles Basin has been closed to crews. Men’s 4+ launched at 12:30pm.

The Illinois Crews are gearing up for the day’s rowing. Today, upwards of 25,000 spectators will line the Boston and Cambridge banks of the Charles River to watch the day of racing. The morning will focus predominantly on juniors rowing before giving way to the collegiate and elite events in the afternoon.

Men’s Collegiate 4+

  • Starts at 1:15pm
  • The Illini will be starting in the #13 spot.

Women’s Collegiate 8+

  • Starts at 3:31pm
  • The Illini will be starting in the #24 spot.

A live stream of the race can be found at http://livestream.com/row

As opposed to the deluge of rain the racers saw yesterday, today will be sunny; however, strong winds will peak in the afternoon when the Illinois Crews will be on the water. The winds will make an already difficult course more challenging for the coxswains piloting their shells. In addition to navigating the multiple turns and bridges of the Charles River, the coxswains will also need to dodge crews as they pass one another along the course. The Head Race format (typical of Fall racing) means crews start single file with only 15-20 seconds of separation between crews at the start. As the race evolves, coxswains must carefully pass while trying to take the shortest (and therefore fastest) course down the river. This is not trivial as the constant turns of the course mean that attempting to pass on the inside of the turn can quickly evolve to having to row more distance on the outside of the next turn if passing takes too long.

In preparation for this race, the Illinois coxswains have been studying the course. From watching videos, to studying satellite maps of the course, to practicing and touring the course in the days leading up the race, the coxswains have prepared themselves as well as possible. It will now be up to their abilities, and those of their rowers, to navigate the turns, crews, and bridges of the Charles River.