Head of the Charles Notebook

Adaptive race off to fine start

By John Powers
Globe Staff / October 25, 2010

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The regatta’s newest event, a mixed adaptive race for physically disabled rowers, had a promising debut yesterday morning, with Capitol Rowing winning by more than two minutes ahead of the Philadelphia entry.

“It was an awesome group of people to row with,’’ said Aerial Gilbert, a blind rower who was competing in her seventh Head of the Charles. “I think we showed the world that we row like anybody else. It was just an amazing event.’’

While there were only three entries this time, including one from Community Rowing, there will be significantly more next year.

“We know already there’ll be 10 or 12 boats interested,’’ said executive director Fred Schoch.

Better with age
Turning 80 this year did nothing to slow down Richard Kendall, who broke his own course record by more than 40 seconds in 19:50.376 in winning his 10th men’s senior veterans singles title in 11 years and his 12th regatta total.

While Kendall also won the 75-and-over category (“He’s in a class of his own,’’ observed Schoch), he didn’t expect another medal for his efforts.

“I saved them all kinds of money so they didn’t have to hand out two pieces of tin,’’ cracked the ageless resident of Ridgeway, Ontario.

Kendall’s course mark was one of 12 on a day when minimal wind and smooth water made for near-ideal racing conditions.

Jupiter Pluvius was extremely kind,’’ observed Kendall.

Other records were established in the women’s senior veteran singles (Jan Stone, 24:45.236), veteran’s women’s singles (Catherine Kemper, 22:20.421), youth men’s doubles (Ruben Steinhardt-Martin Barakso, 16:58.864), youth women’s doubles (Elizabeth Sharis-Beth Baustian, 18:59.400), youth men’s eights (Marin RA, 14:50.246), youth women’s eights (Community Rowing, 16:49.056), men’s collegiate eights (Florida Institute of Technology, 14:43.373), women’s collegiate eights (Williams, 16:24.219), women’s lightweight fours (Undine Barge Club of Philadelphia, 17:54.864), men’s lightweight eights (Princeton, 14:09.921), and women’s lightweight eights (Wisconsin, 16:06.102).

Rings of honor
The 1980 Rowing Club, made up of the Olympians who were kept from competing in Moscow by the boycott, had good reason to celebrate its 30th reunion here. The men won the senior master fours and placed fourth in the eights, while the women’s eight took third . . . The Iraqi rowers who’ve been training here for most of the last month performed creditably in their tuneup for next month’s Asian Games in China. Haidar Nozad, who competed in the 2008 Olympics, was 15th in the championship singles and first in yesterday’s director’s challenge men’s quad, while the lightweight four, stroked by his Beijing doubles partner Hamzah Hussein Jebur, finished 10th.

Salute to youth
Other than the alumni eights, which was added last year, the fastest-growing Head event is the youth doubles with 41 men’s and 42 women’s finishers, up from 34 and 30 last year. “It’s grown exponentially,’’ said Schoch. “I think it’s, if you build it they will come.’’ Not that the growth will continue at a similar pace. “A Youth-a-Palooza? No,’’ he said. “We will cap the youth division if they begin to mushroom.’’ . . . This year’s Terrors of the Rivah, based on time deducted for violations, were the City Honors High School men’s youth four from Cheektowaga, N.Y., and the Saugatuck, Conn., women’s youth double. City Honors, which finished last out of 74, was docked four minutes for two severe collisions and two interference calls. Saugatuck, 40th of 42, was penalized two minutes, 40 seconds for a severe collision, a safety violation, and five missed buoys.

John Powers can be reached at