Good morning from once again sunny and lovely (as are the ladies from the press office) Henley-on-Thames. No launch ticket today I'm afraid but fortunately the view from the press box is excellent. I'm shooting some pictures from there as well, I think they may let me as long as I don't point the camera towards Berkshire. Stewards are very private persons.
10:00 [Fawley] Sydney Univ. & UT Sydney, AUS - King's School, Parramatta, AUS
Alternating leaders in a tight race, 3 feet for Sydney, now a few feet for King's. Time to the Barrier 1min55 with a slight favourable wind. King's is pulling away. A length in it, rating 32 for the leader 34 for Sydney. C'mon guys, increase it further or you won't get there! No, King's wins it. Sydney did equal the record time to the Barrier in this event, now held by three crews no less.
10:10 [Fawley] Leander Club & Maidenhead R.C. - Yarm School
We're getting rid of a lot of Fawley boats early this day. Here go Leander and Yarm. Yarm won the national schools regatta but Leander&Maidenhead are leading by 3 feet at the quarter mile. Rating 37/36, L&M reaches the Barrier in 1min57. Same lead. At Fawley (3min16) their lead is down to 2 feet. Nice sprint by Yarm but it didn't last because passing Remenham L&M are up by half a length. They are able to keep up the rate while Yarm is down to 34 now. Consequently, the lead is increasing still. L&M win in 6min49.
10:20 [Fawley] Marlow R.C. 'A' - The Windsor Boys' School 'A'
Level crews rating 41 and 40 at the end of the island. A few feet in it at the quarter mile. Windsor leads but not royale yet. Barrier time 2min01, definitely slower than the previous crews. They won't meet them until the final though, if they even make it there. The winner from the next heat might have something to say about that. Very close near the line, absolutely level in front of the progress board. Marlow wins by a few feet because they do a better job rating 40+.
10:30 [Fawley] Sydney R.C. & Mosman R.C., AUS - Henley R.C. & Oxford Brookes
Right, Sydney&Mosman reaches the Barrier in 1min56, that's better. 3min17 to Fawley with 1/2 length lead. Both rating 35. Henley being warned for bad steering near the mile. Half a length remains. S&M seem well able to get it now, they're rowing much neater, and definitely more straight down the course. Oooh, there is a clash, but *just* behind the line for both crews. No harm done, Sydney & Mosman win by 1/2 length.
10:40 [PR] S. Balmary - N.F. Fiechter
France against Switzerland, I mean Tideway Scullers. At the end of the island both at 41, 1 length for the bronze medal winner from the 2 last world cups. Half mile and now a comfortable lead for Balmary who rates 31 against Fiechter 32. Time to Fawley 4min03. Saw Balmary walking down the lawn this morning; nice muscles mademoiselle. She puts them to good use and her lead is now deemed "commanding".
10:50 [Goblets] G. Jagar & N. Stojic - S.F. Pearson & D.A. Wyper
RC Partizan (Servia & Montenegro) vs. Jesus & Goldie. Jagar/Stojic were 1st and 2nd in the pair at this year's world cups. Three lengths at the Barrier in 2min05. Rate 33 and 36. Guess who's who? Passing Remenham, Jagar & Stojic (it's them all right) established a comfortable lead. They win easily. Wyper strikes his Empacher in frustration. Not good enough today, but what'd he expect, really?
11:00 [Remenham] Furnivall S.C. & Mortlake AA - Hollandia Roeiclub, NED
Hollandia is the Dutch national eight. They are the favourites for the race then, but no more than 2 feet in it at the quarter mile. Barrier 35 36 2min07 (how's that for shorthand). One length at the half mile, rating 33 and 35. Time to Fawley 3min30 for Hollandia. Passing Remenham 2 lengths for the Dutch girls, down to 28. Furnivall and Mortlake still at 34. They fought well for a while but it's over now. Hollandia win in 7min20.
11:10 [Britannia] Aberdeen B.C. - Army R.C.
Army rates 44 at the end of the island and lead by 1/2 length over Aberdeen at 42. Increase to a canvas at the q-mile, Army 36 Aberdeen 39. Barrier time 2min03 for Army still rating 3 or 4 lower. They're steadily increasing the lead to 1 length at Fawley. The same at Remenham, rate 35 and 37. The Red Army passes the Grandstand with 2 lengths lead. That's the verdict on the line. Army gives another effing loud cheer. Also, "Well done Aberdeen that sprint at Remenham. And Fawley." Much laughter ensues in the press box. We are pleased, verdict: easily.
11:20 [Ladies] Oxford Brookes & Oxford Univ. - Leander Club & Molesey B.C.
