Head of the Charles, biggest U.S. Regatta glides through Boston

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The Independent Online

During the peak period of fall's colorful foliage season in New England, the Head of the Charles Regatta brings the best rowing teams and top rowers from across the US and the world to Boston, Massachusetts, October 17-18, for its 45th year.

America's largest two-day regatta, more than 300,000 spectators will line the banks of the Charles River, from Boston to Cambridge, to view 55 different events with crews from colleges and clubs competing in races all weekend with men, women, and youth categories.

More than 8,500 rowers from 17 countries will participate. Other highlights for the rowing enthusiasts include the Championship Doubles on Saturday, and on Sunday, the Championship Fours and Championship Eights, feature the world's premier rowers. The last races of each day are also popular.

The "Great Eight" elite rowers will race in this regatta, including six finalists from the 2008 Olympic Single Sculls event - Olaf Tufte (gold medalist from Norway), Ondrej Synek (silver medalist from Czech Republic), Mahe Drysdale (bronze medalist from New Zealand), Belgium's Tim Maeyens (fourth), the UK's Alan Campbell (fifth) and Sweden's Lassi Karonen (sixth). Also joining them is the 2008 Olympic Double Sculls finalist Slovenia's Iztok Cop and Germany's Marcel Hacker.

The course starts at the Boston University Boathouse and ends at Artesani Playground in Brighton. See the website for a map and schedule: www.hocr.org/

‘Head' races are a class of regatta running three miles long with rowers racing against each other and the clock. Members of the Cambridge Boat Club began the race in 1965, inspired by a similar tradition held in England.

Other regattas occur throughout the year through FISA (Fédération Internationale des Sociétés d'Aviron) or the English name, the International Federation of Rowing Association, the governing body of rowing.