UCSB’s men’s varsity club rowing team is heading to Boston this weekend to participate in the world’s largest multi-day rowing competition.

The legendary “Head of the Charles” tourna- ment — held on the Charles River between Boston and Cambridge — will play host to a vast spread of rowing teams competing in multiple athletic categories. A highly selective competition, the 2012 regatta represents the first time in recent history that UCSB has been selected to send its team to participate. Select boats from the varsity men’s crew team will be representing UCSB at the 3.2 mile-long race.

According to the team’s head coach, Desmond Stahl, the “Head of the Charles” competition is one of the most prestigious in the nation. “This particular race has developed into one of the biggest races in the world,” Stahl said. “Boston is one of the biggest rowing cities in the country. Every year it brings together the rowing world.”

For many of the athletes on the Gaucho rowing crew, the opportunity to participate in this event represents a culmination of their strenuous and disciplined training efforts over the past several years. According to Demetrio Ramirez, fourth-year team veteran and president of the rowing club, the team found out about the tournament in the summer and worked during their off-time to be able to participate.

“[They] are the hardest working people I’ve ever met,” Ramirez said. “For this particular race we were told about it around midsummer [and we] made a decision with the people who were interested in training, and while everyone else was taking a break off in the summer, we were training pretty hard.” Though the UCSB rowing team was established more than 40 years ago, the Gaucho crew tra- dition is relatively young when compared to many of the race’s other participants. UCSB will compete alongside Yale, which established the country’s first col- lege-level crew in 1843, as well as long-standing fleets from Harvard, Princeton and Brown. Notable Californian entries this year will include UC Berkeley and Stanford University. Far from being intimidated by the expe- rienced competition, Ramirez said the Gaucho crew has grown as a team as a result of preparing for the upcoming race. “The level of commitment and just the hard work that goes into it — through that commitment and hard work, bonds are created between all of us,” Ramirez said.