Women's Boat Race

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The Women's Boat Race
The Cancer Research UK Boat Race
Boat Race Logo 2018.png
Contested by
Cambridge University Boat Club Rowing Blade.svg Oxford University Boat Club.svg
CUWBC OUWBC
First boat race15 March 1927 [1]
First side-by-side race1936 [2]
Annual event since1964 [3]
Current championCambridge
Course recordCambridge, 2017 (18 min 33 sec) [4]
Current course The Championship Course
River Thames, London (2015 onwards) [5]
Course length4.2 miles (6.8 km) [5]
Sponsor Newton Investment Management (since 2011) [6] [7]
Official charity Cancer Research UK (since 2016) [7] [8]
TrophyThe Women's Boat Race Trophy (since 2014) [9]
Previous courses Henley (1977 to 2014 except 2013 on Dorney Lake); [10] [11]
The Isis, Oxford and River Cam, Cambridge (1927 to 1976 with several gaps); [12]
River Thames, London (1929, 1935) [12] [13] [14]
Number of wins [3]
Cambridge Oxford
4330
Official website
theboatraces.org

The Women's Boat Race is an annual rowing race between Cambridge University Women's Boat Club and Oxford University Women's Boat Club. First rowed in 1927, the race has taken place annually since 1964. Since the 2015 race it has been rowed on the same day and course as the men's Boat Race on the River Thames in London, taking place around Easter. The combined event of two races became known as "The Boat Races", or since 2018 simply "The Boat Race" with a women's and mens' race. It is also known by a title that includes the name of its official charity, '"The Cancer Research UK Boat Race", its sponsor, Newton Investment Management, having donated the title to the charity. [15] The race is rowed in eights and the cox can be of any gender.

Rowing (sport) Sport where individuals or teams row boats by oar

Rowing, often referred to as crew in the United States, is a sport whose origins reach back to Ancient Egyptian times. It involves propelling a boat on water using oars. By pushing against the water with an oar, a force is generated to move the boat. The sport can be either recreational for enjoyment or fitness, or competitive, when athletes race against each other in boats. There are a number of different boat classes in which athletes compete, ranging from an individual shell to an eight-person shell with a coxswain.

Cambridge University Womens Boat Club British rowing club

Cambridge University Women's Boat Club (CUWBC) is the rowing club for women at the University of Cambridge. CUWBC field both a lightweight eight that races against Oxford at the Henley Boat Races, and two openweight eights that race at the Women's Boat Race.

Oxford University Womens Boat Club British rowing club

Oxford University Women's Boat Club (OUWBC) is the rowing club for female rowers who are students at the University of Oxford. The club was founded in 1926 and is now based in Wallingford at the Fleming Boat House, along with OUBC, OUWLRC and OULRC.

Contents

The course covers a 4.2 miles (6.8 km) stretch of the Thames in West London, from Putney to Mortlake. Members of both crews are traditionally known as blues and each boat as a "Blue Boat", with Cambridge in light blue and Oxford dark blue. As of 2018 Cambridge have won the race 43 times and Oxford 30 times. Cambridge has led Oxford in cumulative wins since 1966. The women's race has received television coverage and grown in popularity since 2015, attracting a television audience of 4.8 million viewers that year. [16] [17] [18] The 2018 race was won by Cambridge by around seven lengths.

The Championship Course stretch of the River Thames between Mortlake and Putney in London, England

The stretch of the River Thames between Mortlake and Putney in London, England is a well-established course for rowing races, most famously the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. It is often referred to as The Championship Course. The course is on the tidal reaches of the river often referred to as the Tideway.

Putney district in south-west London, England

Putney is a district in south-west London, England in the London Borough of Wandsworth. It is centred 6.1 miles (9.8 km) south-west of Charing Cross. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.

Mortlake district of London, England

Mortlake is a suburban district of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames on the south bank of the River Thames between Kew and Barnes. Historically it was part of Surrey and until 1965 was in the Municipal Borough of Barnes. For many centuries it had village status and extended far to the south, to include East Sheen and part of what is now Richmond Park. Its Stuart and Georgian history was economically one of malting, brewing, farming, watermen and a great tapestry works. A London landmark, the former Mortlake Brewery or Stag Brewery, is on the edge of Mortlake.

