The Famous Thames Boat Race
Monday March 4, 2013 by Alex Wood
On the face of it, it may not seem that important a question but for one weekend in March this particular question takes on great significance as the Oxford and Cambridge crews battle it out in the annual Boat Race along the River Thames.
31st March 2013 will see the 159th Boat Race between the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The two crews are known as the Blue Boats after the award their universities give them for competing in the race - Oxford in dark blue and Cambridge in light blue. These colours have now become the official colours of the two rowing clubs, and through the rivalry of The Boat Race the colours have become inextricably linked with the universities and contests between the two.
First raced in 1829 The Boat Race is one of the oldest sporting events in the world. It is certainly one of the biggest free sporting events and thousands come to view it from the many vantage points along the riverbank at Putney, Hammersmith, Barnes or Chiswick. Along with the millions who watch it around the world, this is an event not to be missed. If you can't get a spot along the river there are Boat Race in the Park events in Bishops Park, Fulham and Furnival Gardens, Hammersmith, featuring big screens to watch all the action, and plenty of bars to help you either celebrate or drown your sorrows!
And so to some facts...
The 2013 Race will be held on Easter Sunday this year, and thus far Cambridge lead the serieswith 81 victories to Oxford's 76, with one dead-heat in 1877. The course, known as The Championship Course is 4 miles, 374 yards or 6.8 Km long and was first used for the Boat Race in 1845 and has been used for every race since, (apart from 1846, 1856 and 1863 when the race was held in the opposite direction between Mortlake and Putney).The race is rowed upstream, but is timed to start on the incoming flood tide, usually an hour before high tide, so that the crews are rowing with the fastest possible current (well every little helps!). The current record was set by Cambridge in 1998 at 16mins 19secs.
The race starts at The University Stone which is set into the towpath on Putney Embankment a few metres below Putney Bridge. The race starts from two stake boats moored so that the competitors' bows are in line with the University Stone. There is an equivalent stone set into the bank, adjacent to The Ship pub in Mortlake, at the finish of the race. It is here where the winners express their joy and the losers their despair.
Famous competitors include, among others, the multi-Olympic Gold Medalist Sir Mathew Pinsent who raced in the Oxford Boat in 1990, 91 & 93 (he missed 1992 when he took time out to win his first Olympic Gold Medal with Sir Steve Redgrave in the Barcelona Olympics). Cameron & Tyler Winklevoss, the identical American twin brothers rowed in the 2010 losing Oxford Blue Boat. They had rowed in the 2008 Olympic Games but they are most well known/notorious as the disputed joint founders of the Facebook social network! However probably the most famous old Blue is actor and comedian Hugh Laurie who plays the acerbic MD House. Laurie rowed in the Cambridge Blue Boat in 1980 however his crew narrowly lost in an exciting race featuring clashes of blades and the collapse of the Oxford bow man.
Where can you stay if you want to come and watch? Well as always we have some suggestions for you in the local area.
Fulham Road, Fulham SW6
These Fulham studio, one, two and three bed serviced apartments are less than a ten minute walk from Parsons Green tube station, which provides links across London via the District line, and less than a 30 minute drive from Heathrow Airport. Prices from: £720.00 per week
Foster Road, Chiswick, W2
This delightful one bedroom serviced apartment located in West London is positioned on the ground floor of an Edwardian house in a central location in Chiswick, Foster Road being very close to Chiswick High Road. Prices from: £595 per week
Chiswick Apartment, Chiswick, W4
Chiswick Apartment is a delightful two bedroom serviced apartment in a quiet residential development just off Chiswick High Road. Just 3 minutes from Stamford Brook underground, this West London location is ideal for anyone wanting easy access to central London whilst enjoying the more relaxed, family friendly feel of life in one of London's most charming 'villages'- Chiswick.Prices from: £795 per week
Tel: 020 7704 6514 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by Alex Wood