LIVE: The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Races

We’re braving the elements to bring you the action from this year’s rather blustery Oxford and Cambridge Boat Races.

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Cambridge are favourites to win, but high winds, transport chaos and potentially boat-sinking waves are making this year’s Boat Races quite the spectacle.

We’re reporting from the start by Putney Bridge, the finish upstream in Mortlake and a swanky house overlooking the Thames, so sit back and let us liven up Clare Balding for you on this quintessentially Oxbridge day of the year.

And what’s that phrase, again? Ah yes, GDBO.

Results & Verdict

Reserve Crews:

  • Women’s: Blondie (C) beat Osiris (O)
  • Men’s: Isis (O) beat Goldie (C)

Blues Boats:

  • Women’s: OUWBC beat CUWBC
  • Men’s: CUBC beat OUBC

Highlights included the Cambridge women’s Blue boat taking on so much water that they were basically shunting a leaky submarine down the Tideway. Clear margins of victory all round.

Afterparties are on at Mahiki’s and Fez Putney. (If you’re not sure which one to go to Mahiki’s is in Mayfair and Fez is a Fez so it should be fairly clear which one you are more suited to)

Thanks for being with us today,

The Tab Team

P.S. Tab TV will be around all day interviewing anyone looking likely to embarrass themselves.


Some timings for you

In terms of the preliminary stuff, if you want to catch the coin tosses, tune if for the Women’s Boat Race toss at 13.20, the Osiris Blondie toss at 13.35, the Isis Goldie toss at 13.50 and the Men’s Boat Race toss at 14.05. The Women’s boat will be sliding into the water at 14.22, so we’re told, followed by the Osiris Blondie Boat at 14.37, the Isis Goldie Boat at 14.52 and the Men’s Boat at 15.22.

As for the real deal, the Women’s Boat Race is at 15.10, the Osiris Blondie Boat Race is at 15.25, the Isis Goldie Boat Race is at 15.40 and the Men’s Boat Race is 16.10.

Live Stream

17:02 Henry Hoffstott (CUBC Captain):

“The pumps weren’t working properly”

“I had a lot of water in my compartment”

16:59 Steve Trapmore (CUBC Head Coach) at the press conference:

“It’s all the better that we’ve beaten their tenacity today”

“I’m beyond words. I’m so proud of the guys. They deserve every minute of this”

Cambridge created quite the splash

16:56 The Cambridge Blues taking a minute’s silence for Oxonian pride.

16:54 Ian Middleton in gracious flight.

16:51 6’9 Clemens Auersberg (Mphil History) looks like he’s going to be tearing up Mahikis tonight. Great moment for these guys.

16:48 Now we are waiting for the Hackett Bollinger BNY Mellon Hunter Crewroom Mcdonald’s Cocacola Enron Fly Emirates Prizegiving.

16:43 Oxford cox crying. Adorable. Someone give them a cuddly toy.

16:41 Bitter Oxford rower claiming that they are ‘part of the best Boatclub in the world’. Denial is the first stage of mourning or something right?

16:39 The boys are greeted by their teammates in CUBC. Look at all those fleeces. Tasty stash.

16:37 Captain Henry Hoffstott : ‘We wanted it more today’.

16:35 Some deservedly emphatic fist-pumping from the Lance Tredell.

16:32 Victory! A despondent Oxford being consoled by the light blues. “Shoe the Tab”? shoe your mum Oxford.

16:31 Lance Tredell has stepped up the rate, these guys are swimming in lactic acid.

16:30 Nobody’s giving up here. Really nice to see.

16:27 Cambridge nearly 3 lengths ahead coming past Barnes Bridge. Very smooth from the Light Blues.

16:21 Looking veeeery choppy now. Cambridge dealing very well with this. Oxford struggling to re-establish contact.

16:20  An inch of clear water at the Chiswick Eyot. OOOOOOO

16:17 Past the Harrods Depository Cambridge have almost a whole length on Oxford. Strong rhythm and a lot of beans from the Light Blues.

