51st Head of the Charles Regatta

Head of the Charles Regatta

Spectators at the Head of the Charles. Photo courtesy of HOCR.org.

Head of the Charles Regatta

If you’re looking for the autumnal outdoor sporting event of the year, mark your calendars for next year’s Head of the Charles Regatta. This annual affair draws in over 400,000 spectators to enjoy the largest two-day rowing event in the world.

About the Head of the Charles Regatta

Over 11,000 of the best crew teams in the world gather in Boston for this exciting event every fall. This year on October 17th and 18th marked the 51st Regatta, which started back in 1965.

Head of the Charles Regatta

The winning medal. Photo by Vanessa Nason.

Within the HOCR, there are 15 members that make up the Board of Directors. This includes a nine-member committee that meets all year round to plan the logistics of the Regatta.

Even with the hard work of these board and committee members, the Regatta could not happen without the hard work and dedication of 115 leading volunteers. These volunteers make up 30 committees who meet in the fall.

In addition to all of these personnel, a staff of 1,500 volunteers, unified by their shared zeal for the Regatta, come together every year to put on the Head of the Charles.

History of the Head of the Charles Regatta

The very first Head of the Charles Regatta was held on October 16th, 1965.  A sculling instructor from Harvard University, Ernest Arlett, suggested that a “head of the river” race should take place on the Charles River. “Heads” are very common in Arlett’s native England, and are defined as three-mile long races.

Check Out This Video of the History of the Regatta!

According to the Head of the Charles Regatta website, Frederick V. Schoch, a former English instructor, was appointed in 1991 to be the Executive Director of the Regatta.

By 1997, the Regatta had grown so much that it had to be made into a two-day event. Now, there are 55 different race events that make up one of the biggest celebrations of Cambridge.

What is a Regatta Race?

Head of the Charles Regatta

A team on the Charles. Photo by Tyler Blint-Welsh.

A regatta is a rowing race, and a “head” is a rowing race that is three miles long. According to the HOCR website, boats compete against one another and the clock, which starts sequentially, approximately fifteen seconds apart. Each winner receives the grand title of Head Of The Charles.

Check out the Head of the Charles Regatta website for a countdown to next year’s regatta, information on how you can volunteer to help, a map of the race, FAQs, and more.

Head of the Charles Regatta Location

The best place to watch the Head of the Charles Regatta is the midpoint of the race, between the Anderson and Weeks bridges.

This location is easily accessible on the MBTA Red Line at the Harvard Square stop.

Racing typically runs from 8am to 5pm. In 2016, the Regatta will take place on October 22nd -23rd.

[pw_map address=”Anderson Bridge, Boston, MA, 02134″]

-Elise Grenier, Content Editor