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Boat Race!

The 156th running of the Oxford vs. Cambridge 8 man boat race, run from Putney Bridge to Chiswick Bridge in London, England. The crews are known as "the blues," with Cambridge in light blue and Oxford dark blue.

overcast 10 °C

Where I went to university, if someone said there was going to be a boat race, I'd be getting ready to drink. Boat (Beer On A Table) races at my university meant that two teams would line up against each other. The race would start with the first member of each team chugging a beer. Once the first member is done drinking, the second one picks up their beer and chugs it. This continues until you hit the anchor, who downs two beers. First team to finish all their beers is declared the winner.

Here in England, boat race has a very different meaning. It is the annual rowing race between the two oldest universities in England - Oxford and Cambridge. The two universities have been picking a team of eight (plus a coxswain) since back in 1829. The event became an annual one since 1856, excepting during the two wars.

The teams are known as blues, with Cambridge in light blue and Oxford dark blue. The race is obviously quite popular with current students and alumni of the two universities (known colloquially here in England as Oxbridge), but also is popular with known Oxbridge folks. According to the Boat Race's own numbers, a quarter of a million people line the banks of the Thames to watch, with 8 million watching on TV in the UK and 120 million watching world wide. Personally, I doubt those numbers are accurate - do 120 million people around the world really care about a boat race between a couple of posh schools in England?

The course is 4 miles and 374 yards long, snaking its way from Putney Bridge to Chiswick Bridge upstream. Even though the race is upstream, this race is timed so that the current is with the teams, as the Thames is still tidal at that point and the tide was coming in, causing water to flow upstream.

I went down today to watch it. I watched at Hammersmith Bridge and Furnival Gardens, about halfway through the course. I took a few pictures and some video, which I have edited together for your viewing pleasure.

If you can't see the video, view it on YouTube at this link. I understand that the video may not be available in Germany due to using bits of music in the video. I think that using short clips of music is fair use, but whatever...

Cambridge won this year. Congratulations to Cambridge, and chin up, Oxford. You'll get 'em next year!

Posted by GregW 15:11 Archived in England Tagged sports events

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