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53rd Annual Head of the Charles Regatta Underway in Cambridge

The Head of the Charles Regatta draws elite rowers from around the world; this year, 11,000 athletes will compete in 66 different events. Competitors and spectators make the trek from all over the United States and beyond to be at this New England tradition.

(Published Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017)

The world's largest rowing event is in Cambridge, Massachusetts this weekend.

The Head of the Charles Regatta began Saturday morning, drawing elite rowers from around the world. Eleven thousand athletes are participating in 66 different events in what they call an iconic tradition.

PHOTOS: 53rd Annual Head of the Charles Regatta
The calm before the row

This symbol of New England is a race to the finish, but also a ride to remember with competitors and spectators making the trek from all over the United States and beyond.

One person loves this race so much that he decided to make the regatta a part of a memory he would have forever.

Sean Harvey proposed to his fiance after the 2016 event and now they are getting married in five weeks.

Harvey says it's about everyone getting together, whether they are rowing or not.

The largest rowing event in the world is a symbol of New England, and a tradition that many people take part in year after year. Sean Harvey's fiance has rowed 5 times in the Head of the Charles Regatta. After the 2016 event, Sean proposed to his fiance, and they are getting married in five weeks. 

(Published Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017)

In Cambridge, you'll find seasoned rowers who have been coming year after year and some first timers determined to be the youngest to ever cross the finish line.

When NBC Boston asked everyone what the Head of the Charles means to them, they all agreed. It's more than a sport. It's a New England tradition. One that has gone on for 53 years.

The president of the event tells us it's more than a race. It's a fall festival that everyone can enjoy.

Fred Schoch, president of the regatta, has some advice: "No tail winds today but plenty of sunshine. Go hard, go early, and come down and enjoy the weekend."

This year, Schoch is also competing and he had a tip for fellow competitors.

"Hydrate. Hydrate early. That's what I'm doing, drinking lots of water. It will be in the 70s this afternoon. I think it's been since 2004 we haven't had two back-to-back weekend days like this."

The 53rd annual Head of the Charles Regatta got underway Saturday morning in Cambridge, Massachusetts. President Fred Schoch is competing and told his fellow competitors that they should hydrate and hydrate early. It's an unseasonably warm and sunny weekend for this New England tradition.

(Published Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017)

If you're headed out to be a spectactor, here's what you need to know:

The races start off at the Boston University boathouse and the finish line is near Herter Park. Most of the races Saturday were the masters division. Sunday is largely youth athletes and lightweight championships.

The course itself is three miles upstream. To give some perspective, it takes about an hour to walk it.

The best place to watch is going to be from the bridges if you want to get a great view, like the BU Bridge, River Street, Western Avenue, Weeks, Andersen, and Eliot Bridge.

The world's largest rowing event is in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Head of the Charles Regatta starts Saturday, October 21, and we have everything you need to know if you want to attend.

(Published Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017)

Something you are going to want to know about even if you aren't attending the races but are headed into Boston are road closures.

Memorial Drive will be closed from the Cambridge Boat Club to Western Avenue.

The first race starts around 7:45 a.m., and they go until 5 p.m., with rolling starts all day long.

For more specifics on what you need to know, click here.