Thousands lined the banks of the Charles River regatta course under sunny autumn skies to watch rowers of all ages and all categories race from the open water of the Back Bay, around the bends of the Charles River to just past Eliot Bridge.

The two-day regatta packed in races in 55 categories, including several elite-level championship events as highlights. The men’s and women’s single sculls races were hotly contested. Home favourite Genevra Stone pulled off another spectacular win this year, claiming her 9th Head of the Charles title. Stone has a silver medal from the 2016 Rio Olympics, and though she did not compete on the international circuit in 2017, she is back in full training for Tokyo 2020.

Stone capitalised on the advantage of starting first– which was guaranteed through last year’s win– and her extensive knowledge of the course– which was acquired through years of training in Boston. Stone also managed to pass three lightweight men’s rowers from the previous race before one of them flipped, forcing second-place Kara Kohler (United States) to slow down. Kohler successfully sculled around the crash to maintain her second place finish. Kohler competed this year for the US as the single sculler. She finished fourth at the World Rowing Championships. Cicely Madden of the United States took third.

In the absence of 2017 winner in the men’s single sculls, Michael Schmid of Switzerland, all eyes were on Head of the Charles silver-medallist John Graves (USA). Graves has regularly been on the podium at Head of the Charles and with the advantage of starting first, this was potentially his year for the win.

But it was Ben Davison, also of the United States, who surprised spectators when he powered from a 26th position start through the field. Finishing in a time of 17:55.11, Davison took the top of the podium. Davison finished fourth at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships this year and he currently rows for the University of Washington.

This exceptional race in the men’s single pushed Davison ahead of big names in men’s rowing such as double Olympic Champion Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand who was fifth and World Best Time holder in the single, New Zealand’s Robert Manson who was eighth. Andrew Campbell of the United States took the silver medal ahead of Graves.

The men’s and women’s championship eights saw wins for the United States in both categories. This year the Head of the Charles did not feature the Great Eights, which were composite crews of top international sweeping and sculling athletes. The United States used the opportunity to enter their top boats and secured both titles. In the men’s eight, two universities followed on the podium, Yale and Brown respectively. The Dutch men’s eight finished in fourth, just one second behind Brown University. In the women’s eight, Stanford University finished in second with the second US national boat finishing in third.

The Head of the Charles first began in 1965 and has grown to be one of the featured headraces of the rowing calendar. The turns, bridges and challenging conditions make it a challenge for rowers. This year, more than 11,000 athletes competed. Entries are higher that number of available positions so rowers must apply or go through a draw in order to get an entry. The 2019 event will take place from 19-20 October, 2019.

For results click here.