Tag: Head of the Charles

  • New England Fall Regatta Season Is in Full Swing!

    Our annual round-up of key fall rowing races gets an update for 2021

    We always look forward to September and October as the glory days of fall rowing in our region. From classic local regattas full of personality and heritage to the global highlight that is the Head of the Charles, there is truly a race for everyone and pretty much one for every weekend, if you just can’t get enough.  

    As supporters of rowers local (RowingPad is a proud sponsor of Great Bay Rowing’s juniors program) and international, we follow each of these autumnal events with equal enthusiasm and even, when we can, take part in some respectable masters and alumni racing. 

    After a somber season in 2020, a calendar packed with fall rowing events is more than welcome. Here are some excellent regattas taking place across New England for the remainder of fall 2021. We hope to see you at one or more! 

    The new Poughkeepsie Regatta picks up where the historic Intercollegiate Rowing Association Regatta (1895 – 1949) left off, along the majestic Hudson River. Photo courtesy of Hudson River Rowing Association.

    Poughkeepsie Regatta Head Race, October 2, 2021

    So…New York is not technically part of New England, BUT those of us who love a great fall head race along a historic body of water can make an exception, and allow for some extra travel time when the occasion arises. The Poughkeepsie Regatta Head Race is such an event, a new offering for the fall lineup this year consisting of a 5,000-meter head-style race along the beautiful Hudson River.

    Race organizers describe the route like so: “Shadowing the route of the old Junior Varsity (3-Mile) course, crews will race downstream from the Culinary Institute of America’s main campus in Hyde Park to the Mid-Hudson Bridge in Poughkeepsie, passing under Walkway Over the Hudson State Park and rowing by several other Poughkeepsie Waterfront landmarks.” (Fans of the best-seller rowing book The Boys in the Boat will recognize the historic 1895-1949 Intercollegiate Rowing Association course featured in its pages.) Co-hosted by the Hudson River Rowing Association and the Mid-Hudson Rowing Association, both based out of Poughkeepsie, the regatta is open to juniors, collegiate, and masters rowers.

    The Textile River Regatta, October 3, 2021

    Though the October 3 Green Mountain Head Regatta in Putney, Vermont, was recently cancelled, rowers can still plan for action that weekend at the Textile River Regatta, in Lowell, Massachusetts. The website for this beloved annual event, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2019, proclaims, “Textile 2021 is ON. Same as 2019—only different!” The Covid-related changes for 2021 include a more limited offering of events, fewer spectating and launch areas, and caps on participants for some of the more popular races. But plenty of fun is still sure to be had at this vibrant head race on the Merrimack River in Lowell. Schools and clubs from throughout New England, New York, and Pennsylvania compete in numerous events across all levels—meaning the energy level is traditionally high. And as of this posting, spaces were still available for more entries, but registration closes on September 26, so make haste!

    The Head of the Housatonic is one of the largest single-day regattas in the U.S. Photo courtesy of New Haven Rowing Club.

    Head of the Housatonic, October 9, 2021

    Registration is now live on Regatta Central for this unique head race hosted by the New Haven Rowing Club at Indian Well State Park along Connecticut’s Housatonic River. Though spectators and the traditional tailgating are not permitted this year in an effort to keep all the athletes safe from Covid-19 as they compete, this is a fantastic event to participate in as a competitor or coach—with 70-plus clubs already signed up, it’s guaranteed to be some great fall racing.

    We’ve seen plenty of New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts regattas in our day, but the Head of the Housatonic Regatta, held in the southern reaches of Shelton, Connecticut, offers a different kind of race format. At this popular annual event, competitors launch from the sandy beach by walking boats into the water (there is no dock). Boats follow a very specific traffic pattern involving colored buoys and must adhere to “right of way” guidelines (or suffer the consequences, which are assessed in the form of 10-, 20-, and 60-second penalties). This race demands your full focus in more ways than one!

    New Hampshire Championships George Dirth Memorial Regatta, October 17, 2021

    What better way to warm up for one of the world’s most famous head races (HOCR) than with another intense, widely renowned fall rowing competition? Up for the challenge? Then head to the George Dirth Memorial Regatta, which takes place the weekend before Head of the Charles and has the distinction of being the largest New England rowing event north of Boston. How large? More than 2,000 athletes rowing nearly 400 sculling and sweep boats. 

