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Published: August 7th 2008
What do you get when you mix 18 mates, Pimms, picnic food, sun, more champers than you can drink ... oh and some rowing? A bloody good time.
Henley Regatta was first held in 1839 and has been held annually ever since (except during the two World Wars). It was originally staged by the Mayor and people of Henley as a one day public attraction with a fair and other amusements, but now it is all about the drinking ... sorry ... rowing and has become a 5 day extravaganza. It apparently occupies a special place in the world of rowing - because it started long before national or international rowing federations were established, it has its own rules and is not subject to the jurisdiction either of the governing body of rowing in England (the Amateur Rowing Association) or of the International Rowing Federation (F.I.S.A.) (although it is officially recognised by both these bodies). Although most Regattas are multi-lane, Henley still operates a knock-out draw with only two boats racing in each heat. Races start every 5 minutes and, as the course takes about 7 minutes, there are often two races in action on the course at any one
Hmmmm - interesting. To be honest - none of us watched much of the racing - our spot was about halfway along the river and we could not see the finish, so it was a bit hard to get into it. Besides, there was yummy food to eat, champagne to consume and chatting to do. Despite my lack of commitment to the rowing, it was a great day, ending with dancing in a marquee until the small hours (by which time we were all a bit merry!).
There are some dress rules for Henley - girls dresses should be below the knee (especially in the Stewards Enclosure (not where we were) - they actually check you there and won't let you in if your dress is too short) and guys are to wear jackets and ties (again - in the Stewards Enclosure you can't take them off unless it reaches a certain temperature and an announcement is made) ... posh. There is a mildly amusing article about dressing for Henley by someone who calls themselves 'Rabbit' which I reproduce below.
Anyway - one more English sporting event down - polo, Wimbledon and cricket at Lords to
************************** BLAZER HIERARCHY
Senior International or Olympic
Under 23 International
Junior International - (but only if the date on the pocket is less than 5 years or more than 25 years ago)
Oxbridge Full Blue (rowing only)
Full Purple (rowing only)
Top Rowing Club, University or School (Usually means a club with Henley wins in its History, The more recent the wins the higher the Prestige. Less than four wins in their history reduces a club to low performance status if their history covers more than 50 years)
Navy Blue but with tie representing any of the above
Oxbridge half blue (rowing only)
Other rowing School or University
Low Performance Rowing Club
Plain Navy Blue from Marks and Sparks or the like with Low performance club tie
Non Rowing Related blazer with an embroidered pocket - even if accompanied by Top Rowing Club Tie. (it doesn’t matter if it's for flower arranging or even another olympic sport - if it’s not for Rowing we're not impressed)
Any Navy Blue store brand with indiscriminate non-rowing tie.
Anything in Tweed
A Suit Jacket
A Suit Jacket worn with the suit trousers LADIES
The more high profile your male partner the higher the spend necessary on your outfit! As ever, for maximum effect, the whole outfit has to be new, down to and including, the handbag. REMEMBER that if your Partner is someone who has actually won Henley or is well known in the rowing world, it is necessary to pay extra attention, as you will meet lots of people, some of whom might by be either dishy, rich, available or important to know. So accept it - that seven year old Laura Ashley number just won't do.
If attending all five days of the regatta, it is permissible to wear last year's Saturday outfit on Wednesday, as anyone who did see it you wearing it the year before, was probably too drunk to remember. Handbags
are greatly improved by the correct tagging. Metal tags are a bonus, but beware as borrowing a male's stewards enclosure badge may result in dire consequences if checked. Hats.
Despite what you may believe, are generally NOT worn by the majority of ladies at HRR. The rabbit
is insistant that the wearing of large Ascot type headgear should be discouraged at all costs, for not only do they look silly, they also block the view of those who actually want to watch the racing Shoes.
Although there are no rules on footwear for any of the enclosures, it is worth remembering that those gorgeous Jimmy Choo's with 4inch spike heals which cost a month's salary may not look quite so gorgeous after a day of staggering around on soft grass. Please bear in mind that blisters can seriously compromise one's ability to enjoy both the racing and the social activity and the comments about wellington boots above hold equally true (if not more so) for ladies. A number of sensible ladies have been known to carry a spare pair of flat pumps around in their handbag for walking between enclosures. Skirts.
In years where split skirts or those which wrap around are fashionable, these are still a complete no-no, even if the split goes to the waist but the hem goes to the floor.
n.b this is clearly for health and safety reasons, as a flash of Thigh and Stocking top could easily cause premature
deaths in the Stewards Enclosure (q.v.)
Tights are a faux pas and thick opaque ones doubly so. If you won't wear stockings then it's best to get a good leg wax, dish out the fake tan (avoiding orange streaks at all costs) and go bare. Thick socks are recommended for under-welly wear for added comfort.
Designer outfits, which don't quite reach the knee, can be got past the gate monitors by using the shuffle technique but REMEMBER to do the zip up after entry to prevent falling skirt syndrome. SHUFFLE TECHNIQUE
Gently release the zip part way, then shrug the skirt onto the hips so as to ensure that the hem is at the knee, when arriving at the gate of the enclosure.
n.b. this tactic, though frequently successful, is dangerous if one tries to walk more than 25 paces without having re-adjusted the skirt and zip back to their normal position.
Tot: 2.564s; Tpl: 0.054s; cc: 22; qc: 92; dbt: 0.0609s; 2; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.5mb