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Boston Welcomes The 52nd Annual Head Of The Charles Regatta

Boats pass under the Weeks Footbridge on their way to the starting line for the Head of the Charles. (Elizabeth Gillis/WBUR)MoreCloseclosemore
Boats pass under the Weeks Footbridge on their way to the starting line for the Head of the Charles. (Elizabeth Gillis/WBUR)

The 52nd annual Head of the Charles takes over Boston's river this weekend. About 11,000 rowers are expected to participate — including more than 50 athletes who competed in the Rio Olympics this summer.

The two-day regatta started off rainy and cold on Saturday, which made for thinner crowds than usual.

But the weather didn't dampen Lisa Gaines' enthusiasm. She was cheering boisterously for her fellow Corvallis Rowing Club team members, as their boat crossed the BU Bridge in the morning.

Gaines was preparing for her first Head of the Charles race later in the afternoon — the women's eight in the over-40 age group.

"We were the last boat in the lottery that got in so we are really excited," she said.

This is Gaines' second year in the sport. She took up rowing so that her daughters could see her compete.

"When I was younger, I competed swimming, they never saw that," she said. "I wanted them to know about a sport that they could get into at any age and be a lifelong competitor. So at 48, I got into it."

A few bridges down near Harvard, the Campbell siblings were cheering for their dad's boat as it cleared the Anderson Bridge.

The siblings — Andrew, Mary and Claire — are accomplished rowers who grew up racing at the Head of the Charles. They will all compete this year.

Andrew rowed for the U.S. national team this August in Rio, and his sisters are national champions.

For 24-year-old Andrew, rowing on the Charles is like a homecoming.

"I think most folks around here would compare head of the Charles to Christmas, because it's just a huge family reunion," he said. "People I've rowed with in high school, college, the national team are all here for this one weekend."

As for their mom, Lauren, she is learning to row, and she hopes to compete at next year's regatta.


Here's a few scenes from the Charles:

Dale Howard and Bob Blew bring in their boat after racing in the Grand-Master men's 60+ competition. When asked how they did Blew says, "Haven't checked yet, but we finished. We at least got T-shirts." (Elizabeth Gillis/WBUR)
Dale Howard and Bob Blew bring in their boat after racing in the Grand-Master men's 60+ competition. When asked how they did Blew says, "Haven't checked yet, but we finished. We at least got T-shirts." (Elizabeth Gillis/WBUR)
Spectators stand under their umbrellas by the Riverside Boat Club in Cambridge on the first day of the Head of the Charles. (Elizabeth Gillis/WBUR)
Spectators stand under their umbrellas by the Riverside Boat Club in Cambridge on the first day of the Head of the Charles. (Elizabeth Gillis/WBUR)
Boats gather by the starting line for the Head of the Charles. (Elizabeth Gillis/WBUR)
Boats gather by the starting line for the Head of the Charles. (Elizabeth Gillis/WBUR)
Michaela Rosmarin directs boats under the Weeks Footbridge near Harvard University. Rosmarin and her twin sister, Nicole, have been volunteering as river patrol at the Head of the Charles for four years. (Elizabeth Gillis/WBUR)
Michaela Rosmarin directs boats under the Weeks Footbridge near Harvard University. Rosmarin and her twin sister, Nicole, have been volunteering as river patrol at the Head of the Charles for four years. (Elizabeth Gillis/WBUR)
A rowing team from University of California trains on Friday before the weekend regatta kicks off. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
A rowing team from University of California trains on Friday before the weekend regatta kicks off. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Rowers preparing for the Head of the Charles Regatta on Friday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Rowers preparing for the Head of the Charles Regatta on Friday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Qainat Khan Producer/Reporter
Qainat Khan is a freelance producer and reporter.

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