    Hosted by the Amoskeag Rowing Club in Pembroke, New Hampshire, the 3-mile head race begins upriver on the Merrimack and finishes at Memorial Park. In addition to providing a wonderful day of racing in a beautiful fall setting, this event awards a New Hampshire Cup team trophy for the best overall team performance and is raced in memory of George Dirth, a former Amoskeag club member and rower at Derryfield and Oregon State University who died tragically at the young age of 27. Registration is open now.

    RowingPad founder Victor Pisinski will be on site for HOCR 2021!

    Head of the Charles, October 22-24, 2021

    Since 1965, this beloved annual head race has been delighting spectators and competitors alike with its top-level racing and most scenic environs of the Charles River. With its prestigious roster of athletes and charming Boston backdrop, who could resist? Especially as HOCR makes its return after a dark 2020 due to the pandemic.

    In fact, RowingPad’s founder, Victor Pisinski, a Northeastern rowing alum, has quite a streak of participation in the event, in which he debuted during year three. He will make his return to the river basin in the Men’s Grand Masters Eights taking place Saturday morning, accompanied by a crew of rowing compatriots eager to give it their all for 2021.

    If you see him there, send him a “hurrah!” and ask to check out a RowingPad seat pad while you’re at it!

    Want to hear more from RowingPad?

    Keep informed of all our sales and promotions as well as interesting happenings in the rowing world by following us on Facebook, Instagram or subscribe to our e-newsletter.

  • 10 Rowing Instagram Accounts We Love

    If the past seven or so months have taught us anything, it’s the power of social media platforms to keep us engaged in the things we feel passionate about. The disappointment we all initially felt about lost training partners and racing seasons has been greatly reduced precisely because it is a feeling shared among so many rowers—together this awesome community has decided to make the best of things. 

    As we all embraced the erg and home workouts and (oh so much!) hiking and, as summer and fall rolled around, singles sculling, Instagram has become a major force shaping our sport and encouraging us all to keep rowing however we can. Reminding us that something is better than nothing. That there is always room to improve. That virtual results count as much as live ones, and that we are downright lucky to witness so much beauty on our favorite waterways.  

    With that, the RowingPad crew would like to share some of the Instagram accounts we love. Some are inspirational, some informative, and some just full of the most stunning rowing photos. Follow along with us, and share your own favorites below.

    Great Bay Rowing (@greatbayrowing)

    RowingPad is based in Dover, New Hampshire, and right up the road is the boathouse where Great Bay Rowing sends its rowers of all ages out onto the Cocheco River. In different times, this is the home base for several of RowingPad’s rowing members. On Instagram, GBR celebrates each milestone for its rowers, as they begin a seasonal program and complete it, or move on to join collegiate rowing programs. The feed is playful and positive, and reminds us that rowing should be, above all, a fun endeavor. 

    Dartmouth Heavies (@dartmouth_heavies) and Dartmouth Women’s Rowing (@dartmouthrowing)

    Our New Hampshire collegiate rowing neighbors to the north share glimpses of their beautiful home course along the Connecticut River. We enjoy reading about the crew members and watching how the teams persevere despite the current challenge. Mostly we remember all the feels of those early morning training sessions.

    Gevvie Stone (@gevgevs)

    Our fellow New Englander and Boston’s hometown rowing champ has her sights on Tokyo 2021 as she seeks to add another Olympic medal to her collection. Her Instagram feed is full of beautiful images of the Charles and other racing venues around the world, as well as cheery snaps of her training, adventuring, and goofing around with fellow rowers and friends. Hiking, biking, skiing, swimming, sailing…Gevvie does it all with a big smile on her face. (And for the record, the fact that she’s a longtime supporter of RowingPad’s foam butt pads does not factor into our admiration for one of rowing’s best and brightest one bit!)

    Concept2 (@concept2inc)

    The rowing machine (and BikeErg, SkiErg, and oars) manufacturer needs no introduction. (Though, in our humble opinion, the RowErg is much improved with one of our compatible seat cushions…wink, wink.) For regular workout ideas, podcasts, virtual challenges, and the occasional interview with interesting rowing folks—and to think they were doing all this BEFORE Covid!—we turn to the Concept2 Insta feed.

