REGATTA OnLine - Henley Royal Regatta Shorts
Henley Royal Regatta Shorts
Issue 101 - August 1997
Hammer Smith on what really happened at Henley.
Augusta Sculling Center opened their Henley account in the Queen Mother by leaving Melbourne University in the first few strokes. It was a hell of a way for Cyrus Beasley, Brad Layton, Chris Duffy and Brian Jamieson to celebrate the Fourth of July. They trounced four men who have a heap of international and Olympic medals between them - but now sport a combined age of 140. Paul Reedy and Peter Antonie are Australians who, on the night before, lost a thrilling duel in the Double Sculls by a foot. They were joined in the quadruple boat by the Italian Fabrizzo Ravase and the Norwegian Lars Bjoenness under Melbourne University's flag. A week's practise together produced nothing good enough to match the show staged by Augusta, the eventual winners.
The coxed four from Garrison Keillor country, the University of Minnesota, came to their end in the Britannia at the hands of a powerful crew from Hansa Hamburg. Coach Tom Altenhoften said: 'Our strength is in the body, and it's theirs too. When you get beat by a crew that's better than you, it's easier to take it. Henley has been one of the ultimate experiences in rowing, and we hope to return.' But first it's back to Lake Wobegon.
The Big Butts
It was a bad day for the young officers of the US Military Academy at their first Henley in the Britannia Cup. Ray Butts's gate popped open and his oar came out. It happened again later, but Imperial College were leading anyway. 'I'm usually a very good gate tightener,' said Senior Officer Butts as he headed for the slammer at West Point.
Roar Greets Predator
Greg Searle met Jamie Koven of Brown Univeristy in a thrilling semifinal of the Diamonds in which the American, world champion in eights in 1994, kept driving at Searle along the 1-mile 550-yard course but could not make an impression. Koven said: 'Greg had an extraordinary performance today. I was dead at Fawley. I tried to pick it up. I am so new to sculling that I learn something every time I go out. I went off too hard. I have to learn to row my own race.' He took the lesson to Lucerne a week later, where he got further than Searle. The Henley race brought thousands to their feet. At Remenham, Searle was given the benefit of the Roar. Searle said: 'I had to beat him. Whatever he did I had to match him. The Remenham Roar came into play as well. They gave me a lot of extra.' Searle's boat's decks are decorated with an enormous crocodile because, he says, he is a silent predator.
Wiking Berlin were disqualified from the Thames Cup after the first round because three were found to be former internationals, contravening the status rule 'or the event. A statement from the Chairman of the Stewards, Mike Sweeney, said: 'It has come to light that the crew from Wiking rowing in the Thames Cup is ineligible because of the composition of the crew. The crew have been disqualified.' A Thames Cup crew can have no more than two former internationals, neither of whom must have represented his country during the last four years. Entries must be verified by the club concerned and in the case of crews outside Britain, verified by the relevant national rowing federation. Lars Ziegnek, Daniel Rosenberger and Bjorn Spaeter of Wiking competed in the world championships in 1993 or 1994. Sweeney said: 'They didn't read and understand the rules properly. Perhaps next time they will.' Sixty years ago Wiking won the Grand.
Stiff Upper Blip
St Andrew's School from Delaware became the first selected crew to be knocked out at Henley after crashing through the booms along the Stewards Enclosure in their heat of the Princess Elizabeth. When leading Canford by two lengths at the Mile and Eighth signal, stroke Simon Saddleton caught a crab, followed by a second which dramatically skewed the boat into the side and crunched it to a halt. Canford cruised over the line and applauded their opponents. 'I don't like to win races like that,' said coach Derek Drury, 'but the boys responded when it mattered.' St Andrews's coach Lindsay Brown maintained a stiff upper lip after consoling the perpetrators of his shattered dream. 'The other boat came across the line first,' was all he could muster.
Out of the Water
Umpires were busy issuing warnings as fresh breezes chased the clouds away and coxless boats had steering problems. Controversially, too, when a clash between Guin Batten and Sarah Winckless appeared to go unnoticed and was recorded as a crab in the official report. Batten, leading, had drifted out of her water but was moving back onto her station when the incident occurred. Winckless recovered quickly but Batten won with ease. Winckless objected at the end but was told by umpire Robertson: 'You were out of your water and you were behind'. The Cambridge student was left wondering how an umpire could have allowed the situation to arise without giving someone a warning.
Washington brought the anonymous donor of their new boat all the way from Seattle to launch it. Liquid for the anointing was a cocktail of water from the finishing lines at Henley and Montlake Cut on Lake Union, Seattle. 'We're going to pour it on the boat and it's going to go faster than hell,' said the Huskies coach Bob Ernst.
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