Fall racing is in full swing in the US of A!
Fall racing is in full swing. As a majority of rowers make their way to the larger more well know races, such as Head of the Charles and Head of the Hooch, there are so many great lesser known races that deserve some recognition. Grab a pumpkin spice latte and check out these four races we think are worth entering
Head of the Fish – Saratoga Springs, NY
Held each year around Halloween, it is not uncommon to find crews in full costume while they come down the race course. Started in 1986, the Head of the Fish wanted to be a race that “wouldn’t take itself too seriously”. Protests were forbidden and timing errors were an accepted part of the race’s charm. The best part of this race is the mounted fish head that is awarded to each gold medal winner
Wye Island Regatta – Annapolis, MD
Not for the faint of heart, the Wye Island Regatta is a 13.1 mile race around its namesake. The main goal of the race for most who enter is to simply finish, which is a win in its own right. Unique to this race is that they not only accept rowing entries, but any man powered vessel including stand up paddle boards, dragon boats, kayaks and canoes. Hosted by the Annapolis rowing club for the past quarter century, this regatta is a nice break from a more traditional head race format. The best part is, once you circle the island, you finish back at the start, so there is no long row home after you cross the line.
Black Burn Challenge – Gloucester, MA
If Wye Island is not challenge enough for you, there is the 20 mile race around Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Since most of this race is held in open water, conditions can be expected to change throughout the day, and the race is never cancelled as a result of inclement weather. It is a tough race by design to honor Howard Blackburn who was separated from his sailboat in 1883 and rowed 60 miles over 5 days back to land. In doing so, he lost most of his fingers and toes to frostbite.
The Green Mountain Head – Putney, VT
Hosted by the Putney Rowing Club in Vermont, the GMH is a singles only stake boat race (row upstream, around a stake in the river, and back downstream). It is “large by sculling standards, but retains its small town charm”. For such a remote location, Putney has a rich history in rowing and is home to Graeme King Boatworks. If you are ever looking for that quintessential New England experience, this race ends with a picnic for all participants of traditional Vermont foods such as cheddar cheese, fresh bread, apple cider, and doughnuts.
Fall racing across the USA is a favorite time of year for any avid rower and we hope to see everyone out on the water before the season change and winter sets in.