Everything you need to know to watch the Boat Races

How to get to the riverbank, where to watch, and who is going to win (Cambridge, obviously)

boat race Boaties dull dullness Easter London Rowing silly boat clubs sinkings the thames transport options

In an astonishingly heathen move, The Cancer Research UK Boat Races are this Easter Sunday afternoon.

What time are the Boat Races?

The Women’s race starts at 3.10pm, and the Men’s race at 4.10pm

How long will the bally thing take?

The fastest race was in 1998 when Cambridge took 16 minutes and 19 seconds to win. Generally the race is 17-20 minutes, depending on conditions.

Many cold and early mornings have led up to this point

Where can I watch or follow?

The Tab will be providing full live coverage of both the Boat Races and the Varsity Football match happening at Craven Cottage on the same afternoon. You can also watch the Boat Races on the BBC.

Can I recommend a handy double-billing of Clare Balding on your television screen and our enigmatic Tab reporters on your computer screen? We are living in a multi-faceted technological age after all.

Should you, like 250,000 other wetness enthusiasts, wish to head down to the Thames then here is a handy map, shamelessly screenshotted from the Boat Races website, including bus advice and the nearby Tube stations. The Overground is not (currently) scheduled to run on Sunday. If you want to watch from one of the bridges then you are highly advised to get down early.


Do tell me, what are the weights of the Cambridge team and how do they compare to our rivals?

Funny you should ask, Cambridge Men are an average 1.48kg per man heavier than their opponents, while the Cambridge Women are an average 4.27kg more than Oxford.

Are we the favourites?

We are apparently sort of favourites, despite the fact that Cambridge have lost the last three races for both Men and Women, sparking fears of a Rugby style Oxford dominance developing.

We are winning overall, though, as Robert Shearme’s excellent Guide to Rowing (read it, it’s excellent) tells us. Cambridge Men have won 81 races to 79 and Cambridge Women have a dominant lead with 41 to 29.

Tell me a funny fact about the Boat Races Spence

I can tell you two. Sinkings have occurred embarrassingly regularly in the Men’s race. One or both boats sank in 1859, 1925, 1951, 1978, and 1984. Such a long race carries risks. And Bertie Wooster, P.G. Wodehouse’s most famous literary creation, was once arrested for stealing a policeman’s helmet whilst sozzled on the night of the Boat Race. He gave his name to the magistrate as Leon Trotsky.

The Tideway will be cordoned off for the afternoon to avoid scenes like this

So who exactly are we cheering on?

May I present the Cambridge heroes and heroines:

Women’s Blues:

Bow: Ashton Brown, Fitzwilliam

2: Fiona Macklin, St. John’s

3: Alice Jackson, Homerton

4: Théa Zabell, Downing

5: Daphne Martschenko, Magdalene

6: Myriam Goudet, Lucy Cavendish

7: Hannah Roberts, Jesus (President)

Stroke: Zara Goozee, Downing

Cox: Rosemary Ostfeld, Hughes Hall

And the Men:

Bow: Felix Newman, Selwyn

2: Ali Abbasi, Trinity

3: Charles Fisher, St. John’s

4: Clemens Auersperg, Peterhouse

5: Luke Juckett, St. Edmund’s

6: Henry Hoffstot, Hughes Hall (President)

7: Ben Ruble, Hughes Hall

Stroke: Lance Tredell, Hughes Hall

Cox: Ian Middleton, Queens’

Boaties keep themselves to themselves right? Have any gone on to be famous?

Funny you should say that, here is a randomly ordered list of some famous people who have raced in the Boat Race:

Hugh Laurie (Cambridge, 1980)

Dan Snow (Oxford, 1999, 2000, 2001)

The Winklevoss twins of the Social Network fame (Oxford, 2010)

Sir Matthew Pinsent, Olympic Rowing Gold Medallist (Oxford, 1990, 1991, 1993)

I find rowing insufferably dull, what can I do instead?

Go to the Oxford and Cambridge Goat Race, now in its eighth year. All the details are here.

The Goat Race

Spence, could you provide a more complete timetable of the day’s events, so that I can more precisely plan my movements?


The Cancer Research UK Women’s Boat Race Toss: 13:20

Osiris Blondie Toss: 13.35

Isis Goldie Toss: 13:50

The Cancer Research UK Boat Race Toss: 14:05

Oxbridge Watermen’s Challenge: 14:15

Oxford & Cambridge Women’s Blue Boats Boat: 14:22 & 14:25

BBC TV Goes Live: 14:25

Osiris & Blondie Boat: 14:37 & 14:40

Isis & Goldie Boat: 14:52 & 14:55

The Cancer Research UK Women’s Boat Race: 15:10

Oxford & Cambridge Blue Boats Boat: 15:22 & 15:25

Osiris Blondie Race: 15.25

Isis Goldie Race: 15:40

The Cancer Research UK Boat Race: 16:10

Why are there coin tosses?

It determines which crew rows on the Middlesex (north) side and which crew is on the Surrey (south side).

Should I head to the pub afterwards to booze with fellow Cantabs and celebrate a glorious quintuple victory of Varsity Football and all four Boat Races?


Follow all the action on the day through the Tab Cambridge website and Facebook page.