Tiff Wood has won the Charles several times - how many he doesn't know, but there are at least three in the Champ single and two in the double with Gregg Stone - but after accepting an invitation to row with Team Attager in the Veteran's Eight in Charlie Hamlin's seat after Charlie passed away this year, he is holding this one close.
"This one was really special; to get to row with friends, to be back competing again, and on a day like this, is something you can't take for granted," Wood said after the race. "I was really honored to row in Charlie's seat, and you appreciate simply being able to race, and all of your friends who are still here."
The crew changed a fair amount over the past few weeks, with various ailments and issue sidelining some of the stalwart members, but here they are in action - Team Ih-Ser Attager:
Wood, who lives in Portland Oregon now, is a legend in the sport and especially in Boston, having rowed in the Harvard Rude and Smooth crews, notched numerous wins in the Charles, done a stretch as the country's best sculler, made three Olympic teams, was a primary subject of David Halberstam's The Amateurs, and of course - his nickname is The Hammer after all - was one of the founders of the CRASH-B's.
But Wood's pedigree doesn't always win him an automatic seat; back when he and Gregg Stone, with whom he rowed at Harvard, were rowing the double, Stone started rowing his single regularly alongside his daughter Gevvie.
"Gregg and I won the double a couple years in a row, and then he started spending more time in the single while training with Gevvie," Wood recalls. "He got pretty fast (Stone placed second that year), and that was the end of our double!"
Tiff rowed in Charlie's seat today, but tomorrow that seat will go unfilled, save for a Viking helmet in Charlie's seat. A service for Charlie was held at Newell Boathouse this evening, and tomorrow three of the Four Horsemen - Fred Schoch, Roger Borggard, and Chuck Pieper - will row the quad with a Viking helmet in Charlie's seat tomorrow. Hamlin had worn the helmet for a picture on his last visit back to CBC last spring, and his boatmates view their row as a Viking funeral for their missing boatmate.
Tiff and Susan Wood