To kick things off, the pre-regatta press conference went off well and in typical fashion - say thanks and welcome, great to be here, make a joke, make an observation, conclude - but one observer was really impressed with the Cambridge mayor. In particular, the invitation to "pull hard, then have a pint at one of the local establishments" somehow seemed just right for the day, the audience, and the town. Hear, hear.
The jet-set-go 350m sprint race was a hair late going off after the Harvard crew jumped the start - bo-ring. (Or should that be boorish?) Leander has the horsepower and the guns, including three oars from the world champs GB 4-, and ran away with the race in the early going. Order of finish: Leander, Northeastern, Cambridge, Harvard, all within about a length.
Speaking of kudos and cheers, how is this for a culture clash: after the 350m Virgin Atlantic sprint, the winning Leander crew did the standard "hip hip" three cheers, to which came the rejoinder "F$%% you." Steady now...
The weather was fantastic today; light winds and dramatic light, and just enough of it to get a warm glow on the face by day's end. The organizers expect some less friendly weather before the weekend is out, particularly Saturday overnight into Sunday morning.
Once an umpire... While preparing for a break from officiating the sprint race today to take a practice row over the course, one official saw someone pick up an 8x5 booklet and burst out "Is that the rule book??" It has to be the blue shirts.
Zen sighting of the day: a high school crew sitting in a row in their crew lineup, coxswain facing forward, all eyes closed. The coxswain ran the crew through the entire race - 15 minutes plus of it - on the shore before the launch for practice.
Coxswain comment of the day: "C'mon guys, eyes in the boat! There are 800 crews on the water. You stare forward and I stare at the river."
That's a trophy - the three-foot tall sprint trophy topped by an airplace was entertaining enough, but the best touch was putting the airplanes on top of the buoys; that is marketing at its best.
Who says old dogs can't learn new tricks? The masters crew reunion maneuver of the afternoon was to show friends pictures of the kids... on cellphone screensavers.
They say there are two kinds of rowers - former lightweights and superheavyweights. One crew appeared to have jumped right from the former to the latter. When they rowed past Eliot Bridge, the name on their shell was submerging on each stroke. Yeah, so what? Well, the name was painted on at the five seat.
Finally, as you head into your evening, feel free to cue up "Soul Bossa Nova:" the HOCR regatta staff was seen using wristband phones. Alfred, get the Batcar ready! Yeah, sure, that golf cart will do.
Well, enough run-up - racing starts in the morning. Tremendous luck to everyone racing this weekend!