The Boat Race

The famous boat race between Oxford and Cambridge has been taking place since 1829 and providing thrilling entertainment for spectators watching from either the banks of the River Thames or on screens around the world. This year on Sunday 2nd April you will be able to watch both the men’s and women’s eight compete for the highly prized trophy. Over the years Cambridge has been marginally in the lead in both the mens and the more recent women’s race which will be celebrating its 90th year.

The 4.2 mile course from Putney to Chiswick bridge takes place as tide current turns to it maximum flow making for exhilarating conditions. Over the years all manner of upsets have provided excitement from crashes to sinking and well planned race tactics are crucial as the race navigates the treacherous bends of the Thames. Over the years the race has become ever more competitive with rowers training to Olympic standards, if all goes well the eight rowers and one cox can complete the gruelling course in around 17 minutes.

Both teams wear blue with Cambridge sporting a light blue and Oxford a dark blue, due to the team originally coming mostly from Christ Church college. These colours used to be seen on the wool blazers worn by rowing teams before and after racing. The term blazer actually originated in 1825 from the bright red jackets worn by St. John’s College Cambridge’s Lady Margaret Boat Club although some say that the blue and white stripped flannel jackets of HMS Blazer was the eponymous source of the name. However, regardless of the origin a blazer with patch pockets and perhaps a matching cap is always appropriate to wear whilst enjoying this most traditional of races.