Crews get set for close encounter at Henley Boat Races
CHALLENGERS Oxford laid down the gauntlet to last year’s winners Cambridge for the Henley Boat Races tomorrow (Saturday). The races pit the lightweight men’s and women’s crew against each other over 2,000m along the Henley reach from Phyllis Court Club to Temple Island.
The River and Rowing Museum hosted the official challenge presentation on Tuesday. Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club lightweight captain Patricia Smith accepted the challenge from Lucy Roberts, Oxford University Women’s Lightweight Rowing Club president, followed by Alec Trigger, president of Oxford’s lightweight club, laying down the challenge to Charlie Cullen, president of Cambridge University Lightweight Rowing Club.
The launch of the event, which started 41 years ago, was compered by rowing commentator Robert Treharne Jones who said: “I’m hoping racing will be just as close as last year where we witnessed a combined verdict of seven feet.”
Nanda Pirie, chairwoman of the executive committee for the Henley Boat Races, welcomed the rowers. She said: “We all know how hard you’ve trained. You have had just as many gruelling sessions as your open weight counterparts and given just as much blood, sweat and tears to your preparation. Be proud of being here today.”
The women’s boat race had been held at the event since 1977 but moved down the river to London in 2015 to be raced along the same course at the men’s boat race.