Harvard Takes Everything At The 147th Regatta

Clean sweep for Harvard again

While Yale’s coach Steve Gladstone is in his second season as rowing Head Coach at Yale, Head Coach for Harvard’s rowers, Harry Parker, is in his 50th season, an unbeatable record. Harvard’s varsity crew has had a great season although they lost to Brown by 0.3 sec. at the Sprints (see RowingRelated May 17). This showed that Crimsons were not unbeatable, but did the Bulldogs have what it would take to overpower them today at the 147th Yale-Harvard Regatta that was held on the Thames River in New London? The answer is simply: no!

All three Yalies’ boats were not really at any time during the Freshman’s Race, the Second Varsity Race (also called the Junior Varsity Race), and the Varsity Race close to giving Harvard’s crews a match. Not that the Bulldogs’ boats did not put up a fight, they did, but in vain. And, the Freshman race proved to be a thriller.

Yale Varsity crew was several lengths behind over the line.

Today’s races were rowed downstream, which means that the finish line was just under the Gold Star Bridge, which allows the spectators to stand on the shore very close to the finish line (although to find this spectator spot you have to have high skills in navigation to maneuver your car down this industrial area which resembles mostly a dump). With almost 1/2 mile to go from under the bridge we on-lookers suddenly saw how both Freshman crews were stopped by the umpires flag. What is going on we all wondered? Was this a repeat of the now famous Oxford-Cambridge Race on 7 April? Was there a terrorist in the water?

No, nothing that bad, but a power-boat had, though the river was closed for boating while the races were on, managed to speed-up and created waves that totally drenched the Bulldogs’ boat and water-logged it totally (there were also some jet-skiers around making a mess of the water…). The race was stopped, so that Yale’s oarsmen could row in to the Coast Guard’s dock to empty out their boat from water. The race was then restarted with a 1/2 mile to go and with Harvard 1 1/2 boat lengths ahead of Yale as the situation was when the race was stopped. Crimsons crossed the finish line slightly more than 1 1/2 ahead of Yale.

With the victory for Harvard’s Varsity eight, Harry Parker now has 43 won and 7 lost races against Yale. Harvard Varsity leads with a total of 93 victories, Yale 54.

Few spectators had gathered to watch the races this year.

I am afraid this regatta is never a well attended rowing event, and this year it seemed less people were around than last time the races were rowed downstream (in 2009). Although, the regatta is a ‘private’ match between six boats, it would be fun to see more people watching the races, especially as rowing and sculling are on the rise along the Connecticut shoreline and other waterways. Of course, both Harvard and Yale have to try to promote the regatta better on their websites, so ‘outsiders’ who are not on the e-mail lists or have no grapevine to listen to know where and when this old regatta is taking place.

Winning times for Harvard’s crews:
Freshman Race (2 miles): 10:25.6 (combined time)
Second Varsity (3 miles): 14:55.5
Varsity (4 miles): 19:41.3

Waiting for the next race.

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