Six ways to recreate the Varsity Boat Race at home

Not able to be at the riverside? No worries, here’s how to recreate that Boat Race atmosphere in lockdown.

boat race boat race 2021 Cambridge Oxford Varsity Varsity Boat Race

In a break from tradition, the Cambridge-O*ford boat race will this year be held on the River Ely. Following its cancellation last year, due to COVID, the race will take place in Cambridgeshire with all spectators banned. 

So, yet again, COVID-19 has taken away the enjoyment of another Cambridge tradition – getting drunk, watching the boat race live in London, and screaming for victory for the light blues. Fear not, The Tab is here to save the day and give you some top tips for recreating that riverside atmosphere. 

1. Stash, all the stash, wear anything and everything light blue

Even if you aren’t in attendance at the riverside, you can show support for our University team by donning the lovely Cambridge blue. An added benefit – you can flex on all your family members/friends once more, that you do in fact go to Cambridge.

Finally, a productive use for all that money I spent at Ryder & Amies (Image: Author)

2. Shouting your support in the garden or out your window

On the topic of showing support for the light blues, you can imagine you’re at the bustling riverside (and remind your neighbours which side they should be supporting) by shouting ‘GO CAMBRIDGE’ at the top of your voice. Plus, if you are in Cambridge and shout loud enough, the rowers might even hear you.

3. Purge your house of everything O*ford blue

Navy blue is out. It’s all about that Cambridge blue (although I will admit, I’ve always thought it looks more greeny than blue). Get rid of any potential bad luck for the Cambridge rowers by ridding your house of anything and everything dark blue. Even your mum’s favourite throw pillows have got to go! She won’t mind. It’s for a good cause.

Sorry mum! (Image: Author)

4. Sit outside with a beer (bonus impact if it’s raining)

Heartbreakingly, I have never been to the boat race in person. Unfortunately, that’s what happens when a pandemic sticks around for both your first and second years at University. However, when I asked a friend what it’s like, they told me, ‘expect to stand in the rain, freezing cold, with a beer.’ Emphasis was also placed on a disappointingly short glimpse at the actual rowers, so maybe it is actually better to be watching on TV. But if you want to recreate that live atmosphere, watch the race outside in the cold with your fingers crossed for some atmospheric April Showers.

5. Engage in some rivalry with friends from The Other Place

A key advantage of in-person Varsity events is the friendly rivalry with the dark blues. Whilst this will be lacking as we instead tune in from home, it doesn’t mean you remind your O*ford friends that the Cambridge men’s team have four years of wins over them, whilst the women have an even more impressive margin of fourteen victories.

Two years into my time at Cambridge and I still don’t really understand what ‘shoe the tabs’ actually means…(Image: Author)

6. Actually recreate the Boat Race

A bonus tip here, if you fancy some fun on Easter Sunday, then you can stage your own little boat race with some origami or tin foil boats. I couldn’t get out to the nearby river, which meant my Mum was rather concerned to find some soggy paper boats in her bath, but it was a fun little bit of procrastination.

Thanks to my lacklustre origami skills, the Cambridge boat began taking on water in the spirit of the 2016 women’s race (Image: Author)

I will also be sure to frequently remind my family that I only just missed out on being in the Cambridge crew…after that one taster session I did during Freshers.

Good luck to the Cambridge crews and all you stay at home supporters!

Feature Image: Matilda Head

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