16:12 The Blues Race has started! Going up at 45 strokes per minute Cambridge seem to have an edge.

16:11 I seem to have managed to forget that Isis won. They won.

16:09 Isis and Goldie making peace at Mortlake

16:06 Tab BNOC #3 Oliver Mosley less than impressed by Dark Blue behaviour on public transport:

16:03 Live from the press conference with the CUWBC coach :
“I don’t think there is anything else we could have done… We were prepared for the rough water but there’s only so much you can do.”
“The umpire said the bow was underwater”

16:00 Helen of Blue Peter fame asking people on Hammersmith Bridge whether they’ve ever tried rowing is not what we need to see. SHOW THE FINISH LINE!

15:59 Very tight in the Goldie/Isis race coming through Barnes Bridge. Less than a length in it. BBC annoyingly not showing any of this race.

15:55 Rowing legend Matthew Pinsent noting that the tide is rising, meaning that the conditions are likely to be even worse for the Men’s Blues.

15:54 Oxford are leading Cambridge 38:37 in all Varsity sports this year. Hopefully we can correct that balance with the two races that remain. Goldie looking unlikely to claw this one back however.

15:52 Isis leading Goldie by 1 length at the halfway mark.

15:50 Blondie are executing a really nice race, defeating Osiris by a substantial distance while the Oxford women are receiving their medals.

15:42 The Oxford girls celebrating….

15:37 Tab BNOCs 1 and 3 (and Finn McRemond) spectating in style

15:34  Oxford and Cambridge have both crossed the line. Oxford win by a lot. They’re also significantly dryer. Very close to a sinking there.

15:29 Cambridge sinking. They have been given the option to give in but they are choosing to keep going. Come on girls.

15:27 Oxford doing something similar. Staying close to the bank to get some shelter. Some really big calls from the coxes here.

15:24 Interesting manoeuvre from Cambridge. Opting for the shelter and the weaker stream. Almost a little bit of magic there but Oxford have settled. Coming over towards Barnes Bridge now.

15:20 Cambridge not giving up. This corner hasn’t done anywhere near as much damage as it should have. Conditions a lot worse now.

15:18 Oxford have moved ahead 🙁 This next corner is only going to make it worse.

15:16 Reserve Squad Member Sam Ringer: ‘The men are defo gonna win’. Looking very Winklevoss in those Oakleys.

15:14 Completely even coming past Barn Elms Boathouse. Both crews sprinting hard off the start. This is good for Light Blue coming into this corner.

15:10 And they’re off! The Women have started.

15:04 Women’s race due to start very soon. They will start on Middlesex side (this was the only toss we lost).

15:02 Some really impressive millinery in display on the embankment

ISIS now boating.

14:53 A few people sporting the fan-merchandise that Crewroom have made for the event.

N.B. Although it has the CUBC logo on it it doesn’t count as stash.

14:44 The Blondie girls take to the water


14:39 BNOC Comedian Declan Amphlett weighing in on the festivities. 


14:35 Wellies being removed from the bank. In case you hadn’t noticed, they’re made by Hunter.


14:31 CUWBC Coming out of their boathouse. Smiles all round. despite the rain they are on schedule for a 15:10 start.

14.07 CAMBRIDGE MEN HAVE WON THE TOSS. They’ve taken the Surrey side that everyone wants in weather like this.

14.04 BBC helicopter is up and running.

14.00 It’s clearing again (again). But the rowing can’t go ahead if there is any more lightning.

13.55 It is truly torrential – and the BBC starts soon.

13.54 Isis-Goldie toss is complete. A downpour has just begun and sounds ferocious. Just heard a clap of thunder. Rather them than me.

Roving correspondent Alex Stride says he has been hit by hail!

13.49 The conditions have proven too much for some Cantabs.

13.40 Blondie have won their toss, and will take the Surrey station.

13.39  Here’s what the Met Office are saying about the weather.

13.34 A map of the course. The wind is blowing from the south west, and is expected to peak at 19mph at 16.00, which means the men are going to be rowing into a serious headwind once they pass the Surrey Bend.

