Steering the Head of the Charles
Mark Wilson and Jim Dietz share insider tips for how to line up your boat at EVERY turn, EVERY bridge, EVERY dock including the warm up, Chute and start line for the Head of the Charles Regatta Steering Guide – for scullers (1x, 2x).
Mark and Jim run All American Rowing Camp. You can buy their in person course on the Charles River http://www.allamericanrowingcamp.com/
01:30 If you are coming to race for the first time and don’t know the course, this will help you.
03:50 Be 100% on the day. You need this… to all line up when you race. Only the weather is variable!
05:30 The warm up line – Mark and Jim recommend you boat from the Falls launch area and row the whole 4,700 meters course down to the start including the Basin. This is the way to steer the right line through the warm up.
Time yourself through the warm up from Falls to the start the day before.
It is narrow at Elliot Bridge – stay close to the bank. Listen to marshals.
This area is the most busy in the whole warm up.
08:50 the Buoys are not permanently on the bottom of the river. They can move. So check them out during your warm up.
10:00 Know the race number and event ahead of yours.
11:30 Powerhouse stretch is a good place for a warm up burst of 10 or 20 strokes.
13:40 If the Basin is blowing – time your arrival to minimise time waiting.
Line up with even or odd number crews.
16:50 The Chute and Start line. Start your speed coach earlier than teh line
18:30 Video of the Start under the Boston University Bridge
20:00 Mile 1 – The green buoys by Magazine Beach – how to steer this
21:30 Powerhouse stretch – look out for a wind change as you pass Riverside. And come into the stretch decide early if you are going for the Centre or Cambridge arch based on traffic from other boats.
22:30 Mile 2 – The most tricky part is going into Weeks footbridge. If you took the Cambridge arch, the turn is more gentle here.
Look to port coming into Weeks the buoy line is gradual. Look every 3rd stroke.
Stay as close as you can.
Make a sharp turn by sowing down into the bridge.
It’s a narrow bridge you can turn under the bridge.
Do a pressure 20 coming out of weeks – don’t be surprised.
30:00 Anderson Bridge is the start of your fatigue. The wind may change here. Be aware.
Weeks to Anderson – going in look on your left for the bridge abutment.
The turn at Anderson is as steep as Weeks. Look for the White Condominium after Anderson heading towards Cambridge.
32:30 The blue line is the turn line – it’s gradual.
Look to your right – oars on the buoys – as close as you can.
Look every 3rd stroke.
33:30 There is passing going on here….
If you are a slower crew, you know to give way.
Let them pass… Then go back to your shorter line.
35:00 Do your research on the scullers around you. If they are local they will know the course. Follow their puddles.
36:00 The last bridge is Elliot Street.
the Cambridge into Elliot turn is quite sharp.
Know how close you can cut in.
Look at your right and beware the BBN Dock.
There are 3 buoys after…. then row as close to the trees as you can without hitting them.
39:00 The last 60 strokes.
Go straight after the trees.
The Boardwalk on the Boston shore – that’s the last 20 strokes.
After the finish line keep paddling – get out of the way for following crews.
It’s a privilege to race here – do your home work.
42:00 Practice as often as you can at race speed.
Boats handle differently at race speeds.
Faster Masters Rowing sells training programs for head racing – we have a specific HOCR plan – ask us about buying this plan.