Next year’s absences likely to make world of difference
With next year’s world regatta in New Zealand coming less than a week after the Head of the Charles regatta, the international presence here will be minimal, which means that the championship races likely will have an old-school feel.
“It’ll be an opportunity for the colleges to win the prize, which is great,’’ said regatta executive director Fred Schoch.
In the event’s first three decades, the Harvards, Northeasterns, Wisconsins, and Navys dominated the men’s eights, along with club crews like Philadelphia’s Vesper, Boston’s Union, and Canada’s Ridley Graduates, with university entries winning 14 times between 1966 and 1983.
Winds of 21 knots, a couple of hours of snow in the afternoon, and a northeast chop was not enough to slow the racing, but regatta directors were happy to receive a donation of 2,000 tinfoil thermal blankets - called Heatsheets - from the Boston Athletic Association, which gives them to marathon runners. By midday, just one boat of youth eights had pulled off the course with rowers complaining of mild hypothermia.
The only alterations caused by weather were shortened warm-up loops so that rowers would spend less time on the water.
“If that’s the worst of our problems today,’’ said Schoch, referring to the week of dire weather forecasts, “we’re doing pretty well.’’
The only six-figure sponsor this year was
“EMC came through in a heroic manner in the 59th hour,’’ said Schoch. “They made the difference between a really difficult financial year and success. Kudos to them for seeing the value of partnering with this great tradition.’’
Retail business was brisk in some quarters around the riverbanks. The blustery weather kept shoppers in a big top-style tent, also new this year. Rather than merchandise stands broken up in several tents, a large single tent remained full of shoppers throughout the day.
“It’s a shopping frenzy over there,’’ said Schoch. “Like New Hampshire on a holiday. We do over a million dollars in sales over the weekend. It’s a rowing apparel shopper’s paradise.’’
Globe correspondent Tony Chamberlain contributed to this report.