The Henley Regattas: Ladies First

Pic 1
A copy of this splendid poster is available from the HWR Shop. © Henley Women’s Regatta.

Tim Koch has been to see the start of the first of this year’s Henley Regattas.

Born in 1988 after failed attempts to introduce women’s races to Henley Royal Regatta, Henley Women’s Regatta (HWR) is today one if the major events for female rowers from around the world. Friday, 19 June, saw the start of this three-day event with 426 crews (up 53 from last year) hoping for success. This year has HWR’s largest ever overseas entry with representation from USA, Canada, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Australia and New Zealand as well as the regatta’s first entrant from Israel. The elite eights will be fought out between Leander, Cornell, Brown, Stanford, Oxford University and Imperial College. The Oxford boat has just two changes from their winning boat race crew but two times Olympic gold medalist Caryn Davies is still at stroke. All the action can be followed on Twitter and the website results page. Friday’s results are here. It’s time for me to catch the train to Henley to view Saturday’s action but, hopefully, the pictures below from Friday’s qualifying races and from the early ‘one on one’ races will capture the spirit of the event better than my attempts at prose can. Apologies for the slight pink and green bias in the pictures, I naturally spent a lot of my time following my own club, Auriol Kensington.

Pic 2. There were qualifying time trials for oversubscribed events. Richard Phelps instructs a Thames double to move to the start.
There were qualifying time trials for oversubscribed events. Richard Phelps instructs a Thames double to move to the start.
Pic 3. Time trials – the club coxed fours get ready.
Time trials – the club coxed fours get ready.
Pic 4. Auriol Kensington ‘A’ passes Temple Island.
Auriol Kensington ‘A’ passes Temple Island.
Pic 5. The first stroke from London.
The first stroke from London.
Pic 6. End of the Island.
End of the Island.
Pic 7. Cantabrigian finds the Henley course straighter than the Cam.
Cantabrigian finds the Henley course straighter than the Cam.
Pic 8. Qualifying time trials for the doubles.
Qualifying time trials for the doubles.
Pic 9. ‘Proper’ racing starts: one on one, side by side.
‘Proper’ racing starts: one on one, side by side.
Pic 10. Sadly, the women racing have no time to admire the view.
Sadly, the women racing have no time to admire the view.
Pic 11. Club Eights, Sons of the Thames against their near neighbours, Auriol Kensington. Umpire Matthew Pinsent gets the crews ready.
Club Eights, Sons of the Thames against their near neighbours, Auriol Kensington. Umpire Matthew Pinsent gets the crews ready.
Pic 12. AK make a splash.
AK make a splash.
Pic 13. AK win by 1 1/3 lengths.
AK win by 1 1/3 lengths.
Pic 14. Club coxed fours, Auriol Kensington ‘A’.
Club coxed fours, Auriol Kensington ‘A’.
Pic 15. In a heat of the club coxed fours, Auriol Kensington led all the way but, in a remarkable recovery in the last few hundred metres, York closed the gap to lose by two feet.
In a heat of the club coxed fours, Auriol Kensington led all the way but, in a remarkable recovery in the last few hundred metres, York closed the gap to lose by two feet.
Pic 16. Henley’s most famous woman, suitably attired for the warm weather, looks forward to more great racing on Saturday and Sunday.
Henley’s most famous woman, suitably attired for the warm weather, looks forward to more great racing on Saturday and Sunday.

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