HENLEY-ON-THAMES, England--Harvard's oarsmen won their opening race here in the Thames Cup, but the freshmen heavyweights fell for the first time all season.
The oarsmen scored a four-length victory over Britain's Thames Tradesmen, and Yale, the other seeded Ivy Leaguers, defeated the Elizabethan Boat Club by two lenghts.
But Harvard's other eight, the freshmen heavyweights, suffered its first defeat of the season in its opening race against a local crew from Walton Rowing Club, and that, too, was in the Thames Cup.
The crew from Cambridge, Mass., expected to have to come from behind, but each time it made a push it got to within two seats of the British and no closer.
"Although they lost, it was probably their best performance," Coach Fred Borchelt said.
"But there is a real tradition of success for Harvard freshmen at Henley and that's why it's a little bit disappointing for these fellows."
Although there were no complaints from the Harvard squad, it has not been helped by the new Thames Cup qualifications rules which allow entries from any crews without Olympic or World Championship heavyweight representatives.
In other races, Temple University recovered its missing boat and oars and won its opening race at the Henley Royal Regatta yesterday.
The Philadelphia crew was a threelength winner over an English eight, Cherwell Boat Club, in the Thames Cup--but only after some anxious moments.
"When I got to the shed I couldn't find the boat or oars or anything," Coach Gavin White said. "And when I did find them they were all wet. Someone had been using them."
He said that the boat had been taken to another rack in another part of the shed, with the oars left in the back of it.
"I don't know if it was done for a joke or something but that wasn't what we wanted just before our first race. Something might have happened to the boat," White said.
"I checked all the obvious things like the rigger bolts but there might have been something else that I couldn't check that was faulty, and that could have cost us the race.
The removal of the equipment was reported to the regatta's stewards.
Windy conditions again created victims. Among them were Trinity College of Hartford, Conn., whose coxless four hit a boom and stopped rowing in the Visitors' Cup, and was eventually beaten by three lengths by University of London "B" crew.