Oxford’s Sinking Feeling

The Dark Blues’ Boat Race plans take on water at Trial Eights.

Blues blues rowing boat race bowden cubasch Oxford pelly Rowing thames

Oxford’s preparations for the Boat Race hit a snag on Thusday when their boat filled up with water.

Duing Trial Eights, the only chance for the crews to race the whole Boat Race course before the big event on 3 April, the Dark Blues’ on-board pump failed forcing the boat to stop at Hammesmith bridge, less than half way to the finish.

Oxfod Coach Sean Bowden’s plan to empty the vessel and continue the trial also failed, the crew unable to lift their boat out of the water at St. Paul’s boat house.

Eventually Bowden brought the whole farce to an end, fearing that his rowers may succomb to hypothermia.

The Boat Race, which is televised in 153 countries around the world, has not seen a sinking since 1978 when the Cambridge boat went under shortly after Barnes Bridge (see photo below). Previous sinkings have taken place in 1859, 1925 and 1951, with both boats going under in 1912.

Fortunately Cambidge experienced no such problems when they rowed the course an hour and a quarter earlier, with both their boats managing to complete the couse.

Of their two trial eights, the boat stroked by returning Blue Hardy Cubasch was resoundingly beaten by a crew containing GB hopefuls George Nash, Henry Pelly and Fred Gill as well as the CUBC President Deaglan McEachern, who completed the course in 18 minutes 40 seconds.

The result surprised Blues Coach Chris Nilsson after the matched crews finished within a second of each other at The Fairbairn Cup a fortnight before: “It was surprising, I expected them to go down the course side by side”.

Cambridge are expected to select their final crews at the annual winter training camp.

The 156th Race, sponsored by Xchanging, will be contested at 16:30 on Saturday 3 April and screened live on BBC 1. Follow all the build-up on The Tab.


The Cambridge Trial Crews

Bow G Nash (St Catharine’s)
G Lamb (St John’s)
M Schramm (Fitzwilliam)
G Roth (St Edmund’s)
D McEachern (Hughes Hall)
H Pelly (St Edmund’s)
D Rasmussen (Hughes Hall)
Stroke F Gill (Hughes Hall)
Cox M Eldridge (St Catharine’s).

Bow M Thorp (Homerton)
M Whaley (Caius)
W Kromdijk (Clare)
J Jennings (Clare)
S O’Mara (Hughes Hall)
P McClelland (Pembroke)
R Weitmeyer (St Edmund’s)
Stroke H Cubasch (St Edmund’s)
Cox E Randolph (Peterhouse)


boat race 1978

The 1978 Cambridge crew are rescued fom the water after sinking their boat.