Henley: Inside the world’s most famous rowing regatta | CNBC Sports

Henley: Inside the world’s most famous rowing regatta | CNBC Sports


Boats, boaters and blazers. The Henley Royal Regatta is one of the
most famous rowing events in the world. For five days, thousands of spectators
will come and watch crews from all over the world battle it
out on the river Thames. The first Henley Regatta was held in 1839
and has taken place every year since, except during the two World Wars. It was named the Henley Royal Regatta in
1851 when Prince Albert became its patron. Heatwave Henley and a
kaleidoscope of fashions. The social aspect of one of the most
delightful sporting events on the calendar. Since then, every reigning British
monarch has accepted the role. It’s just one of the many
traditions in this event. It’s sort of part of British eccentricity.
It’s part top-class sport. There’s a bit of festival going
in there. There’s fancy dress. It’s sort of got it all, and
there’s nothing else like it. It really is a wonderful sort
of celebration of rowing. The regatta runs several competitions
for competitors with differing abilities from school teams to Olympic champions. We’ve got lots of tiers so
you get a sort of full array. It can be the focus of lots of people’s
seasons to come here and compete. Since the very first day I started rowing
you see Henley, that is the pinnacle. That’s what you work towards, that’s what
you grind towards over the winter months. How proud are you that your son or daughter
is going to be racing at Royal Henley Regatta? Son, it’s a son. And we are proud and pleased but every day is a
knockout here, so we’re hoping for success today but if not it’s been an
honor to row here anyway. This is inside the competitors’ boat tent. We’re going to be following a race between two English
schools, Windsor Boys’ School and Westminster School. They’re racing in the quarter final of a
knockout competition called the Fawley Cup. The two lane course they’ll be rowing runs
along the Henley Reach, a naturally straight part of the River Thames and is banked by the
counties of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire on one side and
Berkshire on the other. There are multiple timing points along the
course before the boats reach the one mile mark where they begin to pass the first
grandstands in the Regatta Enclosure. This is followed by the larger Stewards’ Enclosure,
where thousands cheer the crews on until they cross the finishing
line, ending up near Henley Town. The traditional length of the course is one mile 550
yards, about 125 yards longer than a standard course. Each race has an Umpire, whose job is to ensure
teams keep on their side of the course. While it’s the job of each crew to direct their
own boats, the umpire may shout warnings if they believe a crew is interfering
in the outcome of the race by rowing across another
boat’s line or clashing oars. At the first Regatta 179 years ago, they actually
rode on horseback along the river bank. Today they follow the race in this powered
boat called the Umpire’s Launch. Not only does it provide one of the best
views of the race, it’s also where this man’s decisions can see a team
win or lose the race. Attention. Go! Westminster School you can see on the Bucks
station up against the Windsor Boys’ School. Windsor Boys are the favorites for the race, but
it’s Westminster that come out the gates fastest. Westminster School have
really got out well there. Westminster School have set
a pretty ferocious early pace. By the halfway mark, however,
Windsor Boys have regained the lead. Yeah, so Windsor now
just turning the screw. It’s a lead they extend all
the way to the finish line. After going half a length down early on
in the race, they kept their composure. Windsor Boys’ School beating Westminster
in the Fawley Challenge Cup. Every race at Henley, you never
know what you’re going to get, and they gave us a very good
race, the whole way really. Yeah it was a pretty hard race. We kind of did what we were trying to do. We executed
it pretty well. We just weren’t really fast enough. As expected, Westminster
really took them on at the start line. I mean, they really went after it, so
they made our lives very difficult. Will this be quite a tough loss for them? For a lot of these boys, it’s the highest
ever sporting achievement they’ll ever face. I mean, grown men cry
because they lose a race here. Windsor Boys’ School would go on to the win their next
two races and be crowned the Fawley Cup champions. For the many spectators however, rowing
is just one part of this regatta. Alongside the sporting drama
is a social event like no other. Behind me is the Steward’s Enclosure. To get in here, you have to be a
member or one of their guests. It’s also got a very strict dress
code – for men, jackets and ties and for women, dresses
that come below the knee. As important as the fashion
is the food and drink. Spectators will consume more than 1 tonne
of strawberries and salmon during the week. All washed down with 4,500 bottles of champagne
and more than 20,000 pints of Pimm’s. We start serving from about 12 o’clock today,
and it’s absolutely critical that we get the timings right just to make sure that everybody
gets the best experience that they can. Nearly 1,700 to 1,800 people
in this particular marquee. Is it quite calm in the kitchen? I would say quite calm. If we’re flapping and shouting,
that says to me we’re in trouble. Talk me through the food
that we’ve got on the table. So today, we’re going to be serving in the region of
about 1,500 of these Orkney-caught smoked salmon. That’s the main starter of the day. Two cold main courses
but this is one of them. It’s a breast of chicken stuffed with
a applewood cheese mousseline. Once they’ve had that, we’ve got 15 minutes
to re-do the dining room, to do afternoon teas. We’ll be serving around about, 600, 650 afternoon
teas in this one area this afternoon. It’s got some very unique quintessentially British
standards or things that we have to achieve. This is a regatta that showcases rowing of the
highest level, but for many it’s so much more. An event that is the highlight
of their summer social calendar.

8 Replies to “Henley: Inside the world’s most famous rowing regatta | CNBC Sports”

  1. lol at the man who had to cut his partner off to specifically say that it was his son rowing (no-one cares m8)

  2. Horse racing has the Breeders cup. Rowing has the InBreeders Cup. Blue blooded horse faces time to shag the lower classes the gene pool needs mixing.

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