LIVE BLOG: The 2018 Cambridge x Oxford Boat Races

Here to provide all the insights, updates, drama and gossip of this momentous day

Blondie Blues boat race Cambridge University goldie isis Osiris oxford university the tab Varsity

The biggest day in the Varsity sporting calendar has arrived. The respective teams from Cambridge and Oxford will battle it out so their universities will have the bragging rights for next year.

In the midst of it all, The Tab is here to bring you live coverage of the whole day. Aren’t you lucky. We are braving the wind, waves, boaties and red chinos so you don’t have to.

So join us, whether you’re in the library or by the riverside, in our day of sporting rivalry. If you have any comments or great photos send them over – either email [email protected] or message our Facebook page – we’d love to hear from you.

The Women’s Boat Race starts at 4:31pm and the Men’s Boat Race starts at 5:32pm.

Key Figures

If you’re going to sack off the revision and devote today to supporting the (Light) Blues, you might want to get clued up on some key facts first.

82 vs 80: Cambridge has the overall lead on Oxford for the men’s race, with this being the 164th meeting of the two teams.

4: It will be the fourth year that the women race on the Tideway, on the same course as the men. Cambridge women won last year, but Oxford won the two years prior. In 2016 the Oxford team won by 24 lengths, as the Cambridge women almost sank.

4.2kg: The Cambridge men’s team are heavier on average, for the fifth year in a row, than the Oxford team. They are also on average 5.9cm taller. Let’s just hope size equals speed.

2kg: Like their male counterparts, the Cambridge women are on average heavier, and also 3.7cm on average taller. The disparity here though, is smaller.

Key Terms

There will be lots of terminology bandied about on race day. If you’re not a rowing enthusiast, these are the key words you really should know

Cox: The person who sits at the end of the boat and yells at the rowers what to do. Usually the smallest on the team, and the unlucky fellas of the winning teams gets thrown into the river.

Middlesex and Surrey: The two banks of the river, the winner of the coin toss gets to decide which side they want to row on.

Goldie and Blondie: The Cambridge Men’s and Women’s Reserve Boats, respectively.

Isis (how unfortunate) and Osiris: The Oxford Men’s and Women’s Reserve Boats, respectively.

Putney: Where the races will be starting, by Putney Bridge.

Mortlake: The races finish here, by Chiswick Bridge.

GDBO: The only term you must know. God Damn Bloody Oxford.

Race Day Live Blog

18:26: And that’s all, fellow Cantabs. Balding’s out, and so are we.


Women win by 7 lengths, time 19:06

Men win by 3 lengths, time 17:51

Women’s reserve win by 9 lengths, time 19:45

Men’s reserve win by 2.5 lengths, time 18:12

18:16: A dunking for the coxes. Much needed after their fiery performance.

18:15: It’s going to be a wild afterparty…

18:11: Cambridge Men win by 17 minutes and 51 seconds, beating Oxford by an amazing 3 lengths.

18:08: Goldie team celebrates

18:05: Light Blue celebrations all round!

18:04: Oxford look despondent as they face the reality of their defeat.

17:59: Freddie Davidson of the winning team said that Hugo was fired up a bit too early and had to be warned not to go too hard straightaway. Commiserations are offered to Oxford.

Freddie Davison getting interviewed

17:57: Think the BBC are going to need a wide lens for this interview. 208cm. Absolutely dwarfs Ramambason.

17:55: Jubilant Cambridge reaches the shore. Let the celebrations begin!

17:51: CAMBRIDGE WINS! Cambridge University – Kings of the Thames.

17:50: Chiswick Bridge in sight, 5 lengths ahead. Cambridge will make this 4 for 4!

17:49: Light Blues maintain their 11s lead over Oxford.

17:48: Think we’ve found the root of Cambridge mens’ success – James Letten in seat 3 looks like he could break the boat in half.

17:46: Coming up to Barnes bridge. Victory is in sight!

17:42: Think we should all just go home now. Looks like another race in the bag. Got to be at least 3 lengths ahead now.

17:40: Hugo Ramambason is playing it fierce!

17:38: Clear water opening up between the crews. Looks like another dismal appearance from the Dark Blues.

17:37: Dominating in the race –  Cambridge looking good, especially in those specs.

17:36: Boats head past the media building

17:35: The umpire is telling the Cambridge boat to move across as the two boats are getting far too close for comfort.

17:34: Huge strokes from the Light Blues as they move a third of a length up on the competition.

17:33: AND WE ARE OFF!!!

17:31: Nerves get tense as the Men’s race is about to start…

17:26: Goldie and Blondie have won the reserve boat races. That’s 3 out of 3 so far – all we need now is that last crown.