13.28 Quick downpour follows the toss.

13.20 It’s time for the Women’s Blues toss. Oxford win the toss. Oxford are rowing Surrey side. The wind is blowing from the south west, but it looks like it will be a cross-wind, so difficult for both sides.

13.15 The press pack we’ve been given is full of exceptionally useful things… like brochures for Hunter wellies.

13.02 Just in case you thought our nation’s train network had basic common sense, they’ve decided to schedule engineering works for all nearby stations today.

The Underground and buses are running. A handy Tab guide to getting down to the riverbank is here.

You could always swim I suppose.

12.58 The podium. Oddly this is not the podium that will be used by the winners. That, I assume, is at the finish line in Mortlake.

 12.56 The Oxford Men have made a low-key entrance

12.53 The River Thames in all its glory.

The larger boat is draped in Oxford banners

12.52 The trophy is being delivered

12.47 No comment.

A jeroboam contains the equivalent of four normal bottles.

12.41 Bloomberg and the Boat Races have put together this nice little graphic. It looks like a lot of these boaties will be heading to Wall Street or the City.

12.37 Oxford Women have also arrived. Tardy compared to our lot.

12.35 Alex Stride, wandering the riverbank in front of the Thames Rowing Club, tells me he has been kettled by security. Something may be about to happen.

Meanwhile, Courtney Landers, Pembroke College Boat Club big name, has sent me this picture of the crowds massing.

The hordes gather


The Women’s Team have arrived

12.30 We don’t appear to be facing postponement at the moment, so it seems that the Sunday Times may have been engaging in a bit of journalistic hyperbole. The horror.

First coin toss is at 13.20.

12.27 Sorry about that. The Media Centre internet failed. Sort of the only essential part of a Media Centre these days.

Here’s a picture of the downpour an hour ago.

The downpour earlier. iPhone camera obscures just how wet it was

12.03 Brunch hiatus over. Alex Stride and I have taken up position in the Media Centre. It’s a bizarre spectacle, on one side of the room weathered hacks sit at tables and hit their keyboards and on the other side several half-naked rowers are having a warm up on some rowing machines.

11.16 J. Spencer here. My colleague and I have taken refuge in a coffee house called Grind in Putney, along with what seems to be half the boatie population of the United Kingdom. Sir Matthew Pinsent is holding court at the table to my right.

I can confirm it is an exceptionally windy Easter Sunday. I’ve ordered an Avocado and Bacon breakfast.

8.00 THE RACES FACE BEING POSTPONED. Given The Met Office’s warnings that Britain faces gusts of up to 50mph as the remnants of Storm Katie hit the country, The Boat Race Company, which runs the race, has admitted that a postponement until Easter Monday is possible.

Because the BBC crams the Boat Races into a tight window, there is “little flexibility for organisers if conditions start to worsen late in the afternoon”, according to The Sunday Times.

“We have built in a small margin of contingency for each race should there be a need to delay,” said Ann-Louise Morgan, the race director. “If any of the races are delayed beyond their allocated time, that race will be postponed until the following day at the relevant time taking into consideration the tide.”

This was the choppy scene in one of the build-up races yesterday

Both university clubs, the umpires panel and the Port of London Authority will be consulted about the state of the conditions on the river. “In the event of any significant problems, they will decide whether to delay the start or abandon the races,” added Morgan.

Sarah Winckless, a former Cambridge Blue and an umpire for the men’s reserve race, said she expected the coxes of both crews to steer out of the mainstream in the centre of the river and seek shelter in the lee of the bends.

The Sunday Times, aka The Scaremongering Times

“Oxford sank in a practice outing a year ago”, she noted. “It will be a real examination of power and technique for all the crews. You have to deal with the blades, which are quite light, coming back through the waves. You’ve got to keep control and be technically sound.”

Since the race began in 1829, six crews have sunk, the last of them the Cambridge crew in 1978. All the same, 50 mph gusts are not expected to hit London tomorrow, with 20 mph the maximum speed forecast.

So things should go ahead, but it will be far from smooth.