The 2015 edition of the Henley Royal Regatta, first established in 1839, took place a couple weeks back, with nearly 200 races over the five-day event on the River Thames. A highlight of the English social season as well as a world-class sporting event, it combines competition and camaraderie in the best British tradition. In the top result of this year’s proceedings, Great Britain’s men’s eight beat Olympic champions Germany in the final of the Grand Challenge Cup. Rowing as Leander and Molesey Boat Club, the world champions won by two-and-three-quarter lengths.
Though many U.S. crew teams entered competition, the only one to make a strong showing was the University of Washington, which having earlier knocked out the Harvard University ‘A’ in the Semi-Finals beat Yale to bring home the Prince Albert Challenge Cup. In some ways not much has changed at Henley in the past 50 years; on the other hand, they now have a YouTube channel. Always one of the most colorful events on the calendar, thanks to the nattiness of the spectators and the crews’ and club members’ rowing blazers, it’s also known for having the strictest dress code of the summer season.
Apparently not even Royal Ascot has standards quite as unyielding. “High hemlines, trousers and shorts for women and jeans on everyone are just some of the banned garments,” noted the London Daily Mail, “while anyone who attempts to circumvent the dress code with a thigh-high split in their skirt will find themselves being handed safety pins by stewards. Men, meanwhile, are required to wear lounge suits or blazers and flannels and must finish their look with a tie or cravat.” And why should they not?