The town is a buzz in anticipation of the 2023 Henley Royal Regatta which starts next Tuesday (27 June).
The number of female rowers entering the 2023 Henley Royal Regatta will be twice that of 2019, reflecting the growing strength and popularity of both the sport and the three new women’s events created in 2021. There are 1,400 women in 239 crews registered.
Entries closed on Monday 12 June with 732 Entries from 17 nations registered overall, the second highest ever in its 184-year history. There are a record 581 domestic Entries and 151 international, with 61 from the USA and a first-ever representation for Zimbabwe.
Chair of Committee of management of HRR Sir Steve Redgrave said, “The doubling of the number of female rowers is testament to the successful introduction of the Prince Philip (Junior Women’s Eights), the Island (Student Women’s Eights) and the Wargrave (Club Women’s Eights) in 2021. It is more than just numbers though. This is about helping to establish pathways from junior level to the elite squads, and keeping our athletes in the sport. The talent is there, the numbers are growing, and there are events for them to grow into. We are excited to see that women’s participation is set to expand further over time.”
This year will be a barometer for British rowing’s Olympic hopes with Great Britain well-represented in most of the open events. It will be a last chance to see the crews together at Henley with the Paris 2024 Olympics just over a year away.
With another strong international entry, there will be many fascinating head-to-heads up the famous 2,112-metre Course at Henley-on-Thames. This will particularly be the case in The Queen Mother Challenge Cup (Men’s Quad Sculls), where the top boats from Britain, Canada and reigning World Champions Poland will compete.
Sir Steve commented, “Every edition of Henley Royal Regatta is unique, but a Regatta in a year before the Olympics is always significant,” Redgrave said. “We really see where crews are in their preparations, and the difference at Henley is that the gladiatorial nature of the racing means there are no hiding places. And, of course, this is the last chance to see the British squad before Paris.”
A rule change in The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup (Junior Men’s Eights) means that for the first time clubs, as well as schools, have been allowed to enter. St Paul’s School, the champions last year and Eton College have won seven out of the last eight Regattas but from now on they will have to face crews like Seattle USA’s Green Lake – whose schoolboy-aged eight performed admirably in the Thames (Club Men’s Eight) last year.
Qualification races will take place on Friday and the draw for Royal Regatta will take place in the Town Hall from noon on Saturday.
There will be no footpath bridge barriers again this year so Thameside will be closed from its junction with Hart Street and Friday Street to allow for visitors to walk safely from Henley railway station to the regatta site. The intermittent closures will take place from 9am to 11pm from Tuesday to Sunday and will last about 10 minutes.