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Smiles for Miles at the Head of the Charles Friday

STORY AND PHOTOS BY ED MORAN

From the moment that Rick Anderson learned that the Head of the Charles Regatta was going to return for a 57th running after missing a year to the pandemic, he has been both nervous and “charged up.”

“It was joyous news,” Anderson, who is a member of Rockford Rowing, said. “This is really an experience. You get charged up about it, and of course, you’re nervous about the racing but it’s something that keeps you psyched, keeps you focused on training and being healthy,” said Anderson who has rowed the regatta more than 30 times.

“All the rowers are just so glad to see one another. It’s like a reunion,” he said. “We’re back together again. Rowers tend to be a family. We know people from all over the world and we get together at these regattas, and it is so nice to catch up. I think that’s what’s great about the sport, the friendliness of the people that are in it. Especially in Boston.”

Rick Anderson, rowing bow number 1, passes under the Railroad Bridge and leads the field of more than 2,230 rowers who came to Boston.

Normally, Anderson would still be waiting nervously to race. The regatta in past years has always been a two-day event but starting this year a third morning was added to help ease the congestion of the ever-growing event.

For the first time, eight of the more senior masters’ categories, men’s and women’s singles and doubles in the 50 to 70-plus age groups and the mixed para inclusion doubles were raced. Anderson raced in 2019, the last year before the pandemic paused everything for a year. He was in the Men’s Veteran Singles 60-plus division and finished 9th.

But after turning 70, Anderson moved into the 70-plus division and his past performance earned him bow number 1. So, Anderson not only got to row a day early, but he also led the entire parade.

And he won.

“I loved it,” Anderson said of leading off and racing.

Regardless of the result, that was pretty much the feeling that spread across the entire venue, from the top of the course singles and doubles launch area to the finish area, where most rowers who will race gather, park trailers load with boats, and mingle among friends and the vendor tents, food concessions, and beer garden.

All morning and into the afternoon, team trailers and crews arrived, rigged boats, and as soon as the racing finished began getting on the water for a practice row.

“It was great,” said Weatherly Barnard-Dorris,” who raced in the Women’s Grand Masters Double with her partner Laura Carlton as an entry from Duxbury Bay Maritime School and finished 10th.

“It was beautiful to be out there,” she said. “It’s a really pretty course, lots of happy people, polite race directors. Everybody is very encouraging. Fun little jabber on the sidelines, and family coming. It was all fun.

“It feels great to be back, and you can see it in everyone’s demeanor. Everybody is ready to go and try their hardest, but mostly just happy to be outside on a beautiful day,” she said. “It’s great.”

“It feels great to be back, and you can see it in everyone’s demeanor. Everybody is ready to go and try their hardest, but mostly just happy to be outside on a beautiful day,” she said. “It’s great.”

Weatherly Barnard-Dorris


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