Crews level at the end of the island. Big race, this semifinal of the Ladies Plate. A 3 foot lead for Leander & Molesey at the 1/4 mile. Barrier in 1min49, both rating 40! L&M lead by 1/4 length. Passing Remenham it's 3/4 already, rating down slightly to 39. Fawley both 38 but a increasing lead for L&M at 2/3 length, time 3min04. One length at the mile. Leander moving over dangerously close to the centre line. After a slight course correction, no warning given, they win it in 6min17 by 3/4 length. They're in the final against Princeton or Stanford, who race at 3.20 pm.
11:30 [PG] University of London - Thames R.C.
Near the mile both at 34, half a length for UnivLondon, they're warned for their steering.
Same situation nearing the stands, in the meantime both have been warned for their steering. No clash, Univ beat Thames by 3/4 length in 7min31.
11:40 [Britannia] Reading R.C. - York City R.C.
An exciting race of two coxed club fours. York City wins.
11:50 [Diamonds] W.P.J. Hoodless - A.M. Drysdale
Will Hoodless push Drysdale beyond 21? Two 1/2 lengths at the end of the island, hmmm. FIVE at the quarter mile. It's another grand, I mean diamond, day out for Mahe. How does one pronounce that name anyway. Oooh, he's going for the record at the Barrier and equals it in 2:05! (Chalupa 1989). Down to 26 now, he's had his workout. Hoodless puts in an effort sculling at 33, Drysdale maintains an easy lead by going at 25.
Appreciative clapping from Stewards' when the announcer mentions the Barrier record. Drysdale: "Ah, equalled?!"
12:00 [Grand] Leander Club & Oxford Brookes - Marine Technical Univ., RUS
First race of the Grand between the GB eight and, presumably, the Russian eight. Hmm maybe not, 2.5 lengths lead for Leander & Brookes at the quarter mile. Time to the Barrier 1min45, 2 seconds outside the record set by 2 US and 1 Canadian crew. That's that then, a comfortable lead while rating 29. Finishing time 6min24, for what it's worth
12:10 [Temple] A.S.R. Nereus, NED - Oxford Brookes University 'A'
Nereus won the Temple a few years ago. Brookes haven't in a while. Totally different crews now, of course. Speaking off course (ugh), there has been a false start. Restart and level at the end of the island. Nereus 46, Brookes Brothers 44. At the quarter mile, the latter have been warned for their steering, Nereus leads by a canvas. Nereus at 36 for 1min53 at the Barrier, 1/4 length to Brookes who have again been warned. But back to level at Remenham farm! At Fawley, Nereus are now at 37, OxBrookes are at 35 and still level, 3min10. Passing Remenham club, both at 35, OxBrookes warned agaaayn, but a ¼ length ahead. Half a length for OxBrookes at the mile, rating 37 vs 36. The rate is going up and up, gap stays the same! Brookes win it by 1/3 length in 6min30, for what it's worth (a lot).
12:20 [Visitors] Molesey B.C. & Imperial Coll. - Army R.C.
It's a good Visitors' competition. Searle and Searle (gold Barcelona 1992) and the other two don't reach the Barrier first, Army does in 1min58. At Fawly (3min18) Army rates 35, M&I 37, both crews warned for their steering. Army leads by 3/4 length. Army doesn't steer well and lose most of their advantage, now a canvas at the mile. Level at the mile 1/8! Quite a roar from the stands. Now M&I lead! A canvas, half a length, Army are crashing down. Oh wait it's not Airforce. Searle Bros et al. very happy.
Lunch time! Time to relax after some very exciting racing. Good stuff. Zum Wohl!
Back from a short carpark visit where some friends were serving lunch. Cheers! Burp.
2:00 [PR] M.H. Pauls - M. van Eupen
Van Eupen, the reigning world champion lightweight single sculls, rowed through Pauls from Imperial College.
2:10 [M Quads] Henley R.C. & Tideway Scullers - Newcastle Univ. & Durham Univ.
Henley & Tideway had the early advantage but were level again at the 1/4 mile. Newcastle & Durham reach the Barrier first, 1/4 length ahead. One length now at Fawley, 3min14 for N&D at 37, H&T at 36. The situation stabelizes (sp?) for a while, but H&T find their 2nd wind and come through in the end! Less than a length.
2:20 [Goblets] J.L. Rollason & A.Z. Gitlin - P.N. Daniels & B.G. Williams
The circus duo Barney and Paul Daniels the magician were in Oxford's Blue Boat this year and have considerable international pedigree. Three lengths up at Fawley in 3min37 with a slight breeze against. Rating 26 at the mile, they can relax now. Not a fair race against a bunch of Plymouth Amateurs (that's how the BC is called anyway).
