Anyone who is fortunate enough to have won at the royal will tell you that the adrenaline rush of victory is amazing. Olympians have commented that it is the most intimate and fulfilling racing they have ever done, as the crowd are so supportive.

Winners have to race once on each of the days that their event occurs (in a straight one-on-one knockout format) but on Sunday they race the final and can finally come out of the boat tent area to join the glitterati in the Enclosures and get to the bar.

Prizes are handed to the victors, by some suitable dignitary, in a formal presentation ceremony after all racing has finished.

Rabbit has heard that looking down on the ring of faces after receiving your little red box with the beautiful gold medal nestling in it and acknowledging the applause, gives you the most immense warm feeling.

It doesn’t matter how many times you win you just want to come back to do it again.

At this point, special mention should be made of the fact that you are expected to win gracefully, irrespective of how many times you have won Henley or the Olympics. The stewards have been known to chastise people who have:

  • punched the air
  • rowed at a very low rate to totally humiliate their opponents, then sprinted from the progress board to the finish and shouted encouragement at crews they have defeated from the finish line whilst their opponents are limping to the finish.

    One particularly famous incident involved a crew easying, removing and stowing their tops and then paddling on to the finish and still recording an easily verdict.

    Another crew, which was winning races easily, was first told off after their quarter final, for paddling at 24 down the enclosures yet still rowing away from their opponents and then told off again for rowing the whole course in the semi final at 36 and recording an even greater margin.

    In both incidences they were told they were being un-sportsmanlike despite the fact that at the first hearing they were told they MUST row the whole course irrespective of how far behind them their opponents were.

    Visiting overseas crews should note that when winning a heat at HRR, it is customary to wait for your opponent then give them "Three cheers" - simply rowing off back to the boat tents in silence will be seen as VERY rude behaviour and may result in their crew being booed later in the event.

    The use of foul language to celebrate is usually frowned upon. However in 2000 one winner exclaimed "f*cking hell we’ve won Henley" but this was not deemed offensive.

    Crews are expected to behave in a gentlemanlike manner and give each others three cheers. Comedic cheering is also frowned upon, though there is one club famous for its comedy cheering and liked by opponents, spectators and stewards alike.

    Next: LOSING