British crews and scullers win 10 events at Head of the Charles Regatta

America’s hugely popular – and highly competitive – autumn rowing festival took place from 20-22 October


Photo: St Paul's School

As usual, there was a sizeable British contingent taking on many of the 75 events for men’s, women’s and mixed crews across three full days of racing. Boston is a fantastic place to race, with stunning autumnal colours in the trees along the course as well as incredible numbers of spectators lining the banks and bridges, creating an unrivalled atmosphere. This year the weather wasn’t the greatest and it was particularly wet on the Saturday, but perhaps feeling at home with the conditions, there were numerous strong performances by British crews.

2 men with medals and trophy at Head of the Charles Leander Club’s Olly Costley and Rory Harris.

Olly Costley and Rory Harris of Leander Club won the Championship Double Sculls by an impressive 7.5 seconds with Windsor Boys’ alumni Charlie Warren and Bryn Ellery representing their old school in third place.

Chief Men’s Coach, Matt Beechey said, “It was fantastic to see Rory and Olly take the win in Champ Doubles despite a challenging row, where they passed several crews on a demanding course to steer. The coaching team have been exploring ways of giving our crew boat sculling more competitive opportunities and the HOCR was perfectly placed early season for this. I’d like to thank Leander Club members, the committee and the Colgan Foundation who have made this trip possible.” Rory added, “Olly and I were delighted to win in the Men’s Championship Doubles. Challenging conditions made it a tricky test on the famous HOCR course but it was great to come away with the win.”

Leander eights largely made up of GB development athletes came fourth in both the Men’s and Women’s Championship events.

In the junior events, Windsor Boys’ School pupils romped away with the Men’s Youth Coxed Quads title, which the crew of Atticus Chute, Joe Wellington, Marcus Downie and Jimmy Harlow coxed by Milan Martinez won by over 30 seconds. Windsor Boys’ second crew of Tristan Urquart Irvine, Adam Elliot, Ruben Taylor and Isaac Thornton with cox Sarah Williamson was fifth in the same event, with Tideway Scullers ninth.

Windsor Boys’ School Director of Rowing Mark Wilkinson said, “This was the second successive year that we travelled to Boston to race Men’s Youth Quads at the Head of Charles. It’s an exciting trip to make and it was great to see the crew perform so strongly to take the gold medal with the second crew placing so high too. The first boat raced really well with real relaxed aggression and authority – it was pleasing to see and they are the first Windsor Boys’ School crew to win at the Head of the Charles. I was really pleased with their performance!”

Windsor Boys' School at the Head of the Charles The Windsor Boys’ School crews

The Men’s Youth Eights was also dominated by a British crew – St Paul’s School, who won by over 20 seconds after an exciting race packed with overtaking. Tideway Scullers were second in the Women’s Youth Coxed Quads.

As always, Britain’s masters rowers were well represented. Tom Bishop of Quinton BC won the Senior Veteran Singles II (75+) category, Guy Pooley and Dave Gillard, representing Crabtree BC, won Men’s Senior Masters Doubles (50+), and Melanie Wilson and Jessica Eddie won Women’s Masters Doubles (30+) for London RC.

A Crabtree crew of Matt Parish, Jade Uru, Sean Gorvey and Stephen Peel, coxed by George Cozens won Men’s Senior Masters Fours (50+), finishing just under five seconds ahead of a Molesey crew stroked by Matt Brittin. Both were well clear of the rest of the field. And there was a British one-two at the top of the next age category up too with Molesey’s Clive Roberts, Ian McNuff, Richard Shirley and Harvey Worden coxed by Adrian Ellison winning ahead of Monmouth RC.

On the final day Parish teamed up with his son Oliver to win the Directors’ Challenge Parent/Child Doubles ahead of Martin and Andrew Holmes of Castle Semple RC. Guy and Henry Pooley were fourth.

A composite crew of Wimbleball members with one rower from Long Beach Rowing Association, USA won the Directors’ Challenge Mixed Eights.

Racing as Upper Thames in the Women’s Grand Masters Eights (60+), a crew stroked by Mandy Calvert finished second by just 2.32 seconds after storming through the field during the race. GB Olympians and regular competitors here Gillian Lindsay, Katherine Grainger, Cath Tillet (née Bishop) and Kate MacKenzie, coxed by Leigh Miller and representing Marlow RC were second in the Women’s Senior Masters Fours (50+). Adam Randall of London RC was second in the Masters Singles (30+).

In total over 20 British clubs were represented by scullers or crews including American School in London BC, Black Sheep RC,  Blue Star BC, Castle Semple RC, City of Bristol RC, City of Cambridge RC, Clydesdale RC, Crabtree BC, Leander Club, Lea RC, Marlow RC, Molesey BC, Mortlake Anglian and Alpha BC, Norwich RC, Notts County RA, Rex BC, Royal Chester RC, Sudbury RC, Thames RC, Thames Tradesmen RC, Tideway Scullers School, Tyne RC, Tyrian Club, Upper Thames RC, Vesta RC, Wallingford RC and Wimbleball RC.

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