Oxford and Cambridge are ready to battle it out on the Thames once more in the 2017 Boat Race. The two universities will compete to row along the London river for the 163rd time in one of British sport’s most iconic events. Oxford will be out for revenge after they were edged out by the Light Blues last year – as Cambridge stretched their all-time record.
But when will the action take place? And where can you watch it all unfold? Here is everything you need to know ahead of the latest instalment of the Boat Race…
With all great sport it is better to see in the flesh – and as is a rarity in modern sport it is free to attend on the west London river banks. Get yourself down to Putney Bridge to see the crews set-off or just down from Chiswick Bridge for the big finale – with plenty of spots to get a view in between.
The best places to watch it are Bishop’s Park and Furnivall Gardens where events and entertainment will get underway at midday and there will be big screens with the race on. There are good spots on some of the bridges the race passes – but get there early. The options are Putney Bridge, where you can see the start, Hammersmith Bridge, which is about halfway, and Chiswick Bridge.
The first race was in 1829 when Oxford, coxed by J.P. Heywood-Lonsdale, triumphed in a friendly challenge between school friends in Henley. Since then the some of the best rowers in the world have competed to prove which university rules the waves. Cambridge is leading the all-time winner list between the universities – having romped to victory 82 times to the Dark Blues’ 79. The women’s race has been an annual occurrence since 1927 – again the Light Blues top the most victories tally with a strong 41-30 lead.
Last year Cambridge ended a four-year losing streak to win by two and a half lengths in the men’s’ race. The women didn’t match their classmates as they nearly sank and lost by 24 length. Olympic hero Matthew Pinsent will be the umpire this year.
The 163rd Boat Race will see Cambridge, weighing in at 93.5kg per man, start as the heavier of the two men’s crews, with Oxford weighing in at 90.2kg per man. Cambridge is also taller than their opponents, reaching 194cm per man compared to Oxford’s 191cm. Oxford is the older of the two boats, though, with an average age of 27 years as opposed to Cambridge at 24.
The 163rd Boat Race and The 72nd Women’s Boat Race will take place on Sunday 2nd April 2017.