Close Racing at Town & Visitors’ Regatta

Fine conditions and a challenging breeze made for a great day of racing at the Henley Town & Visitors’ Regatta last weekend with 288 crews from over 40 rowing clubs competing in 134 races, running continuously from 9am to 7pm. The growing popularity of the event meant that the organisers had more entries than they could accommodate. The weather was kind and attracted good crowds who were able to enjoy the racing, the pop-up food stalls and a friendly environment by the river.

There was some close racing at all levels with two dead heats and several close finishes. In the final of Junior 15 quadruple sculls, Falcon Rowing Club from Oxford battled it out against Hereford Rowing Club, with the lead changing from one to the other as they approached the finish line. The judges declared a dead heat, so the young crews had to turn around and race again, with Falcon finally winning through. Earlier in the day the young Hereford double of Alfie Wynter and William Morgan-Jones had nearly suffered the same fate, but squeezed victory by just 1 foot over an experienced Birmingham and Nottingham double.

Local competitors were in short supply as many regular faces were attending the European Masters Championships in Germany. But Leon Redman and Ben MacKenzie of Henley Rowing Club won their double sculls final by 1 length, and their clubmates Agnes Chapman and Grace Haldane (pictured above) won in Women’s Junior 14 double sculls beating Stratford in the final by 1 length.  Shiplake Vikings J15 double sculls (Eva Tassell and Sophie Miller) beat Wallingford by 3/4 length.  A combined Martyrs/Upper Thames crew won the Masters Quadruple Sculls by 4 lengths.

Among the successful visitors were several crews from Münden in central Germany, who were being hosted by their friends at Staines Boat Club. Together the two clubs came away with 7 wins.

The Victor Ludorum for the most successful club at the Regatta became a nip-and-tuck battle between Marlow, Wallingford and Vesta Rowing Clubs, with each taking the lead during the afternoon’s finals. But in the end Vesta RC, from Putney, were victorious and claimed the Peter Sutherland Challenge Cup. One of their many successes was in Open Coxless Fours, competing for the Town Cup. This is the pride of the Regatta’s trophy collection, having been created for the first Henley Regatta in 1839, and was presented to the winning crew by Henley Mayor Sarah Miller.

Regatta President Peter Knowles said, “It’s been a fantastic Regatta showcasing the best of Henley both on and off the water. The competitors I spoke to really enjoyed the day and will definitely be back next year. Also thank you to the spectators that came, supported this local event and cheered on the crews.”

The Regatta ran on schedule throughout the day which is no mean feat. Regatta Chairman Mark Davies said after the last race “I’d like to thank all our volunteers, subscribers, sponsors and supporters who do so much to make the regatta a success. The Regatta Committee would also like to thank the Stewards of Henley Royal Regatta, who allow us to use their land and facilities, and Henley-on-Thames Town Council who have supported the Regatta consistently for many years. Particular thanks also go to the younger juniors of Henley RC who manned the stake boats at the start all day in warm and humid conditions.”

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