2:30 [PE] The King's School, Chester - Phillips, Andover, USA
Half a length for Chester halfway down the course. A length on the line? Yes it is! min33 and Phillips Andover are understandably very disappointed. It takes them a few minutes to get going again. Chester against St Ignatius in the final? We'll know at 3:47 pm.
2:40 [Remenham] Thames R.C. & Univ. of London - Princeton Training Center, USA
GBR vs. USA. Princeton have a half length lead at the quarter mile. New record at the Barrier! 1min56 down from 1min59. Rating only 34 so they can do even better. GB are at 35. New record at Fawley by 7 seconds! 3min14 for the Training Center (yes yes, with -er not -re), 1.5 lengths in front and still at 34. Increasing to 2 lengths near the Regatta Enclosure, 2.5 in front of the Grandstand and also the verdict. 6min44 is a new course record by 12 whole seconds.
2:50 [M Quads] Leander Club - University of London 'A'
This was a very narrow victory by 1 foot for Leander, sorry I missed it while getting some water to survive the heat. Leander are screaming and shouting after the line. Do the Stewards still mind that stuff?
3:00 [Grand] Hollandia Roeiclub, NED - Dortmund RC, GER
The big match of the day between Holland and Germany, their national eights. Will the Germans have rediscovered the right combination after a disastrous world cup in Poland? Lead 1/4 length for Hollandia at the end of the island and the 1/4 mile. Time at the Barrier 1min46, 3 seconds outside the record, both rating 40. Hollandia leads Dortmund by 1/3 of a length. Half a length and 2min56 at Fawley, still 3 seconds outside the record and 1/2 length for Hollandia. Passing the mile rating 37, still 1/2 length for the Dutch. Same situation at the regatta enclosure. Now they're pulling away! Hollandia wins by 3/4 length, 6 seconds outside the record set by Dortmund in '89. Great! Entschuldigen Sie mein Holländisches Vergnügen :)
3:10 [D Sculls] L. Spik & I. Cop - N.H Simonsen & M.G Adamsen
The reigning world champions from Slovenia against 7 of 6, the Norge drones. Four lengths at the Barrier for Spock & Chip, just outside the record set by Redgrave (yes he can scull) in 1982. Comfortable lead at Fawley. Sigh, time to settle down the heart rate after the thriller 10 minutes ago. the Norwegians now moving over to Berks completely. It doesn't matter, they're beaten easily. They may console themselves with Hushovd's win in the Tour de France prologue.
3:20 [Ladies] Princeton University, USA - Stanford University, USA
Another Big Race! Princeton 49 and 1/2 length at the end of the island. Passing Remenham Princeton already have 1 length on Stanford. At Fawley both are rating 36 and Princeton reaches it in 3min03 up a length. Same gap for a while but Stanford is upping the rate. Princeton now countering, 37 vs. 36 and it remains 1 length. Now 1.5 length at the stands! Yes they can draw away, rating higher than Stanford and keeping up very good form. Impressive win by Princeton in 6min18, 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Stanford. Princeton up against Leander & Molesey who rowed 6min17 in much less favourable conditions earlier today. Are the Brits the favourites now? On the other hand that was a much tighter race. Should be good.
3:30 [PG] Leander & Mortlake Anglian - Marlow R.C. & Univ. of London
Five lengths at the mile, no contest. The town & gown combination wins it.
3:40 [PE] St Ignatius College Prep., USA - Shrewsbury School
A close race! Rating 37 at the mile, a canvas for St Ignatius after Shrewsbury was trailing by almost a length. Some swerving by St Ignition but they're pulling themselves together, rating goes up sparkingly and they win by 2/3 of a length.
3:50 [D Sculls] Z. Hirling & T Varga - M.W. Wells & S.C. Rowbotham
The GB double came 4th and 3rd in the world cups and are reigning B-final world champions. They should be the favourites against the lightweight Hungarians of whom the bow is especially scrawny. Yes, it's going according to schedule. The Hungarians are fighting hard but Leander & Univ London are constantly increasing their lead over Spartacus SC. Verdict 3 lengths and 7min00, only 5 seconds slower than Jamieson & Gleeson from the US in 1995. Fine sculling by both, the Hungarians will be back and going for gold in Lucerne!
Tea! Meanwhile the carnival on the river is really coming alive. Who can blame them at these Brazilian temperatures.
5:00 [Wyfold] Marlow R.C - London R.C. 'A'
I missed this one, sorry. Marlow beats London by 1.5 lengths, not setting any records.
5:10 [Thames] Agecroft R.C. - The Tideway Scullers' School
Half a length for Agecroft at the Barrier in 1min51. 3min08 for reaching Fawley. Still 1/2 length, both rating 37. Tideway's closing in, a canvas at the mile. Reversed positions! Rating 40, level at the Hole in the Wall. Charging the line, I think Agecroft may have taken it by a foot. They did, in 6min27.
