Harvard swept the 146th Harvard-Yale Regatta Saturday, making it the fourth consecutive year that all three teams–the freshman, junior varsity and varsity–beat their New Haven counterparts.
The varsity team finished its 4-mile race in 19:05.7 and Yale came in at 19:19.1, according to unofficial timekeepers with Harvard's crew. The junior varsity team set a new record for its 3-mile race at 13:38.
For the 124th time, today's Harvard-Yale Regatta will kick off another summer season in Gales Ferry, and this year the race will also kick off a month-long celebration of Ledyard’s 175th anniversary.
Since mid-May, rowers from both teams have been in Gales Ferry, where Harvard and Yale each maintain quarters and boathouses for the rivalry that dates back to 1852 – the early races were held on Lake Winnepesaukee in the Granite State.
The regatta is regarded as the longest-running intercollegiate competition in America. This year will mark the 146th race of the series.
The Harvard varsity has dominated the series, 92-54, including 17 straight victories, from 1990 to 2006. But that streak was broken in 2007 when the Elis won, although they have not won since.
Today’s racing began at 3 p.m. with the freshmen – a two-mile course from Mamacoke Hill to Bartlett’s Cove. The second varsity race began at 3:45 p.m., covering three miles from the Coast Guard Academy to Bartlett’s Cove.
The four-mile varsity race began at 4:45 p.m. It started at the Gold Star Bridge and finished at Bartlett’s Cove.
Leann Gionet, caretaker of the Harvard compound off Military Highway, said the Gales Ferry Community Center used to make a bigger deal of the regatta, with a big celebration that included hot dogs, t-shirts, etc. “That hasn’t happened in 15 or 20 years,” she said.
Still, there is an undeniable sense of ownership on the part of the host community.
“I think the neighborhood takes a great deal of pride in hosting the event,” said Valerie Berry, who has lived adjacent to the Harvard property for 30 years. “Every year it’s fun to see the boys come in, and it’s fun to see them out and about.”
Berry said interest in the race has ebbed a bit over the years.
“In its heyday, of course, the river was full of boats with spectators, but I haven’t seen that in the time I’ve been here,” she said. “I think it may have fallen out of favor for a time, but it’s coming back.”
She admitted she is partial to the Crimson.
“I’m friends with the caretaker, and she lets me run my dogs over there,” she said. “We’ve been doing it for 30 years, so I would have to say I’m partial to Harvard.”