With over 300 crews competing the Thames came to life on Saturday
The Women's Eights Head of the River Race was raced on the River Thames over 4 miles and 374 yards, or 6.8 kilometres, from the start at the University Pole in Chiswick to the finish at Putney Pier.
The first women's eights race over the Mortlake - Putney course was in 1927 (presumably inspired by the first Men's HORR in 1926), between Ace and Weybridge LARC which included the legendary Amy Gentry. This was a side by side race as only two crews had entered, Weybridge winning in a borrowed boat from Thames RC.
Entries are capped at a maximum 320 crews, which means up to 2,880 competitors are on the river right before the start and that's not even counting marshalls, safety crews and other volunteers! Competitors range in age, from 15 to 70+ years, and in ability, from beginner to international levels.
The Women's Head is a time-trial or processional race; each crew races the clock, aiming to get the fastest possible time in their division. Each boat is assigned a number and the crews proceed down the river one by one in numerical order with a gap of approximately 10 seconds between each crew. Each boat earns an individual time, just like a person racing a marathon - timing begins when they cross the start line and stops when they cross the finish.
Because the race is processional, results can't be compiled until all racing crews have crossed the finish line. During the race, a crew may pass a slower boat or be passed by a faster one, so you may find the crew you supported skipped around a few places by the time they reached the finish!
March 12, 2013