Vesta Veterans’ Head of the River Race

The 2020 Race

The 2020 edition of the Vets Head will take place on Sunday March 22, 2020 at 15.00 BST.

The race will run over the traditional course, from University Stone Mortlake to Putney on the ebb tide.

Provisional Results 2019

Results are now available.

Draw queries.

We have had some queries as to why we are setting women’s crews off first.

Why not!  The Vesta way is to try new ideas and to innovate and so we thought it would be a good thing to try.

In the past a number of people have asked us why women don’t go first and so we looked at it during our annual review when we look at what we do and see what we can do better.  We strongly feel that just because we have always done it that way is not a valid argument not to change something.

We know that men’s crews are quicker but it is not just about race time though, we are responsible for crews whenever they are on the water and we need to consider total on-water time.  We think that by using this ordering we may be able to reduce the time everyone is on the water.  Everyone will boat about the same time, we may lose some time during the race but because slower crews start returning sooner we think we can reduce the time it takes all crews to get back to where they boated from, reduce congestion around the boating locations and reduce overall on water time.

There will be breaks between starting divisions and categories – but there always are in every head race. There will be faster crews overtaking slower ones, but there always are in every head race. (Last year we had 8 crews overtaking between 10 and 14 other crews, this passed off safely!)

It is also a special day for many women and we thought that would be a nice touch.  Take this as a reminder in case it had slipped your mind …


About the race

The Vesta Veterans’ International Eights Head of the River Race is a rowing race held annually on the River Thames over the Championship Course. The direction in which the event is raced changes from year to year, dependent on the time of the tides: ideally it is raced from Mortlake to Putney but other years it will be raced the other way. It is open to veteran (now known as masters) eights (and quads), who race in categories determined by the average ages of the eight rowers. The race generally takes place on the day following the Head of the River Race.

Contact details

Any questions, please contact the entries secretaries by email here.

The Small Print

To ensure that the Veterans’ Head of the River Race is not subject to VAT the organisers are obliged by VAT regulations to include the following statement in promotional material for the event – “The Vets Head is organised by Vesta Rowing Club, an amateur sports club, that applies any surplus on the event to further the sport of rowing.”

Photo Credits

Photos on this page kindly provided by Ben Rodford Photography.

Results from past Vesta Veteran’ Head of the River Races