The mass of disruption and upsets at 2016 Henley Royal Regatta's final day shows how much is at stake in a top rowing race. 

Nereus at a happier moment earlier in HRR 2016

Disqualifications, steering upsets and champions overturned by upstarts - all goes to show that you can't say "rowing is boring to watch". 

Steering at Henley

There are two ways to steer - one is with a coxswain.  First up, it's clear that too many crews did not have confident coxswains who could steer a straight course down Henley's famous booms.  The overhead cameras used in the HRR YouTube videos show up every tiny deviation.

If you are not regularly racing at Henley, get to know the course, the river and take advice from experts who have done it before - the How to Steer Henley book is a great resource written by experienced coxswains. 

Know the Rules

Getting a disqualification is a seriously bad result.  Getting DQ because of poor steering is galling for the cox.  But a disqualification for infringing the rules of racing is the WORST.  

It's often said that a good cox cannot win you the race but they can surely lose it for you.  Nereus know this to their cost. 

This error came from not the cox, but the coach who was watching from the following umpire's launch.

Diederik Simon: I'm in tears 

Nereus was the fastest crew of the Ladies' Challenge Plate, but got DQ'd. Not because of obstructing the other crew, but an instruction from coach Diederik Simon - the reason given was "unsportsmanlike conduct".  [thanks to NLRoei for the link and Reddit/Rowing for the translation].

Whether you agree with the Stewards' decision or not, it is clear that not knowing the rules of racing is not an acceptable excuse.

Plus, I am sure that the expert video recording is now beginning to act a bit like a "Third Umpire" in field sports - a reference for after the fact to see what really happened in slow motion.