After days of predictions about which international rowing crew would win the men's Champ eight - would it be defending Cambridge, with Kip McDaniel at stroke - or Leander, with three of the four defending GB 4- rowing - or the World silver medalist Italian eight - or a Dutch eight - you get the picture - it was the Princeton men's varsity eight that took the gold by five seconds over Cambridge. The Princeton men seem to have had a blistering last half mile; although they led to Weld, they got to the Cambridge Boat Club in fifth, then blasted back out to the lead. (This may have been a timing anomaly, however.) The Princeton boat did have one confirmed "international" themselves - Steve Coppola at seven, who won gold as a member of the US men's eight this summer. The victory was won on the second tightest margin of the day, 1.4 seconds. The last time a US collegiate eight won the Champ 8 was 1983, when it was won by the Naval Academy.
The USRowing women's eight reestablished their post atop the Champ 8 again this year ahead of second-place Princeton. Princeton, starting at the head of the field by virtue of their second place finish last year (the defending Dutch eight did not attend this year), made lemonade from lemons after their steering cable broke immediately after the Weeks Bridge turn. As told to row2k by a disinterested third party standing on the Weeks Bridge, apparently the boat veered spectacularly to one shore after the breakage, and the coxswain reached under the boat to check for a lost or broken fin. Next, the crew stopped for some time as the coxswain worked out that the steering cable had broken; she then found the frayed ends of the leftover cable, grabbed both ends, and got back underway, just barely negotiating the Anderson bridge turn. In the meantime, the 3rd-starting USRowing crew had caught up and overlapped with the Princeton crew. However, by the time both crews had reached the end of the Eliot turn, Princeton had pushed back out to about 2/3 length of open water, and finished with about the same. The USRowing boat had a great row going, as the splits show, and won by sixteen seconds; it might have been a close one tho!
Conditions: a bit of official anxiety about the rain may have inspired the authorities to open the flood gates a bit, and there was a very visible current on the course today. The flow was probably worth 30-40 seconds or so for the faster boats, and could have been in the one minute-plus range in slower events. The odd thing was that the river was lower than I have ever seen it. The regatta went off pretty well, all told, without question thanks to the heaps of volunteers in the mix. I was impressed all weekend by their contributions.
The Riverside BC light men made good on their locker room boast reported on row2k last week - "We will win" - with a victory over defending champs the NYAC.
Uni of the day: I missed the squad - I should have them in photos when they post - but the yellow and black uniforms with dark shades really completed the always-popular bumblebee look.
Several oars took up the Director's Challenge in the quad today, some even going for two three-milers on the day; those guys must really love rowing!
A Rutgers crew had magic-markered "GO STATE" on the back of their shirts from stern to bow; perhaps inspired by the Etats Unis club, one observer read it to be "Etats Og." "Etats Og - where is that?"
Dunno-about-that tactic of the year: heaps of crews negotiated the Eliot turn by having their port side take air strokes, some of them on the square. It didn't always go so well; as a port, zero pressure with the blades in the water has to be one of the best parts of this race (tho i have done it as a starboard as well, and I thought that was one of the best parts of this race as well).
Youth Eights make some noise: two crews - bow 22 and bow 55, both took tens through Eliot Bridge with loud grunting and bellowing at the finish; quite a crowd pleaser.
Family Feud: The Brown Alumni boat and the Brown varsity started one ahead of the other in the men's Champ 8; the alums won it be 3.5 seconds. This is more or less the same crew that raced not so badly at Henley this year; a couple of those guys used to be pretty good, I guess.
I Feel Good: best coxswain's call in Champ Four: "Okay, on this next move, take it to the bridge!"
First Time for Everything: bow 30 in the men's Youth eight had a very unusual bucketing: the bow pair, and the stern pair. That put 3, 5, 7 and stroke on starboard, and bow, 2, 4 and 6 on port. Never seen that one before.
In the grand master's single (officially called the triple geezer single in row2k parlance), one sculler rowed the course with wooden tulip blades. One Eliot Bridge wag had this to say: "Where did he get those, off the wall in a bar?"
Judy Geer, holy smokes; another victory, by 45 seconds.
Comments by scullers and coxes going past Belmont Hill boathouse: "Hey guys!" - Tom Darling. "I said I would never do this again" - Charlie Clapp. "I'm dying!" Gia DeAngelis in response to cheering from friends. (Gotta love that if you're sitting stroke in the double; no worries tho, they won.) "90 to go!" - unidentified coxswain.
And at Anderson: "You nearly caused a collision - now get the hell out of the way!" - Queens College collegiate 8 coxswain.
The winner of the Directors Quad was The Usual Suspects - Raimund Haberl, Rob Slocum, John Laundon, and Will Reimann - who had some help from the handicapping system to overcome the fastest raw time that was posted by Spaulding Rehab, otherwise known as the 1996 Olympic silver medal quad rowing intact: Gailes, Mueller, Jamieson, Young.
The smallest and biggest margins of the day came in the new events; 1.07 seconds in the women's Youth 2x; 1:02 minutes in the Collegiate 2x; 1:27 minutes in the mixed quad.
Some 225 people accessed the HOCR wi-fi system to run the races, and were carted around in nine golf carts. At the water's edge, the HOCR installed 3000 kilos (from the shipping docket) of new docks for the race weekend.
According to an economic survey done pro bono for the regatta by McKensie & Co., the economic impact of the regatta: $26 million in gross spending, with $2-3 million in tax revenues for MA.
Finally, at the post-regatta get-together at CBC, attendees sang "Jolly Good Fellow" to outgoing assistant director Chris Kerber after four regattas. I don't know if they sing that song south of Saugatuck, but it was well done anyway.