Update on entries and course

The Committee continue to plan on the basis that we will be able to run an event on Sunday, 22 November 2020, although clearly there is considerable uncertainty with the evolving COVID-19 situation.

The following decisions about Entries and the Course have been made and we still plan to open for entries on Monday, 26 October. Clubs will, of course, be aware that circumstances outside our control may cause the race to be cancelled.


Given the complexities caused by both the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of Hammersmith Bridge, the Fours Head this year will run at a very significantly reduced capacity compared with previous years. The main constraint is the number of ‘self-contained groups’ (loosely referred to as ‘bubbles’) which can be safely accommodated at host clubs (i.e. clubs above Hammersmith Bridge). This means that there is no exact maximum number of crews, although we expect that it will be around 175.

Entries for the 2020 race will be prioritised using the following criteria:

  1. Competence – all crews must be able to demonstrate a high degree of watermanship and competence. Clubs should not enter ‘novice’, beginner or otherwise inexperienced crews.
  2. Local crews able to boat and race directly from their home club – i.e. crews from Tideway clubs ABOVE Hammersmith Bridge.
  3. Visiting crews from Tideway clubs between Hammersmith Bridge and Putney Bridge that have historically supported the Fours Head by hosting visitors and/or providing launches/drivers.
  4. Trailering efficiency and distance travelled – to maximise the number of visiting crews that can boat from host clubs in a COVID-19 secure manner, we will favour entries from clubs bringing multiple boats on a single trailer from a single club ‘bubble’ and from those clubs with a shorter travelling distance between their home club and the Fours Head (for this purpose defined as the centre of Chiswick Bridge). Given the overall capacity limit, this is likely to mean no more than 15-20 miles in practice.

On this basis, if your clubhouse is further than 20 miles from Chiswick Bridge it is, sadly, safe to assume that your entry will not be accepted. We therefore, with all respect and much regret, encourage clubs beyond this not to enter.

Entries will open on BROE2 at 7am on Monday, 26 October. Further details about how to enter (which are different from our normal procedure) are on the Entries page. Please note that this year, in light of the unusual circumstances, the Committee will take responsibility for assigning visiting clubs to host clubs. Therefore, do not contact a host club to request boating permission – we will advise you accordingly.


The race will be run between the Petrol Pumps pontoon up-river of the University of London boathouse and the ‘crows nest’ at Sons of the Thames RC. This is a distance of about 4.9km or 3 miles.

The START: The Petrol Pumps pontoon between the UL Boathouse and Kew Rail Bridge (photo taken at the Pairs Head 2020, © Helena Smalman-Smith)
The FINISH: Crows Nest at Sons of the Thames RC (photo © Daniel Walker)

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