Friday, April 06, 2007

Oxford versus Cambridge: Saturday April 7, 2007: 4.30PM

The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge have been battling against each other on the water since March 12, 1829. Two students, 1 studying at Cambridge, Charles Merival, and the other one, Charles Wordsworth (nephew of the poet William Wordsworth) studying at Oxford, challenged each other to row four-and-a-quarter miles on the river Thames. The race became known as the Henley Royal Regatta (although the students abandoned Henley for London for their second encounter).

Some highlights :
- Wins: Oxford : 73 wins - Cambridge : 78 wins - One dead heat in 1877
- Oxford has won four of the last five encounters
- Course record: 16.19 mins (Cambridge in 1998)
- Sinkings: Three (Cambridge in 1859 and 1978, Oxford in 1925)
- 1829: First race
- 1856: First annual race
- 1912: Both crews sank - a few weeks before the Titanic
- 1924-36: Cambridge win a record 13 in a row
- 1954: 100th Boat Race
- 1976-85: Oxford win 10 in a row
- 1984: Cambridge boat sinks after ramming a barge before even under starter's orders
- 1987-92: Oxford make it 16 wins in 17 years
  • Each year, the loser of the previous year's event challenges the winner to a new race.
  • In the early years of the Boat Race, the crews wore no distinguishing colours.
    However, in 1836 Oxford selected dark blue , the colour of their stroke-man's college (Christ Church), and Cambridge adopted the "duck egg blue" of Eton.
  • Seven million people in the UK are expected to watch the race on television, worldwide more than 500 million people will follow the race.
  • In 1981 Sue Brown became the first woman to participate in the Boat Race (cox).
  • Three time Olympic gold medal winner Matthew Pinsent rowed for Oxford in 1990, 1991 and 1993.
  • In the history of the race there has been one dead heat. "Honest John" Phelps, the judge on the finish, was asleep under a bush as the crews arrived. When awakened and asked the result, he said "Dead heat to Oxford by four feet"

Oxford won the 152nd Boat Race in 2006