History

Early years

The first women's rowing event between Oxford and Cambridge was held on 15 March 1927 on The Isis in Oxford. [1] This was not solely a race in the years up to 1935, the two boats were not on the river together and were judged on both their speed and their "steadiness, finish, rhythm and other matters of style". The Times reported that "large and hostile crowds gathered on the towpath" and The New York Times stated "a crowd of fully five thousand persons was on hand as a willing cheering section". [12] [19] The race covered a distance of approximately 12 mile (0.80 km) over which the crews were judged on their style while rowing downstream and their speed while rowing back upstream. [20] Reports differ as to the judges' opinions on style: one suggests they failed to agree on a winner, [20] another indicates that they deemed the style of each crew to be equal. [21] As a result, the judges based their decision on speed: [20] the race was won by Oxford in a time of 3 minutes 36 seconds, beating Cambridge by 15 seconds. [1]

The Isis river in Oxfordhire, UK

"The Isis" is an alternative name for the River Thames, used from its source in the Cotswolds until it is joined by the Thame at Dorchester in Oxfordshire. It derives from the ancient name for the Thames, Tamesis, which in the Middle Ages was falsely assumed to be a combination of "Thame" and "Isis". Notably, the Isis flows through the city of Oxford.

The next event in 1929 took place on the Tideway in London. [13] At the 1935 race, after two intervening events, the crews took to the river together for the first time. Racing on the Thames in London Oxford's boat was sent off first with the Cambridge boat following thirty seconds later. [14] The 1936 race, held on The Isis, was the first to take place side by side. [2] Later, the location alternated between the River Cam in Cambridge and The Isis, over a distance of about 1,000 yards. [12] [22] [23] Unlike the men’s race, the women's continued in most years through the Second World War. [13]

The 2nd Women's Boat Race took place on 16 March 1929. The contest was between crews from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and held on the River Thames along a half-mile course.

Tideway the part of the River Thames subject to tides

The Tideway is the part of the River Thames in England that is subject to tides. This stretch of water is downstream from Teddington Lock and in its widest definition is just under 160 kilometres (99 mi) long. The Tideway includes the Thames Estuary, the Thames Gateway and the Pool of London.

The 5th Women's Boat Race took place on 16 March 1935. The contest was between crews from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and held on the River Thames between Kew Railway Bridge and the Quintin Boat Club boathouse. It was won by Oxford by six seconds.

The Cambridge University Women's Boat Club was founded in 1941 when Girton College became the second women's college to cater for rowing. Until that year Cambridge was represented by Newnham College Boat Club. The first blues were awarded in 1941 when CUWBC raced against Oxford University Women's Boat Club, which had been founded in 1926. [24] [25] All of the Cambridge rowers in 1941 were members of Newnham College. The following year the first non-Newnham rower competed. [13] [26]

Newnham College Boat Club British rowing club

Newnham College Boat Club is the rowing club for members of Newnham College, Cambridge. The club has a year-round senior squad and invites all members of the college to learn to row by joining the novice squads during Michaelmas or Easter terms.

The 8th Women's Boat Race took place on 8 March 1941. The contest was between crews from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and held on the River Thames.

In training after the 1952 race, Oxford rowed over a weir and was banned from the river. Both OUWBC and later CUWBC suffered from lack of funds and the race fell into abeyance. After a 12-year gap, the race restarted in 1964 and has been held annually since. The number of women rowers increased as more colleges started to admit women and reserve boats from each university began racing in 1966, the year after the men's reserve boats began racing. A second reserve race was run in 1968, and the reserves have raced annually since 1975. [27] [28] The women's reserve boats were later named Osiris (Oxford) and Blondie (Cambridge). [29]

Weir barrier across a river designed to alter its flow characteristics

A weir or low head dam is a barrier across the horizontal width of a river that alters the flow characteristics of water and usually results in a change in the height of the river level. There are many designs of weir, but commonly water flows freely over the top of the weir crest before cascading down to a lower level.

