The Royal Henley Regatta

by T.D McCay, Ph.D.

Just how good is Florida Tech crew anyway? We narrowly lost to the University of Michigan in the Dad Vail Regatta and earned the right to represent in the Royal Regatta in Henley England. There we would compete with 32 university and college rowing clubs from around the world. It was exciting but our draw was pretty formidable. All the races are head-to-head and the loser goes home. Our first race was against Cambridge. They had what one would call home water advantage, having rowed there many times and accustomed to the atmosphere of big time rowing. The ultimate prize for the colleges was the Temple Cup, a silver trophy almost three feet high with lots of trimmings.

It was our men’s eight against the folks from only about 50 miles away and the race was exciting but straightforward. Despite the close quarters and our crew’s encounter with the course barrier, we won easily. I can say that since I didn’t have to row the 1-5/8 mile race. That won us the right to row against a seed, the US National Championship team from Yale.
The next day’s race was a doozey with the lead changing more than once. Yale pressed us towards the barrier again, getting multiple warnings from the officials. According to Bill Jurgens we were ‘having to deal with the Yale puddles,’ a decided disadvantage.

In the end Yale won by only a few feet and expended all they had to beat FIT. This was proven the next day when a Harvard crew, they had beaten during the year, pulled away from them. So I guess you could say we finished in the top 16 but our times were good enough for the top 8.

Now if we look ahead, all the guys pulling on the oars in our boat are underclassmen. They will all be back next year. So I would guess the boys from the Ivy League that got a scare this year might be having a FIT nightmare come this time next year.

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