Organizers of the Head of the Charles Regatta, a two-day annual event drawing thousands of rowers from around the world, announced the cancellation of the 2020 event Wednesday, citing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“As you know, our top priority has always been holding a regatta that is safe, competitive and fun,” Head of the Charles executive director Fred Schoch wrote in a Facebook post announcing the cancellation. “While we are deeply disappointed that health and safety conditions throughout the world prohibit us from doing that this year, our team is hard at work developing a global remote event to be held this October.”
The regatta is the latest major Boston sporting event to be sidelined, joining the Boston Marathon, which announced the cancellation of the 2020 race in May, as well as hundreds of local professional and collegiate sporting events. The last time the regatta was canceled was 1996, when bad whether made the river impassable.
“We know the fact that we will not be together in person will be disappointing to many of you,” organizers wrote in the post. “In making our decision, we evaluated a full range of options against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and USRowing guidelines, and consulted with leading infectious disease physicians from Massachusetts General Hospital. Based on that analysis, the board of directors and the executive team of the Regatta concluded that they would be unable to run the world class in-person regatta that the rowing community has come to expect while keeping competitors, coaches, volunteers, spectators and vendors safe. We appreciate your patience and support as we move to a different format for 2020.”
Event organizers also noted in the post that “entries that were guaranteed for 2020 will roll over to 2021.”
In the virtual format, rowers “will be able to compete by racing the length of the Head Of The Charles (4,702 meters) on their own body of water or on an erg, depending on what their specific situation is in mid October.” Specific events for October will be announced at a later date.