The story of the day is the clash and rerow in the Stewards race between the Canadian 4- and the US 4-. After rowing within a few seats of one another for most of the race, with Princeton Training Center trailing, the PTC pressed with about 25 strokes to go and moved up to within a couple seats of Canada (racing as Victoria City RC). Both crews had eased toward the middle of the river, and as the US crew surged, the oars of the Canadian three seat and the US bow seat started to overlap, and eventually entangled in a blink-and-you-missed-it clash and loss of the oar by Dan Beery, the US bow seat. Since both crews were "in the middle of the river," the judge immediately ordered a rerow even before the Canadian crew had pulled away from the crash (they were relatively unimpeded).
Beery, however, sustained an injured hand (it sounds like it's just a sprain), and when the crews launched again over an hour later, Ryan Torgerson, who is rowing bow in the eight, had been subbed in for Beery. Canada won the rerow by 3/4 length; that's 4100+ meters of flat-our racing for these guys.
The UW four suffered the most excruciating loss of the day against Isis (which contains a former Princeton LW at stroke) when they rowed from almost a full length down at 200m to go to draw even and (I'd swear) then ahead, only to lose on the surge of the bowballs at the finish line. The official description for the race, which occured just before the lunch break: "A splendid pre-prandial offering. Isis rowed a well-judged race and when they took the lead after 3/4 mile it looked as if they had it in the bag. But Washington never gave up and storming up the Enclosures closed the gap and almost got ahead. But in the end Isis held onto win by two feet."
The official race description from last night's final race in the Diamond Sculls between WPJ Hoodless and PJ Turner, which the vast majority of regatta attendees missed entirely: "Hoodless hooked a buoy halfway up the island and race appeared to be over when Turner drew out a 2 1/2l lead by the Barrier, but constant pressure paid off and he gradually closed on Turner, drew level at the 1 1/8 and went through opposite the grandstand when Turner almost stopped rowing."
Rutgers and Dartmouth met for the fifth time this year, having compiled a 2-2 record this year (Dartmouth took the dual, Rutgers finished ahead at Sprints and IRAs, Dartmouth won last weekend in Marlow). Rutgers won the series for 2003 after they slowly eked out a 1 1/4 length lead by the finish. The race description: "An excellent race between two good crews. Rutgers took a tiny lead at the Barrier and gradually increased this. But Dartmouth did a fine spurt at the Mile and it looked for a few strokes as if they were going through them. But they faltered at the Enclosures and Rutgers rowed away to a more comfortable win than at one time time had seemed in it."
Today's factoids: Several rowers in their 40s advanced in Thursday's racing, including Geoffrey Peel (49) in the Thames Tradesman Thames Cup eight, Matt Keller (42) of the London RC Wyfold four, and Iain Pritchard (46) in the Thames RC Britannia B crew.
Henley's heaviest ever competitor Craig Burrow, who weighed in at 19st 3 lbs last year, in back in 2003 in the Lea RC Thames Cup eight. Burrow is down to a svelte 17st 2lbs this year, but remains the heaviest competitor in the regatta.
Speaking of weight gain and loss, Martin Silcock coxed for the University of Bristol in 1985, and is rowing at this years Henley in the Sons of the Thames Thames Cup crew. Silcock is 2 stone heavier than he was as a coxswain.
By the time they reached the finish line, Cracknell and Pinsent gave the impression they won very easily today, but at the starting line it was a different story for a bit. the race description: "Leander had a wobble off the start, strayed from their station and were warned. Thereafter, they drew rapidly away from Furnivall to win as they pleased."
The most concise race description: "A very comfortable outing for Thames RC."