Henley Boat Races

Henley Boat Races 2009: Oxford Women (dark blue) lead Cambridge Women Henley 2009 women.jpg
Henley Boat Races 2009: Oxford Women (dark blue) lead Cambridge Women

In 1975 the men's lightweight race started at Henley-on-Thames and the women's Boat race was relocated there in 1977 creating the Henley Boat Races. [12] [24] At Henley the race took place over a distance of 2,000 metres. [30]

The First VIII receive university blues, and is therefore more commonly known as the Blue Boat, with Cambridge in light blue and Oxford dark blue. While the crew is all female, the cox can be male or female. [31] The Second VIII receives university colours. [32] The 2011 race was the first to be sponsored by Newton Investment Management, a subsidiary of BNY Mellon. Previously the crews had no sponsorship and were self funded. Newton have remained the sponsor since then and increased the amount of funding significantly. [6] [18]

For the 2013 race the entire Henley Boat Races was moved to Dorney Lake because of flooding on the river. [33] [34] Oxford won the 2014 race on the Henley course having beaten Cambridge by a distance of four boat lengths over two kilometres. [35] A newly designed trophy, to replace the existing wooden shield, [36] was awarded to the Oxford president by Olympic gold medallist Sophie Hosking who had won the Women's lightweight double sculls at the 2012 Summer Olympics. [9] [37]

The Boat Races

Oxford Women's Blue Boat at The Championship Course finish in 2015 Oxford Women's VIII approaching the finish - Boat Race 2015.jpg
Oxford Women's Blue Boat at The Championship Course finish in 2015

On 11 April 2015 the 70th women's race was held on The Championship Course on the same day as the traditional male event for the first time. [38] [39] The course covers a 4.2 miles (6.8 km) stretch of the Thames in West London, from Putney to Mortlake. [5] Rebranded as "The Boat Races", the combined event was broadcast on national television in UK, during which the audience for the women's race reached 4.8 million viewers. [16] [40] [41] OUWBC won by six and half lengths that year. [42] The Reserves race also moved to the Championship Course in 2015, running on the day prior to the main race. In 2016 all four men's and women's boat races took place on the same day and course for the first time. Cancer Research UK were gifted the title sponsorship rights by BNY Mellon and Newton Investment Management. [7] [8] The 2016 race, again receiving national television coverage, was won by Oxford while the Cambridge boat nearly sank in the rough conditions. [43] [44] [45]

The 2017 race took place on Sunday 2 April at 16:35 British Summer Time, an hour before the men's race. [46] Cambridge won for the first time in five years after Oxford caught a crab at the start. They set a record on the new course, beating the time first set on this course in 2015 by over a minute. [4] [47] The time was faster, in different conditions, than the Cambridge men's Blue Boat in 2016 and the Oxford men's in 2014. [48] The 2018 race was branded simply as "The Boat Race", consisting of "The Women's Boat Race" and "The Men's Boat Race". [49]

The race has been won 43 times by Cambridge and 30 times by Oxford, with Cambridge leading Oxford in cumulative wins since 1966. The reserves race has been won 26 times by Cambridge and 20 times by Oxford, with Cambridge leading in cumulative wins since the inception of the race. [3]

Results

Cumulative wins by Oxford and Cambridge men's and women's blue and reserve boats (in the SVG file, hover over a graph to highlight it) The Boat Race cumulative results.svg
Cumulative wins by Oxford and Cambridge men's and women's blue and reserve boats (in the SVG file, hover over a graph to highlight it)

Women's Boat Race

Notes

Dagger-14-plain.png – The events until 1935 were not run solely as races, but were also judged on style merit marks. The crews were not allowed to be on the river at the same time so each eight rowed separately downstream and were judged on style. They then rowed back upstream to record a time. [2]
Double-dagger-14-plain.png – The course was shortened in 2007 due to rough water during the Henley Boat Races. It was reduced from 2,000 m (1.2 mi) to less than 1,500 m (0.9 mi) with the start between the Upper Thames Rowing Club and Old Blades. [11]

Women's Reserves (Osiris vs Blondie)

The Newton Women's Boat Race 2015: Reserve Race - Osiris Boat Race 2015 - Women's Reserve Race (01).jpg
The Newton Women’s Boat Race 2015: Reserve Race – Osiris

Sources: [3] [25] [50]

See also

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References

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