At the 53rd Head of the Charles Regatta over the weekend of 21-22 October 2017 the Club was represented by Veteran sculler Anne Cann and by a Masters eight.
Anne and her partner Cathy Coffman from the local rowing club (Rivanna RC) took first place in the Women’s Grand Master Double Sculls event, setting the course record for the event and passing seven boats in doing so. Neither Anne (stroke) nor Cathy (bow) had ever won at the Charles, despite having tried many times.
Early this year both abandoned former partners and decided to train together with this goal in mind. In August with two months to go, they began to rise early and launch for their workouts on the water at 0545 each morning. After an exhausting outing, both went to their jobs and looked forward to the next day. This punishing schedule paid off, and now the key was to row a clean race with no delays at the bridges or rounding turns. The ladies were certain that they were strong enough and that their blade work was perfect enough to win.
Most of the race was uneventful until the long turn leading to the Eliot Bridge, the last one of seven. The inside buoy line was so crowded that the ladies took a slightly more outside line to avoid the traffic and maintain speed. Through the bridge they were ahead by 30 seconds and decided to cut inside the buoy line to avoid traffic again. This meant a 5-second penalty for missing a buoy, but with a comfortable lead it was a conscious tradeoff. After so many tries, it was a sweet victory. Here is a photo of Anne (right) and Cathy (left) on the awards platform after having been awarded their gold medals.
London’s Masters 50 eight started 4th in their category. The crew were hosted for the fifth year running by our friends at Riverside Boat Club whose boathouse is close to the start of the three and a half mile course. Cox Theo Robinson, whose Head of the Charles debut this was, had two days to prepare and plot her route down the windy course ably guided by Riverside’s Ernest Cook and Canadian former Olympian Dan Dickison.
Taking the right line on the Charles is as crucial to a quick time as the Tideway Championship course and Theo nailed it with the right approach to each bend and with judicious use of the rudder. LRC hoped to improve on last year’s 4th place finish and started behind Palm Beach Florida and ahead of locals Riverside. Going off at a punchy 38 striding to 35, the crew maintained good speed to half way but couldn’t get on terms with winners Marin from San Francisco and UK rivals Molesey who took second place. Potomac Boat Club starting 7th and Cambridge Boat Club (Mass) starting 28th finished 3rd and 4th, 18 and 17 seconds ahead of LRC with Palm Beach Florida 9 seconds up placing LRC 6th out of 41 in Masters 50 eights.
Thanks go to generous hosts Riverside Boat Club for the loan of boat and blades and use of their facilities and to Bostonian and LRC member Kathleen Curran and her parents for support and warm hospitality.