Our History

First held on October 16, 1965, the Head Of The Charles® Regatta is the world’s largest two-day rowing event. Founders and Cambridge Boat Club members D’Arcy MacMahon, Howard McIntyre, and Jack Vincent, created the Regatta on the advice of Harvard University sculling instructor Ernest Arlett. Arlett proposed a “head of the river” race (similar in tradition to races held in his native England) be held on the Charles River. “Head” races are a class of regattas generally three miles in length. Boats compete against one another and the clock, which starts sequentially, approximately fifteen seconds apart. Winners of each race receive the honorary title “Head of the River” or, in this case, “Head Of The Charles.”

Over the past 52 years, the Head Of The Charles Regatta has grown tremendously. Today, more than 11,000 athletes from around the world compete in 55 different race events. In 1997, the Regatta grew to a two-day event and now attracts thousands of spectators during race weekend in October. Support from numerous boat clubs, colleges and universities, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), as well as 1,700 hardworking volunteers help make the HOCR a continued success year after year.

Head Of The Charles is a registered trademark of the Cambridge Boat Club, Gerry’s Landing Road, Cambridge, MA. For more information, call Head Of The Charles at (617) 868-6200, email regatta@hocr.org

 

A History of the Buoyed Course & Installation Process by Michael Todd

Volunteer for HOCR

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Make this year’s Head Of The Charles® a success. There are many opportunities to get involved over race weekend and before.