The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race

Come springtime, many university matches take place – but one in particular captures the public imagination: the Oxford and Cambridge boat race. Not every University gets to compete; no, this competition only involves these two Universities; this battle pits two prestigious centres of learning against one another. It was originally created in 1829: simply students competing against each other in competitions between themselves.

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Pubs along the route will be decorated, while TV channels will have cameras capturing every action shot by both side boats and cameras placed aboard these vessels to record this grand spectacle. People watch to see which vessel may sink first – it has happened before! But how did it all happen?

As previously stated, the boat race began in 1829 but didn’t become an annual feature until 1856 when it became regularised as it is today – with exception to world wars. Held up river, Oxford may hold an advantage due to early river access by flowing up the river’s path, while Cambridge only have access to Cam for practice purposes – although that seems not to make much of a difference, with Cambridge winning more times than Oxford and even sharing an identical shade of blue colours: Oxford dark and Cambridge light respectively. If this inspires you to get on a boat, consider the RYA Day Skipper Course from Solent Boat Training who provide the RYA Day Skipper Course.

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They begin from Putney Bridge and journey north towards Chiswick bridge on a course of 4.2 miles that bends and bows, taking in all four boroughs in between. A coin toss is key – winning it allows one side of the river to choose which side they start on! At first, the goal is to quickly get into the middle of the river for its fast currents, as this provides the greatest advantage.

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