Head of the Charles Regatta

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In Boston a month ago, I saw signs hanging from the street lamps about the Head of the Charles (river... it separates Boston from Cambridge, as far as I can tell).  Talking with a coworker from Boston, he said “you ought to watchj the Head of the Charles.”  Conveniently coinciding with the Clemson and Boston College football game, my daughter and I went to... the Head of the Charles.  It was, after all, a beautiful fall morning.

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The Boston subway seemed to pretty packed with people headed to the Harvard Station, but... it wasn’t as big a crowd as I expected.

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So, what do you do when you watch a regatta?  You watch boats paddle by. (Go duck go!)

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I suppose I expected something where the boats would be 5 or more abreast, sprinting for a finish line.  That wasn’t the case, as they went by one by one, apparently timed.

It’s kind of like...

Soooo, what else is there to do?  Well, walk along the river and check out the vendor tents.

I suppose a regatta in the shadow of Harvard rightfully would have their event attire made with the Brooks Brothers label.  No need to apologize.  People are buying.

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Need a bite? How about Ruth’s Chris steak house... from a tent.  Prices were reasonable, actually.  It’s just a sight that I never expected.

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Don’t bother taking the subway.  We have vehicles you should buy.

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If you’ve got extra cash, you should probably buy a Gibson guitar for playtime, or, get some for the kids.

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This one made sense, at least.  A (paddle) boat for boating people.

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All of which is to say that I guess the average income of your standard regatta observer is a very high multiple of minimum wage.

Hey, more food!

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Somebody in New England obviously made it to a fairground south of the Mason Dixon line to see what a food stand should look like, but then had to make it all politically correct with not as unhealthy options.  Sweet potato fries?  Chowda, in a bread bowl?  Despite the soft serve ice cream, chicken fingers and hot dogs...  Bubba isn’t going to be overwhelmed.  Where’s the corn dogs, the candy floss, the FUNNEL CAKES???  At least there were no veggie burgers or celery sticks...

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Ok, back to the regatta.  “There’s a bridge.  Let’s go stand on it.”

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Hmm.  There are more people at the tents than there are on the banks.

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But that’s because many are on the bridges.  Here, you get a much better view of watching people paddle by one boat at a time.

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It’s kind of like watching people jog... which I’m not accustomed to doing.  There’s no sense of drama, the taste of victory, the agony of defeat... it’s just a lot of people on very slender boats getting some good exercise...

... and trying to figure out where they’re rowing.

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It’s not as dull as that, if you know what’s going on.  There were a few people next to us who would be competing the following day, discussing the best tactics of approaching the bridge for... current? not hitting it?  losing less speed in a slight turn?  Whatever.  The answer was to go to a website and watch the locals tell you where to paddle on a video.  YouTube.  The keeper of all things instructional.

Here’s a shot of the return lane for the boats, which is exactly what we chose to do.

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I guess you just need to be raised on the sport...

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