Nov. 9, 2007
SEATTLE -- The Washington men's and women's rowing teams conclude their fall competitive rowing season, Sunday, Nov. 11 at the 27th-annual Head of the Lake Regatta. The first race on the 51-event card is scheduled for 8 a.m.
Hosted by the Lake Washington Rowing Club, this year's Head of the Lake competition has over 2,500 rowers entered in some 500 boats. Among the entries are several college crews from throughout the United States and Canada, along with a boat from Japan's Shimane University.
Washington has eight men's crews entered and 10 women's boats.
Along with collegiate competitors, the Head of the Lake Regatta also showcases junior and masters rowers. The 51 races range from single sculls, doubles and fours to eight-oared crews. The featured events are the men's and women's open competition for eight-oared crews.
The crews will cover a three-mile course that traverses the Lake Washington Ship Canal. The course begins at the east end of the Montlake Cut and travels to Portage Bay, around the spectator viewing area at Gas Works Park and to the finish line just west of the Fremont Bridge.
Spectators can view the Head of the Lake Regatta free of charge from anywhere along the course, but the best viewing location is at Gas Works Park on the north tip of Lake Union where crews enter the final mile of the race.
The Head of the Lake event was founded in 1981 and has evolved into the largest fall rowing regatta conducted west of the Mississippi River.
The "head" races are a break from the straight, 2,000-meter courses customarily contested by collegians. Teams begin from a single-file line with boats starting at approximately 15-second intervals apart. There will be brief breaks between events of approximately one minute.
Last year's Head of the Lake Regatta was cancelled due to high winds in the Seattle area. It marked the first cancellation in the event's history.
A series of storms battered the Pacific Northwest during the week of last year's Head of the Lake with high winds, rain and snow. On Sunday morning, winds in the Seattle-area reached 15 to 25 knots making for unsafe rowing conditions on the rowing course on the inland waterway connecting Lake Washington to Puget Sound.
Rowing shells, which have just a few inches of freeboard - the distance from the water's surface to the top of the boat's gunwale, can take-on water in rough-water conditions, making for an unsafe condition.
This Sunday's regatta completes Washington's fall racing season. The 2008 season gets underway March 29 with the annual Class Day Regatta.