    Rowing Strength (@rowing_strength)

    This account run by sports performance expert and author Blake Gourley (who also works with Science of Rowing, below) is full of helpful information about technique and physical performance. Looking to load up on excellent facts about strength training, mobility, and the geometry of your body while rowing? Dig through his older posts on Insta and the archives of his blog.

    Gentle Giant Rowing Club (@gentlegiantrowing)

    Based out of Somerville, Massachusetts, this active rowing club takes to the Mystic River from the Blessing of the Bay Boathouse. We first followed GGRC because of a personal connection (fellow Northeastern rowing alum and club supporter Larry O’Toole—see more from him in our “Praise” section), but its friendly captions, everyday updates about equipment maintenance and and beautiful images of practice time on the Mystic make us feel like we’re part of that club camaraderie, even from afar.

    Sculling Fool (@scullingfool)

    Have we mentioned how much we love our New England rowing roots? Yes? Well, here’s one last account that helps us feel sentimental about our long rowing heritage here in New Hampshire (where RowingPad was founded) and Boston (our founder, Victor Pisinski, is a Huskies rowing alum and many-time Head of the Charles participant). The Sculling Fool Instagram, run by photographer Igor Belakovskiy, is dedicated to rowing on the Charles, often accompanied by entertaining captions. We just can’t get enough of his excellent sunrise/sunset/full moon captures along that legendary river.

    Seize the Oar (@seizetheoar)

    This visionary organization was founded on the belief that: “Rowing transforms the body, spirit, and community.” Its mission is to expand opportunity so athletes of all abilities can partake in our wonderful sport. From hosting Global Para-Rowing Meetups to (in safer times) running inclusive programming in the Seattle area, the group, led by founder and head coach Tara Morgan, has made incredible strides in raising global awareness for inclusion, and Instagram is a great way to stay up to date on the efforts.

    Science of Rowing (@scienceofrowing)

    This account debuted this summer and is one of our most recent follows. The profile says, “Rigorous rowing research and practical applications for rowers and coaches of all levels,” and if that translates to “very technical” to you, you are 100% correct. But we are fascinated by the studies this group shares and the implications of their findings. Curious? Follow along with us and see how coaches and trainers are able to leverage these insights.

    RowingNews (@rowingnews)

    Of course we rely on our daily updates and regatta reports from World Rowing (@worldrowingofficial) and US Rowing (@usrowing), and we never miss the race galleries, quirky hacks, and features from (@row2k). But we always look for posts from the Instagram account of Rowing News magazine, which calls Hanover, New Hampshire, its home. For its coverage, its perspective, its heritage, its constancy—we count on the media outlet for fresh content and the full picture.

    So many great rowing accounts, so little…well, we all have a little more time to scroll, right? Which accounts are your favorite? Remember to follow RowingPad on Instagram (@rowingpad) for updates and promotions on our butt pads for boats and ergometers. Love our products? Let us know with #rowingpad.

     

  • Don’t Miss These Great New England Fall Rowing Events

    Don’t Miss These Great New England Fall Rowing Events

    By the time September rolls around, most “fall” rowing programs in our charming corner of the country are well under way. But as New Englanders, the RowingPad team still regards September and October as the autumnal glory days, full of classic local regattas and the global highlight that is the Head of the Charles.  

    As supporters of rowers local (RowingPad is a proud sponsor of Great Bay Rowing’s juniors program) and international, we follow each of these events with equal enthusiasm and even, when we can, take part in some respectable masters and alumni racing. 

    Here are some excellent rowing events taking place across New England this fall. We hope to see you at one or more! 

    Courtesy @criboston

    CRI Fall Classic Regatta, September 21, 2019

    This early-season 3-mile head race on the Charles River hosted by Community Rowing Inc. is in its 10th year. Featuring a buoyed course and supervised by U.S. Rowing refs, it welcomes rowers of all levels to its 40-plus races, including adaptive events. Originally called “Rumble on the River,” the first installment coincided with the organization’s move to its new Harry Parker Boathouse in 2010 and featured rowing plus a battle of the bands. 

