765 days

The Idle Skiers have spent the day at Henley Royal Regatta. According to an email received from the regatta office this evening, today marked 765 days since the finish of the last regatta, in early July 2019.

The regatta was first rowed in 1839. It has barely missed a beat since, with the two world wars alone stopping the event. That is until 2020, when the pandemic brought the country as a whole to a grinding halt.

For much of the year, the 2021 edition looked doubtful as well. The normal early summer dates were abandoned quickly. Course construction (booms in the river and temporary stands) usually starts in March, but this year that wasn’t possible. The talk was of another cancellation, or possibly a closed event, without spectators.

Passing the progress board

However, at nine o’clock this morning, racing got underway before the customary crowd. It is less than a week since the end of the Olympics, so the top British crews were missing, along with most of the Dutch and German crews who normally make the trip to the Thames. The U.S.A boats were absent completely, barred from travelling to the U.K.

Still, the racing was good, with some tight finishes over the 1 mile and 550 yard course. A crowded diary means that our normal four or five days at Henley has been compressed into this one visit, but it was a good day spent in the sun largely.

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