Henley Royal Regatta 2010
This year, a three boat contingent prepared for qualifiers at HRR in the Wyfolds and Thames Challenge Cups. The weeks leading up to early July were busy with the usual trialling, crew re-organisation, crew debilitation and (most importantly) much banter. But it was all worth it. Our Thames VIII crew pre-qualified, a first for PTRC, shortly followed by composite double that didn’t have to qualify, and then the Wyfolds IV- delivered a strong performance to match their form in the multi-lanes and qualified from a huge field. This then gave us the best part of a week paddling the course in the evening sunshine before the regatta started.
The draw was less kind. Wednesday of HRR first brought up the Wyfolds IV- against Muckross, a seeded bunch from Ireland. After some competitive steering off the island Muckross, took an early lead; one from which PTRC would not recover.
By 5pm a modest head wind had picked up and the Putney Town Choir, having just finished afternoon tea, washed down the last of their jam scones appropriately in preparation for the second PTRC event of the day. Faced by Henley RC for the second time in 3 years, there was precious little time to consider why the 8 keeps getting drawn against the same Senior VIII boats year-on-year. At the drop of the flag, everything seemed a bit of a blur and somewhat surreal that months of training and banter had come to a handful of minutes on a Wednesday afternoon. Down and out by 2 ½ lengths the 8+ retired to the bar(s).
On Thursday, the PTRC / Twickenham composite double had a similarly tough draw against Uru and Taylor of NZ – recent lightweight world champions. Despite a great fight, they were beaten by 4 ½ lengths in a good race.
Day 3 of HRR:….. is PTRC Friday. Frocks, suits, shorts, blazers, cravats and Pimms were in abundance as probably 50 members of clan-PTRC commandeered large swathes of the tow-path outside of the Barn Bar. With nothing but heavy legs preventing (most of) us from falling in due to excessive alcohol consumption we made merry til the wee small hours, only losing a total of six mobile phones to the river gods that day. Thus the day and the event ended for most of us there. But we’ll be back next year I imagine…. with however many boats and a selection of new phones.