    The course and scope of the event evolved rapidly, and as the group’s website says, “In 2015, the event became the CRI Fall Classic Regatta to reflect its development into the premier early fall rowing event in New England. In 2010, the first regatta had about 40 entries. The 2018 regatta last fall had about 302 entries, including competitors from many New England states and New York, as well as a number of new youth crews.” That’s something to celebrate! If you are spectating, partake of the yummy food truck fare and make sure to check out the beautiful boathouse.

    Head of the Merrimack, September 28, 2019

    The Essex Rowing Association hosts this fun day of racing on the Merrimack River in Methuen, New Hampshire. The 5K race, which includes juniors, high schoolers, and masters levels and is a regional favorite event among the private rowing clubs in the area, traces some of the river’s most scenic spots along the Methuen shore. 

    An old event logo, courtesy of Putney Rowing Club.

    Green Mountain Head Regatta, September 29, 2019

    Putney Rowing Club, based out of the idyllic town of Putney on the Vermont-New Hampshire border, hosts this charming and beloved local race along the northern Connecticut River. Why do we say “charming”? Well, the event traces its origins to the 19th century, and despite the illustrious rowing figures who have participated over the years, the awards still feature maple syrup for first place, a bag of apples for second and a gallon of cider for third. Join approximately 350 racers (a fair number of them in wooden boats) for the stake race, launched in intervals, that runs 1.5 miles upstream, around two buoys and back again. If you’ve never seen a stake race, this is truly a fun event for spectating!

    The Textile River Regatta, October 6, 2019

    This year marks the 40th anniversary of this vibrant head race on the Merrimack River in Lowell, Massachusetts. Schools and clubs from throughout New England, New York and Pennsylvania compete in nearly 60 different events across all levels—so the energy level will be high. You can even tune in to the Textile River Regatta Radio, the event’s own radio station featuring live calls on race day. Check out the stunning photos captured at last year’s event and plan your trip to partake in the live action the first weekend in October.

    The launch point at Head of the Housatonic, courtesy of New Haven Rowing Club.

    Head of the Housatonic, October 12, 2019

    We’ve seen plenty of New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts regattas in our day, but the Head of the Housatonic Regatta, held in the southern reaches of Shelton, Connecticut, offers a different kind of race format. At this popular annual event, hosted by the New Haven Rowing Club at Indian Well State Park along the Housatonic River, competitors launch from the sandy beach by walking boats into the water (there is no dock). Boats follow a very specific traffic pattern involving colored buoys—we’re intrigued to see how this all works in the thick of the race!

    New Hampshire Championships George Dirth Memorial Regatta, October 13, 2019

    Can you handle back-to-back weekends of intense fall rowing competition? If the answer is yes, then head to the George Dirth Memorial Regatta, which takes place the weekend before Head of the Charles and has the distinction of being the largest New England rowing event north of Boston. How large? More than 2,000 athletes rowing nearly 400 sculling and sweep boats. 

    Hosted by the Amoskeag Rowing Club in Pembroke, New Hampshire, the 3-mile head race begins upriver on the Merrimack and finishes at Memorial Park. In addition to providing a wonderful day of racing in a beautiful fall setting, this year’s event honors George Dirth, a former member of the rowing club and varsity rower at Oregon State University who died tragically at age 27, and awards a New Hampshire Cup team trophy for the best overall team performance.

    A RowingPad founder and his crew during HOCR 2016.

    The 55th Annual Head of the Charles, October 19-20, 2019

    Want to learn a fun piece of RowingPad trivia? One of our founders, Victor Pisinski, has quite a record with this beloved Boston regatta. The first HOCR was held in 1965. Victor made his debut on the Charles River course in year three…and he has raced in the event many years since! Unfortunately, 2019 marks one of the first years in a while Victor will not be able to compete due to a pesky foot injury, but you can bet he will be there in spirit!

    This year’s installment of the Boston head race, the largest two-day regatta in the world, is sure to bring some fresh elements, including a brave push for sustainability and lessening environmental impact, and heightened racing with Tokyo 2020 on the horizon.

    Want to hear more from RowingPad?

    Keep informed of all our sales and promotions as well as interesting happenings in the rowing world by following us on Facebook, Instagram or subscribe to our e-newsletter.

