The Head of the Charles Regatta is one of the biggest and most prestigious rowing regattas in the world. Since 1965, HOTC has welcomed the world’s best crews to the banks of the Charles River in Boston. Last weekend’s edition attracted 11,000 athletes, including a dozen rowers and two coxswains from Vashon Island Rowing Club.
The Vashon junior men’s quad rowed the three-mile Charles course in 18:29, finishing an impressive fourth out of forty boats entered in its category. With a lineup of Tor Ormseth, Rohin Petram, Oz Hichens, Bowie Hichens and coxswain Aidan Teachout, Vashon rowed a tight course, steadily climbing up the leaderboard as they passed beneath six iconic bridges and navigated several tricky turns where the race can be won or lost.
“There have been many points in my life where I have had a reason to feel a sense of pride and accomplishment,” said VIRC coach Ben Steele. “Nothing has come remotely close to watching these juniors grow over the last ten months. Seeing their improvements in determination, tenacity and attitude has made all the hard work an absolute joy.”
The Vashon masters women’s eight flew across the country hoping to replicate last year’s top-ten finish at the Charles. Little did they know that they’d have to fight off two of their most familiar nemeses from back home to accomplish it. The VIRC line up of Kit Gruver, Zabette Macomber, Erika Bartkute Lanske, Sarah Eden, Amy Bogaard, Norine Martinsen, Lea Heffernan, Su DeWalt and coxswain Lisa Huggenvik rowed the course on a windy Saturday in 18:56, finishing tenth out of forty-four boats competing in the category. Canada’s 1992 Olympic team won the race rowing for Vic City, while long-time PNW opponents Sammamish and Willamette finished just behind Vashon.
“They say the Charles is a coxswain’s race,” said Kit Gruver, who stroked the eight for Vashon. “For the entire race, Lisa (Huggenvik, cox) walked that fine line of having pressure to yield, or gambling that we would keep holding them off. She steered the most beautiful race, stealing every inside corner and distracting us from the turns so we would not let up and lose momentum.”
Next up for VIRC is next weekend’s Portland Fall Classic.
— Jeff Hoyt