Sports Listings: Henley Royal Regatta

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The Independent Online
HENLEY Royal Regatta was originally promoted by the mayor and people of this Oxfordshire town as a public amusement but competitive rowing rapidly became the main purpose of the occasion. It is still raced under its own rules, attracts an international entry and operates on a knockout basis with two boats in each heat, unlike multi-lane regattas. This year's

Regatta is from 29 June to 3 July.

The first Regatta in 1839 was held on a single afternoon, but the competition increased so much that a body of stewards has organised the event since 1884. Royal patronage came in 1851 from Prince Albert and in 1986 the

Regatta was extended to five days.

The Regatta is based at Henley Reach on the River Thames and the straight course is one mile 550 yards long, slightly longer than the standard international rowing distance of 2,000 metres. Up to 80 races are rowed in a single day in the early rounds.

Sixteen events are contested at Henley and the Grand Challenge Cup, dating from the first Regatta, is the most prized. The singles sculls event for women, instituted last year, will again be held.

The Stewards' Enclosure, on the Berkshire bank near the finish, is private and admission is available only to members and their guests. Membership is limited to 6,000 and there is a long waiting list. The Regatta Enclosure, next to the Stewards', is open to the public at pounds 5 daily for adults and can be booked in advance. Children

under-14 are admitted free. From here the firework display, on Saturday evening at 9.45pm, can be viewed. The tow path affords good viewing and is free. Car park labels cost pounds 13 per day for the first two days, pounds 14 per day thereafter.

Henley Royal Regatta, 29 June-3 July.

Wednesday first race 9am, last race 7.15; Thursday 9am, 7.15pm; Friday: 9am, 7.15pm; Saturday: 9am, 7pm; Sunday: noon, 5.45pm.

Further details: Secretary's Office, Regatta Headquarters, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire RG9 2LY (Tel: 0491-572153).

Hospitality: Payne and Gunter (081-842 2224).

Road: Junction 8/9 of M4 or M40 and A404. British Rail: London Paddington to Henley during the Regatta (071-262 6767).