  • See You at the 54th Annual Head of the Charles Regatta!

    See You at the 54th Annual Head of the Charles Regatta!

    Fast approaching this weekend is one of the rowing world’s biggest annual events, and certainly the premier calendar fixture for the New England rowing community: the 54th annual Head of the Charles Regatta. Saturday, October 20, kicks off the action, and members of the RowingPad team will be there to cheer on one of our founders (participating in a masters event), our talented RowingPad customers, and all the other incredible rowers taking on the Charles.

    The Head of the Charles began in 1965, as a three-mile head race inspired by racing tradition in England. It has since evolved into the world’s largest two-day regatta, flooding the banks of the legendary Charles River with an estimated 225,000 spectators each fall. This year organizers anticipate 11,000 rowers from across the world, representing more than 800 schools, universities and organizations and 24 countries, to compete in 55 different events for juniors, Olympians, para and masters athletes. The event is expected to generate more than $72 million in spending to the region as visitors descend on Boston and its neighboring towns to be part of history.

    Spotlight on: Women’s Eight

    Some might say there is no obvious contender for this year’s women’s eight champ race, without one loaded boat of international superstars as often happens in this event. But that doesn’t mean the race won’t be riveting. U.S. Rowing has two entries, and, as Row2K so nicely describes, “divided between those two boats are eight of the nine women who won gold in the eight a month ago at the World Championships, and all four of the women who won gold in the four.”

    Then there are the 23 fierce collegiate crews, vying for that surprise win and supremacy among their peers. They seek to do what only three different crews have accomplished in the last seven years: win the women’s champ eights. Who could do it this year? California hasn’t raced HOCR since it won this event in 2015, but they are the reigning NCAA champions. Or maybe Syracuse, with a new head coach and a promising record, could make a strong showing and best them all. We can’t wait to watch.

    Syracuse, courtesy Row2K

    Spotlight on: Women’s Singles

    Near and dear to our hearts here at RowingPad is the women’s championship singles, in which Newtown, Massachusetts, native and Olympic silver medalist Gevvie Stone will attempt her ninth (!!) win in this storied event. A frequent supporter of RowingPad, Gevvie often relies on our pads to keep comfortable and well-positioned in the seat. She has been training hard for HOCR after 14 months of doctoral residency, and we expect only the best from the hometown favorite.

    Other top racers in the women’s champ singles include, according to Row2K, “training partner Mary Jones Nabel, a long-time international competitor and friend Magdalena Lobnig, and the woman who represented the United States in the single scull at this year’s world championships, Kara Kohler, as well as Canadian squad single sculler Carling Zeeman, and Felice Mueller, who finished second in 2018 and took the top Lotmann Challenge honors a week later in Philadelphia.” It’s an impressive group of competitors! Read more about their perspectives on the upcoming race and competing against Gevvie in the full Row2K preview. 

    Gevvie Stone, courtey Row2K

    Spotlight on: Men’s Singles

    This is a loaded year for the popular men’s champ singles event. Will current course record holder and Harvard alum Andrew Campbell make history again? He hasn’t won the HOCR since his surprise 2014 victory, but according to an interview with Row2K, he’s determined to make this the year he get’s back to the winner’s circle. Or will one of the international elite racers—reigning Olympic gold medalist Mahé Drysdale of New Zealand or Olympic silver medalist Damir Martin of Croatia or two-time runner-up in this event American John Grave (pictured above)—vying for the top spot come out ahead?

    As Row2K summarizes: “The 33 rowers entered in the men’s champ singles race hail from six different countries and include five Olympians, three Olympic medalists, four world champions, and two Head of the Charles course record-holders.” It will all come down to who’s in the zone when the moment arrives—and the whim of the Charles.

    American John Graves, courtesy Row2K

    What to Know

    Making your first visit to HOCR? Prepare yourself with Row2K’s excellent guide to this year’s event. It covers everything from what to wear to how and survive on the roads to where to potentially see the most crashes/oar-on-oar conflict (if that’s the sort of thing you enjoy…).

    And it’s worth mentioning that you will find no portable cushion for spectating more comfortable and completely appropriate for the occasion than one of our RowingPad boat or erg pads. If you can’t join in the action this year, at least you can look the part! We hope to see you there!

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