Head of the Hooch cancels dozens of events due to high winds - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Head of the Hooch cancels dozens of events due to high winds

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - 2,100 participants are in Chattanooga this weekend for the Head of the Hooch Rowing Regatta.

This is the 10th year they've hosted the event in the Scenic City and while most years they have had good weather, this weekend has proven to be a little more difficult.

Rowers were getting ready during the wee hours on Saturday morning, but when the howling winds didn't die down, organizers had to make a quick decision.

"The wind chill, the cold, the choppiness of the water with shells that are just a few inches above the water level it's just too dangerous to send them out," said Daniel Wolff, Event Director.

That canceled 17 events, leaving nearly 500 boats out of the regatta.

One of those teams was from the University of Illinois.

"Actually leaving the bus there was a rumor going around that some races were canceled and it was confirmed by our coach afterwards," said Owen Skelding.

Those were the words they didn't want to hear.    

"I was disappointed; it was about an eight hour drive or so. I was excited to race here," said Skelding.

But Wolff says it's better to be safe than sorry.

He tells Channel 3 there are rescue boats on standby to help, but says if the strong winds were to capsize even a dozen boats, it could end badly.

"40-50-60 people in the water and there's just no way to safely retrieve them in a timely manner and then make sure they don't get hypothermia," said Wolff.    

But the sun will come out tomorrow.

"The weather forecast is only for seven miles per hour wind and warmer weather so tomorrow should be a great day for racing," said Wolff.

If you were unable to make it out to the Head of the Hooch on Saturday, they will be racing bright and early starting at 8:15 on Sunday.
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