5:20 [PA] University of London 'A' - Goldie B.C.
Univ takes half a length at the end of the island. Now 1.5 lengths at the 1/4 mile. Both still rating 39/40. 1min59 to the Barrier, 2.5 lengths. Clear advantage and beating their own record from yesterday by 1 second. Reaching the Grandstand, 2 lengths but rating 37 still. Univ take it and are happy to show it as well. 2.5 lengths and 7min02. It's a staggering 16 seconds faster than Imperial on Thursday.
5:30 [Temple] Cornell University, USA - Univ California, Berkeley, USA
Started! Cornell on Berkshire. At the quarter mile 1/4 length for Cornell after Berkeley led by a few foot at the end of the island. 3/4 length rating 38 in 1min50 to the Barrier, 3 seconds slower than the record. Berkeley at 35. 3min05 to Fawley, excellent because it's a slight headwind now. Still 3/4 lengths at the mile. Berkeley are closing! Cornell doesn't look worried, keeping good form. Down to 1/2 length but 3/4 again on the line. Cornell will meet Oxford Brookes University in the final.
5:40 [Visitors] Oxford Brookes & Reading Univ. - A.S.R. Nereus, NED
Rating 46 at the end of the island and a canvas lead for the Dutch crew from Amsterdam. Q-mile and rates are 42 v. 41, still a canvas. Now a few feet at the Barrier for Nereus in 1min54, only 1 second outside Isis' 1998 time. 3min13 to Fawley by.... OxBrookes & Reading! That equals the record by same. A canvas for them. Rating 37 and 36, now increasing lead to 3/4 length passing Remenham. A comeback by Nereus would be miraculous. Nope, they can't do it. The finishing time of OxBrookes & Reading beats the record by an Irish composite crew in 2003 by 2 sec: 6min39. One length or thereabouts.
5:50 [PA] Durham University - Imperial College, London
Almost two lengths at Remenham farm for Imperial. Time to Fawley 3min20 for Imperial having 2 lengths clear water. Imperial can ease off a little to 31 nearing the Regatta Enclosure. Should be a good final between them and UnivLondon. IC broke the record over the course again by 1 second to 7min01.
6:00 [Wyfold] Thames R.C. 'A' - Leander Club
Postponed because Leander broke a backstay.
6:10 [Diamonds] C.M. Palmer - G.J. van der Linden
Palmer leads by 1/2 length at the 1/4 mile. Palmer leads by 1 1/3 length at the Barrier in 2min16 rating 35. Fawley 3min50 and Van der Linden closing in slightly to 1 1/4 length. Palmer gets his 2nd warning for steering now but he leads by 1.5 lengths. It keeps increasing to 2 lengths at the mile, rating 33 v. 30. VDL couldn't be keeping anything in reserve, could he? Yes he is able to lift the rate to 35 now, 36 even, but he's not coming any closer. Palmer keeps it at 1.5 lengths. Drysdale is looking down on them with amusement from the press box. Palmer beware.
6:20 [Thames] Belfast R.C. - London R.C. 'A'
London leads Belfast by a canvas at the quarter mile. Rating 39/38, London reaches the Barrier first in 1min52. Lead remains 1/4 length for a stretch now. Almost a length at Fawley and increasing further down the course, both at 36. Two lengths in front of the Grandstand. Belfast is having too much balance problems to be any threat.
6:30 [Fawley] King's School, Parramatta, AUS - Leander Club & Maidenhead R.C.
Time to Fawly 3min15 for King's, leading by 2 lengths. They keep that up to the line but have raced so hard they can hardly cheer Leander & Maidenhead. Good race.
6:40 [Fawley] Marlow R.C. 'A' - Sydney R.C. & Mosman R.C., AUS
This semifinal was eclipsed by radio commentary from the England-Portugal quarter final. One of them may have won.
7:00 [Wyfold] Thames R.C. 'A' - Leander Club
Leander, with a new backstay, are sloooowly moving up to the start. Thames leads by 2 lengths and needs 1min54 to the Barrier. The gap is growing. Past Remenham Club, it's 4 lengths. Both are rating 35/36. Nearing the enclosures, the lead has dropped to 3 lengths, but Thames' rating has also dropped to 31. Leander are very angry and frustrated behind the finishing line but manage to pull out: "Sorry Thames that we didn't give you a fair race."
The Grenadier Guards do their last job of the day and pipe one line of God Save the Queen. That's it for another hot day in the sun. Fireworks tonight and big finals day tomorrow, see you there!