CRI Fall Classic Regatta

  • Hosted By: Community Rowing, Inc.

CRI’s first foray into the world of regattas was its annual “Regatta in the Lilies” back during the second decade of the club’s existence, the mid-1990s.  During those days, we were rowing out of a “seasonal” boathouse which was set up every Spring and disassembled every Fall at the hockey rink. 

Much of the instructional activity then occurred in the relatively shallow and wide “pond” between the rink and the Watertown Yacht Club.  Scattered in the pond, as well as at various spots along the river, were huge dense patches of what we called “lilies” -- floating weeds.  If you didn’t watch where you were going and got your blades tangled in the lilies, you were going for a swim.  So, naturally, we called our annual club outing on the river the “Regatta in the Lilies.”  The event was a small, cozy and relaxed affair which involved sprints down the length of the pond.  Both coaches and rowers participated, and there was no handicapping, so guess who won.  (Not the rowers.)  A few hot dogs from a grill accompanied by the award of many medals capped the event.  You would not have mistaken it for the Royal Henley.

 When CRI was blessed to move into our spectacular new Harry Parker Boathouse, the club fittingly upgraded its regatta and the “Rumble on the River” was born.  At the first Rumble in 2010, sprint racing in marked lanes in the pond was combined with a battle of the bands at the boathouse to create festive environment that was open to the community -- rowers and non-rowers alike.  Major innovations were the introduction of events for adaptive rowers and a focus on opportunities for the youth programs to race.  Although everyone rowed hard, we didn’t take ourselves too seriously, and it was a good party, too. 

At the second Rumble in 2011, we added head race events.  The boats rowed a 2-mile head race format from near the HOCR finish line to the CRI docks, and then immediately sprinted from the pond back down to the docks.  Each boat’s time for the two segments was combined to give an overall time.  That format -- while interesting -- proved very complex, and the Rumble moved to separate events:  a 2-mile head race format for events in the morning, with sprint races for adaptive athletes and “corporate league” hackers in the afternoon.   

As the regatta grew in size and time passed, the notion of having a “real” 3-mile head race became popular.  At the Rumble’s fifth anniversary, in 2014, that became a reality with a fully buoyed 3-mile course from just above Weeks Footbridge to the CRI docks for the morning events, followed by afternoon sprints for our adaptive competitors -- all under the watchful eye of US Rowing refs.

In 2015, the event became the “CRI Fall Classic Regatta” to reflect its development into the premier early fall rowing event in New England.  In 2010, the first regatta had about 40 entries.  The 2018 regatta last fall had about 302 entries, including competitors from many New England states and New York, as well as a number of new youth crews.  

The regatta presents the opportunity for a season-opening 3-mile head race on a buoyed Charles River course supervised by US Rowing refs.  We hope you will join us for the 10th year of CRI's Regatta, CRI Fall Classic Regatta on Saturday, September 21, 2019!