|The Harvard–Yale Regatta|
|First boat race||August 3, 1852|
|Annual event since||July 26, 1859|
|Downstream record||Harvard, 18:22.4 (1980)|
|Upstream record||Harvard, 18:41.9 (1995)|
New London, Connecticut
|Course length||4 miles (6.4 km)|
|Trophy||A pair of silver inscribed trophy oars|
|Number of wins|
The Yale–Harvard Boat Race or Yale–Harvard Regatta is an annual rowing race between Yale University and Harvard University. First contested in 1852, annually since 1859 except during major wars fought by the United States, The Race is America's oldest collegiate athletic competition, predating The Game by 23 years. Originally rowed on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire, it has since moved to the Thames River, New London, Connecticut. Although other locations for the race have included the Connecticut River at Springfield, Massachusetts, and Lake Quinsigamond at Worcester, Massachusetts, the Thames has hosted The Race on all but five occasions since 1878 and both teams have erected permanent training camps on the Thames at Gales Ferry for Yale and at Red Top for Harvard. The race has been exclusively between Harvard and Yale except for 1897 when the race was held as part of a three boat race with Cornell on the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie, New York, where, although it lost to Cornell, Yale was deemed the winner of the Harvard–Yale race.
On May 24, 1843, with the arrival of the shell Whitehall in New Haven, Yale University founded the first collegiate crew in the United States. A year later, Harvard founded their boat club. These boat clubs served primarily a social purpose, until Yale's 1852 issuance of a challenge to Harvard "to test the superiority of the oarsmen of the two colleges". The first Harvard-Yale Boat Race—and the first American intercollegiate sporting event—took place on August 3, 1852. In this two-mile (3.2 km) contest, Harvard's Oneida prevailed over Yale's Shawmut by about two lengths, with Yale's Undine finishing third. The first place prize was a pair of black walnut, silver inscribed trophy oars. The trophy oars were awarded to Harvard by General Franklin Pierce who in 1853 became the 14th President of the United States of America. Today the 1852 trophy oars are the oldest intercollegiate athletic prize in North America.
The race distance was increased to three miles (4.8 km) for the second rendition in 1855 and to the current four miles (6.4 km) in 1876. The Oxford–Cambridge Boat Race is the only longer side-by-side rowing event in the world, though slower stream makes the Yale–Harvard Race one to three minutes longer.
Originally the race was just between the varsity crews but there are now three events: the 2-mile (3.2-km) freshman race, the 3-mile (4.8-km) junior varsity race, and the 4-mile (6.4-km) varsity race. The varsity crews compete for the Sexton Cup, the junior varsity for the F. Valentine Chappell Trophy, and the freshman for the New London Cup. The Hoyt C. Pease and Robert Chappell Jr. Trophies are awarded to the team that wins the majority of the three races.
Typically the day before the freshman, junior varsity and varsity races, there is a two-mile (3.2 km) race between the spares for both crews. These "combination" boats are made up of second freshman boat and third varsity boat rowers (i.e. the "combi" or "combo" race). The winner of this race gets the James P. Snider Cup, as well as the right to paint its school's colors on the "rock" at Bartlett's Cove for the next day's races. Currently Harvard leads the varsity series at 94–54, the second varsity (JV) at 75–37, and the freshman series at 71–39–1. Harvard also holds the upstream course record with its time of 18:41.9 in 1995. Yale's fastest upstream time (18:45.5) was also posted that year. The Crimson set the downstream—and Thames River course—mark of 18:22.4 in 1980.
The James Snider Cup is awarded to the winning crew of the Combination race of the Harvard–Yale Regatta, which is held annually in New London, Connecticut. The Combination crews are typically composed of rowers from the third varsity and second freshman boats of their respective programs. Traditionally the two crews race a 2-mile (3.2-km) course the day before the Regatta, with the winning crew earning both possession of the Cup and the right to paint the large rock surface south of Bartlett's Cove—typically the most popular viewing spot for the Regatta's main events the next day—with their school's colors.
The James P. Snider Cup was dedicated in honor of James P. "Jamie Sniderman" Snider by the Yale Heavyweight Crew Class of 2005 following the Harvard–Yale Regatta held on June 11, 2005. The cup was donated in honor of Jamie's years of dedicated service to both the Yale Heavyweight Crew and the Yale Crew program as a whole. In 1995 and 1996 Jamie served as an assistant coach of the Yale Women's Crew, leading the 1995 Third Varsity to a 10–4 record. After becoming an assistant with the Men's Heavyweight squad, Jamie led the 1997 Third Varsity Crew to an undefeated season, an Eastern Sprints Gold Medal, and a victory in the Combination Race of the Harvard–Yale Regatta. Jamie's 1999 Combination crew earned the right to paint the rock as well. Currently, Jamie serves as the assistant coach of the Women's Program. In 2006 he led his Third Varsity Four to a third place finish at the Eastern Sprints, and in 2007, 2008, 2009 he coached the Varsity Four to gold medals at Eastern Sprints and a sixth, sixth and third place finish at NCAAs.
In addition to coaching Yale crews during the season, Jamie has served as caretaker of Gales Ferry, the home and training site for the Yale Men's Heavyweight Crew during preparation for the Harvard–Yale Regatta since 1878. He has also served as Director of the Yale University Community Rowing Program since its inception in the summer of 1999. Originally established as a small pilot program, the program has since grown to include over 100 youth participants annually, providing rowing opportunities for organizations such as the National Youth Sports Program, American School for the Deaf, and the Connecticut Special Olympics.
- Harvard: 94 wins
- Yale: 54 wins
Junior Varsity Race
The combination boat is manned by rowers from the third varsity and second freshman boats, the strongest substitutes available to the junior varsity and freshman boats.
The James P. Snider Cup was dedicated for the 2005 race, won by Yale. Harvard holds a 9-3 record overall.