17:09: A fizzy celebration on the winner’s podium as the Cambridge women are presented their medals, the trophy, and a big bottle of champagne!

16:56: The Mens’ teams are now on the water.

16:55: Cambridge Women win! And the time is 19min 06s. Ahead by 7 lengths as well.

16:50 Across the line and it’s Cambridge ahead by a distance as wide as the Thames! Incredible work by the team and the first repeat win for the Light Blues since the initiation of the womens’ race.

16:47: Did the Oxford team misplace their fixture times and put out the reserve team first? Who knows, but the Light Blues have this one well and truly wrapped up with just one more bend to go.

16:43: Passing Chiswick and on towards the Barnes Bridge the Cambridge girls have extended the lead to more than 14 seconds.

16:40: Some questionable noises can be heard from the Oxford cox, clearly finding it hard to convince the Dark Blues they’re still in this race.

16:37: Several lengths now between the boats as they approach Hammersmith Bridge.

16:36: The Cambridge boat is just 6 seconds behind the record they set last year, extending their lead with every stroke.

16:34: Oxford are trying to claw their way back as Cambridge are storming on. With 4 returning women on the Cam team, they are experienced in winning.

16:33: Light Blues already have almost have 1/2 length lead.

16:32: Cambridge off to a strong start, even though Oxford should have the advantage in this stretch.


16:27: The official umpire Sir Matthew Pinsent expects a fair race in the calm conditions today – far from the wind from previous years  – although he reckons a record will be unlikely.

16:24: Just 10 minutes until the Women’s Boat Race begins. Weather not looking great, but should hold up. At least it’s not gale force winds.

16:18: BALDING UPDATE! Clare is standing on the balcony with members of the Oxbridge women’s team.


16:13: Pretty grim day in London. Still, people have turned out to watch the races.

15:52: Women’s boats from both Oxford and Cambridge get onto the river.

15:49: You thought you had seen it all with the red chinos. You thought wrong.

15:48: Did I mention we have chocolate brownies as well?

15:46: Unlimited Smartwater – who would have thought being part of the press would be so darn hard?

15:43: Women’s boats ready to go.

15:29: Obligatory press photo after the toss. Some Oxford students having difficulty distinguishing between head and tails and thought they won. Tough luck. We did. Light Blues have opted for the Surrey side, same as the women.

15:25: The Cambridge boys have their eyes on the prize as the teams get ready for the all important coin toss.

15:18: Ooh fancy boat seen on the river. Turns out this is the Queen’s Rowbarge. Loos like it’s rowed by little oompa loompas.

15:13: BALDING UPDATE! Clare is seen talking to some Cambridge students. As an ex-Cantab herself, maybe we’ll get some preferential coverage.

15:08: SPOTTED – a pair of red chinos. This is not a drill. Oxbridge students have not disappointed in living up to the stereotype.

15:03: The Oxford and Cambridge minibuses in respective colours. Hmm I wonder who could be sponsoring The Boat Races.

14:55: Clare Balding spotted right next to us on the table – rubbing shoulders with famous people here at Thames River Boat Club #press privileges.

14:52: Spotted: Oxbridge Gin. Perhaps needed for drowning the sorrows of whoever loses…

14.45: Cambridge start what we hope to be a leading streak by winning the women’s coin toss. Captain Daphne Martschenko immediately chooses to row on the Surrey side of the river, to smiles and cheers from her crew and the supporters.

Hopefully the first victory of many

14:19: The Boat Houses in Putney are getting crowded as the women’s coin toss looms. Light-blue merchandise dominates the scene, as Cambridge supporters appear to outnumber those from the Other Place. An atmosphere of excitement and festivity looms over the Thames despite the murky weather.

Raise the flag with pride!

12:27: Boat Race coverage by the BBC seems to be going ahead, despite a moped gang trying to steal their cameras that were attached to Putney bridge, in the middle of the day. Is this another act against the establishment, trying to sabotage the boat race? One has to wonder what Trenton Oldfield would think…

12:06: Cambridge are favoured to win the Men’s boat race, with the current odds of 1/3, whereas the odds for Dark Blues to win are 11/5. Oxford did win last year, but the crew has changed considerably since then.

Cambridge are also touted to win the Women’s race outright, with the odds of 2/9, and Oxford’s odds are 3/1.

Is it too early to start hoping for a Light Blue clean-sweep?

11:44: Map of today’s race –

11:37: Hello and welcome to today’s livestream. If you’re looking for some serious analysis of rowing technique, I suggest you go and find Clare Balding. If you want regular updates and insight into the Oxbridge shenanigans, stay tuned