On a weekend where no fewer than five events from Tacoma to the Tideway were cancelled, even the hard-to-roil Lake Carnegie saw the better part of valor prevail on Sunday. The Princeton Chase's "eights first, fours second" format was almost perfectly suited to "enough is enough" or "less is more" scenarios - while the eights races went off on schedule, the fours race was cancelled. Conditions on the water probably would have permitted the race to be run, but as the fours event is a second time down the course for almost all of the athletes, and the first run was anything but a breeze (har har), very few people missed the fours event when it was gone.
"Thanks for canceling the fours event, very good call," one head coach said to regatta organizers after the race. "One race was tough enough!"
The Small Boats race also fell to the weather, but not as hard – race organizers cancelled it Saturday afternoon. As the Small Boats event is sometimes an opportunity for, say, a fourth-boat pair or a novice sculler to have a go, the early decision was a good one, and with 83 entries in the event, a potential debacle was neatly avoided.
The race could have been rechristened the Headwind of the Carnegie; while the sunny and blustery day offered the region's best for fall spectacle, and the first half of the course was relatively protected from the wind, when the crews came around the turn at the halfway point they were greeted with a crushing and direct headwind such that some crews struggled even to make the turn as the wind grabbed bow sections, making tiller adjustments of little consequence. The occasional hazard in the water didn't help, as more than a couple crews lost fins during the race. By the time of racing, the lake wasn't too bad - whereas on Saturday, row2k was calling a quick makeup race the frosh coaches put on after the HOSR was cancelled the Head-current of the Lake Carnegie – the course was pretty clean and safe after the Princeton coaches had spent most of Saturday and Sunday morning clearing the lake. Nonetheless, the high winds continued to push debris off the shore and down the course. The swain of the Princeton women's C boat left her fin embedded in a floating door 300 meters into the race (photo to come) and never looked back, piloting her crew to a finish in the middle of the pack, remarkable given the circumstances.
In the actual racing, meanwhile, it was not the best day for folks with #1 bowmarkers. In all three Varsity eight races, the defending champ had to relinquish their title this year; in the light men's eight, Cornell's "B" boat rowed from 19th position into the post position for next year; in the heavy men's eight, Yale started directly behind defending champs Princeton and chewed up the margin to win by 12 seconds; and in the women's eight, Virginia did the same to defending champs Princeton to win the women's eight. In the light women's eight, which races as part of the Open women's eight event, Princeton went 1-2 against fellow lightweight crews from Radcliffe, Georgetown, and MIT.
The show and place positions and beyond provided some intrigue across the board as well; in the light men's eight, Navy was less than two-tenths of a second behind Cornell for the win; at the same time, Cornell put two crews in the top three finishers, holy smokes. In the heavy men's eight, Syracuse put themselves right in the hunt for the second straight year on the Carnegie, finishing a blink behind Princeton, while Trinity looks to be the early favorite again among ECAC champs schools with a solid fifth place finish. And in the women's eight, Yale's varsity, which raced at the Head of the Lake last year so started from back in the pack on the Carnegie, dodged the traffic to nip Princeton by a half-second. Virginia's C boat placed fourth, putting two Virginia crews in the top four.