Who invented the Head Of The Charles?

With the HOCR coming up in less than a month, It is a good time to look at the roots of this amazing Regatta. Every good ting in life starts with a good idea! How did the Head Of The Charles Regatta beginn for more than 55 years? Who invented the Head Of The Charles Regatta?

Who invented the Head Of The Charles Regatta? HOCR History –

The www.hocr.org tells about the roots of the Regatta:

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”.

So lets start our search with the question who invented the head of the charles and who Ernest Arlett was.

Who was Ernest Arlett?

Fotocredit: NE Today. May 19, 1972.

Georg Ernest Arlett was born in England. He grew up in a rowing family. Arlett discovered a talent for coaching, but was boxed in by England’s class system. He looked across the Atlantic for wider opportunities. After graduating Arlett went off to coach crews at Oxferd, Harvard, Rutgers and Northeastern. Arlett also was the USA Olympic coach for Men Sculling during the 1976 Olympic Games in Canada. He became a member of the Northeastern University athletics Hall of Fame. This university is a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts, established in 1898. On the Foto ou to1972, he was the crew coach of one of his victorious NU Teams, as he was celebrated by being tossed overboard by the team.

George Ernest Arlett | Father of HOCR

Quelle: New England com the yankee magazine October 9, 2013

Fotocredit: Northeastern Athletics

Younger years

Legend has it that George Ernest Arlett, “the father of the Head of the Charles,” was born in an oar box on the working side of England’s storied rowing river town, Henley-on-Thames. He grew up in the early 20th century in a “boatman” family that ran a livery. A skilled professional sculler, “Ernie” Arlett was hired at age 17 by one of the private boat clubs on the Thames as its boathouse supervisor. Private clubs maintained England’s rigid class barriers, allowing as members only “gentlemen” who didn’t have to work for their incomes. Arlett could repair their sleek rowing shells but never row with them.

Talent for coaching

Arlett discovered a talent for coaching but was boxed in by England’s class system. He looked across the Atlantic for wider opportunities. In 1962, the same year in which Harvard hired a young assistant coach named Harry Parker, the university also hired 49-year-old Arlett—as boatman. Arlett’s real chance arrived two years later, when Boston’s “factory school,” Northeastern University, hired him to build a rowing program. Arlett’s fledgling crew won all but one race that first season, earning an invitation to the Henley Regatta back on his home river. Arlett’s former employers invited the Northeastern rowers into their gentlemen’s club—but insisted that their coach enter, as before, through the rear door.

Arlett introduces “head race” in USA

Early in Arlett’s tenure at Northeastern, D’Arcy MacMahon, Howard McIntyre, and Jack Vincent of the Cambridge Boat Club approached the balding, bandy-legged Brit for advice on starting a new regatta. Arlett called on centuries of tradition and suggested a “head race”—common on England’s winding, narrow-banked rivers—to be held in the fall, giving his boys more chances to get on the water. The club members were skeptical. No one had ever held such a race in the United States before, or staged one so close to the time when the water turned cold.

The American Way of the British Rowing Culture

Eventually, though, they warmed to the idea—and the private-club gentlemen and the immigrant boatman created a new breed of regatta. Its British format would be open to all, not limited by invitation or qualifiers, and certainly not by pedigree. Its Henley bloodlines would be unmistakable. But the regatta would be marked by a hybrid vigor.

The first Head Of The River

The Head of the Charles débuted on October 16, 1965, with 237 rowers. In time, it would become the crowning event of a nationwide fall head-racing season. And it would take on an increasingly American expression: a democratic expansion of younger and older and differently-abled racing categories, corporate sponsorship, and an organization led by thousands of volunteers. Arlett had imagined the race as “a humble regatta.” Even as the Head of the Charles has become the largest regatta in the world, that vision—along with the spirit that animated it—remains true.


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