Henley Friday: Temperatures Rise, Records Fall

Parasols are generally thought of as a Victorian accessory, but they may make a comeback at Henley as temperatures in the Stewards’ Enclosure (where shade is at a premium) are forecast to be around 30°C/85°F over the next few days.

7 July 2018

Tim Koch warms to the occasion.

The talk at Henley is not just about the heat, there are also conversations about how 2018 is shaping up to be a’Classic Henley’. People have different ideas about what this actually means, but my definition mirrors that of Leander’s understated requirement for membership: good fellowship and proficiency in oarsmanship. That much of the oarsmanship has been, to say the least, ‘proficient’ is confirmed by the italicised press release reproduced below and also by Matt Pinsent’s “Highlights of Day 3” on the HRR YouTube Channel. I hope that my pictures also help illustrate this fact.

A convincing win for Gmelin of Ruderclub Uster, Switzerland, over Baatz of Agecroft in a heat of the Princess Royal. The winner weighed in at 69 kg, the loser at 86 kg.
In the Fawley, Windsor Boys’ School shows their class, beating Westminster School by 1 1/4 lengths.
A Latymer School blazer paired with Thames Rowing Club trousers is an interesting combination.

On a stunning day in the Thames Valley, with a brisk tailwind keeping spectators cool and boats fast during the morning session, record fell on the Friday. Imperial College broke every marker record to finish the course two seconds inside the existing time in the Prince Albert Challenge Cup. The University of Washington beat the record set by A.S.R. Nereus to the Fawley marker in the Temple Challenge Cup, whilst numerous other times were equalled across the morning session. 

In the heat of the Thames Cup between Thames ‘B’ and NSR Oslo, Norway, there was a fight to the line…
In 2017, Thames ‘B’ were the runners-up to their ‘A’ crew in the Thames Cup, but there was to be no all-Thames final this year…
The Norwegians won by 3/4 length.

2018 will be remembered as the year when juniors took to the fore in events over which they do not usually preside. Montclair Mounties, a schoolboy combination racing in the Thames Challenge Cup, reached the club eights semi-final after defeating an outfit from Cork Boat Club, Ireland. St Paul’s School continues to look indomitable in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup, defeating Latymer School with ease. Elsewhere, Maidenhead’s national title-winning quad wouldn’t look out of place in the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup after another consummate performance in their quarter-final. 

In a heat of the Diamonds, the 39-year-old Mahé Drysdale of West End RC, New Zealand, beat PM Tufte (not the two-times Olympic Champion) of NSR Oslo, Norway.
In another Diamond’s race, Burns of Clydeside ARC raced Borch of Horten Roklubb, Norway, the latter winning by 2 lengths.

The closest race of the Regatta so far came in an event that only celebrates its sixth birthday this year. The Diamond Jubilee has a lot to offer after four-times winners Gloucester did not enter a crew to defend their title, and it has not disappointed. After Y Quad Cities Rowing Association knocked out home favourites Henley, Latymer shared the contest of the day with Ruderverein Kreuzgasse E.V., Köln, Germany, with the Tideway-based boat taking the win by a single foot.  

Perhaps the noisiest race of the day was between two schools, Radley College (left) and Shiplake College (right).
Shiplake gave away 2 stone/12.7 kg per boy but kept fighting to the end, eventually losing by 3/4 length.
Inside the decidedly low-tech Progress Board.

The American crews at the Regatta continued their assault on the Temple Challenge Cup. The University of Washington, winners of the overall points trophy at the IRA National Championships, beat 2015 winners A.S.R Nereus whilst Yale and Princeton shared a lung-buster down the course just before the lunch break. In the end, the East Coast Bulldogs defeated the Tigers by a canvas. Yale will now meet long-term rivals Washington in a blockbuster Saturday semi-final. 

In the Town Challenge Cup, Princeton Training Center, USA, were beaten in the last few strokes by the University of London and Leander Club, the Brits winning by 1 length.
Norway’s Christiania Roklub’s entry for the Princess Grace. They beat a Newcastle/Sheffield University composite by 2 1/2 lengths.
Men of Bonner Ruder-Gesellschaft e.V, Germany, with a couple of new fans. When asked if the mustard trousers were a club tradition, I was told that ‘they are now’.

Two of GB’s brightest young pairs came head-to-head on the Henley stretch in a race that many would have felt they could predict beforehand. Josh Bugajski and James Rudkin, a combination for Great Britain in the latest World Cup, were strong favourites and led by clear water at one point during the race. They appeared to wind down a little too much, as a powerful sprint from Rossiter and Glenister of Leander Club ran them down in the closing metres. 

Oxford Brookes and Edinburgh University beating Cantabrigian by 3/4 length in the Ladies’.
Molesey ‘A’ beating Star Club in the Wyfolds by 1 3/4 lengths.
Part of the Temple Challenge Cup. In the background, Sir Matthew Pinsent.

Saturday at Henley Royal Regatta is an intense collection of sporting moments encased by banks of social revelry and archetypal English summer. In the Temple Challenge Cup, Washington faces Yale in a rematch of the top two at the IRA National Championships, whilst we’ll also see Leander look to go one better than last year as they meet N.S.R Oslo in the Thames Challenge Cup semi-finals. We also see the Great Britain’s men’s eight for the first time, taking on a combination from Australia, whilst the University of Washington’s Remenham Cup crew face Leander and the University of London. 

Pimm’s on a stick?

Henley Past and Present:

1933: Kent School from Connecticut, USA, winners of the Thames Cup, pass Hobbs Boat Hire and The Little White Hart Hotel.
2018: Yale University from Connecticut, USA, contestants in the Temple, pass the former Hobbs’s (now an estate agents and a fancy paint shop) and the former Little White Hart, now flats and shops.


One comment

  1. Agree with Tim, in over 50 years of attending HRR I cannot recall a more hot and humid Henley!

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