On Saturday Steve and I (and our friend Wendy) went a few miles downstream to Henley to check out the Henley Royal Regatta. On the surface it is a set of rowing races, but it is really, for most of the spectators, mainly a social event. Regardless, I’ll cover the boating today and the social aspects tomorrow.
The races are run with two boats head to head. An ‘umpire’ in a motorized boat chases the crew boats. The course is almost 1.5 miles long so a spectator can’t see the start and the finish. Most boats didn’t have their school or club name big enough to read, and you couldn’t see much of the rowers uniforms, so without a program we really had no idea who we were watching. The crews row against the current, so they don’t actually go by as fast as I thought they would. They also only come by about every 10 minutes. This of course makes it, well, pretty boring to sit there all day. That is why it is an excellent social event.
I had never seen an 8-man (or woman) crew rowing before and it struck me just how much the boat seemed to ‘lurch’ when all 8 incredibly strong people stroked at the same time. I’m also not sure why those skinny little boats don’t tip over all the time.