Women's Eight Head of the River Race

The Women’s Head exists as a not-for-profit event, where all proceeds are reinvested in developing the event for the future. Unfortunately, the race incurs many of its costs up front, regardless of whether the event proceeds on the day.

In light of the cancellation, the committee has taken the decision for the race this year to be cost neutral, and rather than retain and reinvest the surplus as normal, to return it to crews in the form of a partial refund on their entry fees, with the exception that we will absorb the cost of the 80th Anniversary buffs that we hope everyone will enjoy wearing. We feel that this is a fair outcome for both competitors and the race. 

The refund will amount to £57, being 48% of the entry fee. Refunds will be processed through BROE in due course. Apologies for the slight delay under what you can probably understand are challenging circumstances for everyone. We hope everyone stays safe and we see you in 2021.

Due to marshalling restrictions and the need to clear the course before the end of the designated PLA river closure, the number of crews allowed to participate is limited and we are unfortunately only able to open the invitation to the crews who featured in the amended draw published last Thursday.  There is no expectation that crews will take up this offer, but it exists for those without other plans who may wish to take advantage.

Please note that this is not a replacement for the original 2020 race and crews will race solely for time within the HORR. All rules, safety and marshalling instructions will be controlled by the HORR. No WEHoRR Pennants will be awarded based on these results, however athletes will be awarded PRI according to their finishing position. Results will be published to the WEHoRR Facebook page.

Crews may make substitutions that take them over the 50% rule only on the understanding that this cannot take them below the 100 CRI cut-off and must not be more than 6 members of the 9 changed in total.

For clarity, as this is not a replacement race, the start order for the top 50 crews in the 2021 Women’s Head will be based on the finishing positions from the 2018 race.

The HORR details regarding marshalling and safety are available from http://www.horr.co.uk/wordpress/competitor-information-menu/

WEHoRR is facilitating the coordination of the crews in the time trial and BROE2 will be open for substitutions – this is very important given PRI will be awarded for the time trial.

Eligible crews have already been contacted – please complete the form that was sent out regardless of whether or not you want to race. The form will end after a couple of quick questions if you elect not to take part. The deadline for completion is preferably 8pm on Friday 13th March but definitely by 12 noon on Saturday 14th March.

Final information will be provided to those crews who have accepted the invitation by Monday 16th March.

The PLA flag has unfortunately changed to Red which means that we have no choice but to cancel the race. We are as disappointed as you are.

Please bear with us over the next few days. We know that the question of refunds will be on many people’s minds. We cannot give any answers until we have confirmed details. Please don’t chase us for this – we have a lot of work still to do and we will let you know as soon as we can.

The PLA flag is currently Yellow but there is a high chance that it may turn to Red at their next review at 6am tomorrow morning. If that happens then unfortunately the race will be cancelled as it is a condition of our use of the river that we will not run the race under a Red flag. We will confirm the situation here and via social media as soon as we can after 6am. If possible, please check before setting off for the race. Obviously, we hope that the race will still be on but it is now out of our control.

Please can all competitors note that the Yellow flag signifies strong fluvial flows. This will make marshalling more challenging than usual. It also means that everyone should prepare for the row to the start (and home afterwards) to take longer than usual and therefore allow significantly more time when boating.

The start marshals will also be leaving slightly larger gaps than usual between crews, so listen carefully to their instructions.

We are continuing to monitor the conditions. The weather system that was forecast to past along the south coast yesterday unfortunately tracked about 100 miles further north, dumping extra rain into the River Thames catchment. This has increased the flow rates on the non-tidal sections.

The next update will be no later than 9pm this evening. We appreciate the kind words of support in this challenging situation and are doing everything we can to try and ensure the race runs tomorrow.

The PLA flag is currently Yellow and due to the amount of water in the Thames catchment area, is unlikely to revert to Green before the race. As a result, the committee have reluctantly taken the decision to limit the size of the field on safety grounds. All affected crews have been contacted via email to their Entries Secretaries/Club Captains.

  • Only crews with more than 100 CRI (as at close of entries) have been allowed to remain in the draw.  
  • Any crews remaining in the draw that contain J15 rowers or coxes needs to substitute those crew members in order for the crew to race. This includes coxes of non-junior crews. These substitutions must be completed by 3pm on Friday 6th March. If more than 50% of the crew need to be substituted you can still race for Time Only. If you cannot make the substitutions you will be unable to race. In either case, please confirm with our entries secretary.
  • Any Overseas crew with insufficient CRI to remain in the draw must contact WEHORR entries secretary by 3pm Friday.

The revised draw has been updated here

We will continue to monitor the situation and our next update will be no later than 10am Friday.

As ever, we thank everyone for their patience – we are working hard to deliver a race under challenging circumstances. EDIT: please don’t chase us for refunds. We are still busy organising the race and won’t be in a position to discuss this until our committee meeting next week.

Following the recent heavy rains, the flows from upriver are high and the PLA flag remains on yellow. The committee is watching the conditions and we will continue to communicate our position over the next few days.

Next update will be by 10am on Thursday morning.

The press release for the 2020 draw can be found here. The full start order can be found on the Start List page.

We are just over two weeks away from race day and, as part of our routine preparation, the committee are monitoring the weather situation closely. We are also aware of the high fluvial flows coming down from upriver and how those are affecting the tidal Thames. We really appreciated everyone’s patience and support last year and hope that everyone will continue to bear with us for timely updates over the next fortnight.

Follow us on Twitter and our Facebook event to get updates directly!

Entries for the 2020 race will be open on BROE2 by the end of Monday 13th January. Overseas crews will need to get in touch with British Rowing as normal. We will confirm when entries are live through social media channels.

We remind all crews to carefully check the eligibility criteria for the event they are entering.

The Small and Medium Club lists have been confirmed as those previously published. Any crews that are not on one of these lists and feel they ought to be have unfortunately now missed the deadline for changes for this year.