Brock university hit the boom with about 150 meters to go while about ¾ length down; it didn’t appear that they would come back, but this was the only boom-smashing I’d seen, and right in front of the grandstands.
Practice pieces: a UL quad had applied bungee cords not only in the stern of their boat, but had one full bungee wrapped around the boat at each seat. That should create some load and stability, and it seemed to be working – they were rowing square blades in considerable bounce along the shore.
US crews seemed to prefer to row from behind today; the Princeton lights did it in the Temple, the Columbia lights did it in the Visitors, and Noble & Greenough did it in the PE. N&G made the most dramatic show of it, taking the lead only in the last 150 meters, and that in the Bucks lane (which would be lane 2 on most courses, the furthest lane from the grandstand), where the head current can be stronger in the final eighth of a mile. Impressive row from N&G.
Back at home, Oli R. notes the following: “A long-standing debate up here in New England has been "who's faster...fours or eights schools?" At Henley yesterday, Nobles (3rd in the V4, 1st in the JV4) beat the N.E. 8s champions from Andover. This certainly won't settle the debate in itself, but it's certainly grist for the mill...”
The Columbia University four racing in the Visitor’s Cup has a legacy to uphold: River and Rowing Museum curator and rowing historian extraordinaire Chris Dodd has informed row2k (to my shame as an alum) that 2003 is the 125th anniversary of the first American crew (there had been a single sculler before them) to compete at Henley, as well as to win at Henley. The crew rowed in the Visitors as well, and took the trophy. Another crew, the Shoe-wae-cae-mettes, a crew of French-Canadian fisherman from Monroe, Michigan, rowed in the Stewards, but failed to win after fouling another crew. The colorful history of these two crews is recalled in detail in Dodd’s book “Henley Royal Regatta.”
Lots of US crews have been racing one another in the early rounds, but they’re not the only country in that position. In the Wyfold, two German crews went head to head this afternoon. As it turned out, the losing crew in this one was a selected (seeded) crew for the event. The “three cheers” (tradition at Henley is to give three cheers for the opposing crew at the end of race, led by one member of the crew: “Hip hip” response from rest of crew: “hoorah;” etc. three times. The Germans did the same in German – the “hip hip” part remains in “English” (if these non-verbal sounds can be said to be English).
The defending World champ Canadian men’s eight has arrived at the course, showing the same unusually extreme layback they displayed last year at Worlds. The Grand Challenge is a head-to-head between Canada and the US. Record over the last 12 months has Canada winning the 2002 Worlds and the US winning the Opening Day match race in Seattle in May.