Men’s crew fights rough currents on the Charles

Last weekend, men’s crew travelled to Boston, Mass. for the Donahue Cup, relocated from Worcester due to ice on the lake.

Races were originally intended to start at 10 a.m. but were rescheduled to earlier times due to wind. The Basin treated all racers to 20+ mph headwinds and white cap waves of nearly two feet, swamping boats and forcing significantly slower times with the 1V posting a 7:07.8, over a minute longer than normal, and the 2V posting a time of 8:13.8, which is over 30 percent longer than in calm conditions.

The 1V was the first to race against Massachusetts Institute of Techonology and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. All boats got out to rickety starts, but MIT surged ahead. The Ephs rebuffed any further attempt by the Engineers to gain an advantage and took a couple seats back. As the water calmed marginally in the last 400 meters, the Engineers pulled a few seats back for a 2.9 second final margin. MIT finished in 7:04.9, while Williams crossed the line in 7:07.8 and WPI clocked a time of 7:22.1.

The 2V and 1F combined races against WPI’s 2V and 3V due to high demand for race slots. From the start, the WPI 2V rocketed out to a lead ahead of the men and maintained the margin as all boats fought to stay afloat. The WPI 2V won the race in 7:53.2, while the men’s 2V finished in 8:13.8, the Williams 1F finished in 8:30.9 and the WPI 3V finished in 9:49.1.

“In situations like these, you just have to show up and fight your way down the course,” commented co-captain Sam Chapin ’15. “No one can row well in these conditions, so it’s all about grinding it out, showing some grit, and staying composed. Unfortunately the result wasn’t exactly what we wanted, but it was quite the character building experience.”

On April 4, after spending spring break in South Carolina, the men stopped in Philadelphia, Penn. to race against St. Joseph’s and Drexel.

Races commenced late on Friday for the men. The racecourse was crowded as many teams seeking open water flocked to the Schuylkill River. Additionally, the wind kicked up to a steady 20-25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph. The direction of the wind shifted throughout the day and between races with tail winds at the start and swirling head and cross winds throughout the final stretch. Because of the wind, the umpires chose to forgo the stake boats for floating starts. These conditions were a great test for all racing.

The 1F boats were the first to race and took on Temple and Bucknell. The Ephs fought hard for a third-place finish, only 0.3 seconds behind Temple and 5.6 seconds behind Bucknell.  The next race was the 2V boat  against St. Joe’s. The boat notched a win with a time of 6:05.0.  The 1V boat followed shortly after in a race that went untimed but resulted in a 5.3 second margin. The Ephs jumped out to an early lead and held onto the margin. The last of the early afternoon races was the 3V boat, which is a mix of varsity and novice freshmen rowers. The boat rowed a strong race but was overpowered by the Hawks by a margin of 15.2 seconds.

A couple of hours later, the mentook to the water again to face Drexel. The 1F boats were the first to start again. Taking on Drexel’s first and second freshman boats, the men fought a hard race but were beat to the line by both Drexel boats, finishing in a time of 6:41.6. The 2V boat raced strong but fell behind after a strong start by Drexel. The Ephs fought from behind to finish 12.7 seconds back with a finishing time of 6:36.7. The 1V followed with a tight race. For the first 700m the Ephs hung with Drexel, but were slowly pushed away throughout the body of the piece. The final margin was nine seconds with the Ephs posting a finishing time of 6:09.0. The last boat to race was the 3V, which rowed a great race but was significantly outmatched and lost by a 33 second margin.

The men will not see MIT again this season, but they will see WPI at New England’s and ECACs. The Little Three regatta against Wesleyan is scheduled for this weekend, but the location has not yet been decided due to pending ice melt and river flow.