How to Steer Henley – coxed or coxless

Henley Royal Regatta, start line, Rowing race

Expert coxswain Andrew Probert and Julie Hogg share their tips for steering Henley Royal Regatta course – an extract from their ebook.

Henley Royal Regatta, start line, Rowing race
The Henley start has a Y pole which lines up with a red circle on another pole behind where the picture is taken. For coxless boats this gives you the ‘line’.

The Henley start has a Y pole which lines up with a red circle on another pole behind where the picture is taken. For coxless boats this gives you the ‘line’.

Despite being the most peaceful, professional and beautiful start it the world, it is also the most terrifying (and that feeling never goes away).

Watch for the flags at both the start and at the end of the Island for indication of cross-winds and for head / tail winds (there are flags on top of posts and by the hospitality tents) – usually just anticipating a cross-wind is enough but knowing if it’s head or tail can help with
technique calls.

The start is pretty well protected from the wind, so the bows shouldn’t swing too much between the umpire’s call ‘hand down’ and ‘Go!’

You need to be pretty straight off the start – those first buoys are big, real blade-clunkers (unlike multi-lane lane buoys) – you don’t want to hit one.

Buy the book with full advice on

  • Navigating the start
  • Steering the Buckinghamshire Station
  • Steering the Berkshire Station
  • Tips for a front-loader boat coxswain
  • Tips for a stern-loader boat coxswain
  • What to do if you get close to the booms
  • Whether to turn up the volume on your amplifier
  • Tactics to use at the progress boards
  • Things to practice in training before you race
  • Landing your boat back at the boating pontoon (rafts / dock) in a fast current

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