It's time, once again, for the Oxford and Cambridge rowing clubs to put out their finest students for a little boat race down the River Thames. Lasting just about twenty minutes, the race is both exhilarating and thrilling to watch as the crews battle it out for supremacy. There is no middle ground - someone will win and someone will lose and to cross the finish line first means everything for those involved.

Story image

Credit: TPHolland / Creative Commons

Last year, Cambridge broke a mini streak from Oxford, taking their first win for three years. Overall, Cambridge are leading with 80 wins to Oxford's 75, but it is so close, there is everything to row for today.

The BBC will be live from 3:45pm GMT, with over an hour's worth of build-up, and the race itself gets underway at 5pm. I'll be Factbyte Factboxing the event from 4pm GMT, so I hope you'll join in the fun and the comments.

150 responses

  • Christine26/03/2011 at 15:45

    Wooo, it's starting.

  • Christine26/03/2011 at 15:47

    Oooh, boat race in HD. Yum.

  • Mr C26/03/2011 at 15:51

    i just woke up and you're watching more sport??

    ...oooh HD.

  • Pat W26/03/2011 at 15:53

    I do like the Boat Race. I can never remember how long it lasts though... am on babysitting duty from 5.30 or 6pm. Do i go before or after!

  • Christine26/03/2011 at 15:53

    I do like the Boat Race. I can never remember how long it lasts though... am on babysitting duty from 5.30 or 6pm. Do i go before or after!

    Starts at 5, for about 20 minutes.

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 15:53

    I have come to join you watch the race as I have given up on Wales :)

  • RG26/03/2011 at 15:54

    Starts at 5, for about 20 minutes.

    75 minutes build up for that, I mean, really?

  • Christine26/03/2011 at 15:54

    75 minutes build up for that, I mean, really?

    Gets no other coverage all year though.

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 15:54

    Oxford get my support as they have won less boat races

  • Pat W26/03/2011 at 15:54

    Starts at 5, for about 20 minutes.

    Okay may watch here first then, thanks.

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 15:56

    Oxford chooses Surrey

    I have no idea what that means but woo!

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 15:58

    That's a big trophy.

  • Christine26/03/2011 at 15:59

    That's a big trophy.

    Arrived via boat. How fitting :)

  • Andy C26/03/2011 at 16:00

    go for Oxford this year, they need to catch up

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 16:00

    Is it possible for them to draw?

  • Mr C26/03/2011 at 16:02

    Is it possible for them to draw?

    apparently a drunk judge called it a draw once. #affinity

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 16:03

    apparently a drunk judge called it a draw once. #affinity

    Haha, that is all kinds of awesome.

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 16:05

    Although this year we have to watch out for the WRS (Wave Reduction System) flapping on the sides of the boats as well as the Kinetic Oar Recovery System/

  • Christine26/03/2011 at 16:05

    Although this year we have to watch out for the WRS (Wave Reduction System) flapping on the sides of the boats as well as the Kinetic Oar Recovery System/

    Hehehehe!

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 16:07

    griff rhys jones!!!

  • Mr C26/03/2011 at 16:07

    There's a book on that, and I highly recommend it: www.amazon.co.uk/…on/dp/1408801191/

    all-knowing fbfb.

  • Andy C26/03/2011 at 16:09

    I 'Bow' to the humour! Im just left in the wake

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 16:10

    pimms bars and everything. That is the high life.

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 16:11

    Whatshername sounds really cold.

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 16:14

    "don't fall over don't fall over don't fall over..."

  • Mr C26/03/2011 at 16:16

    I 'Bow' to the humour! Im just left in the wake

    :)

  • Christine26/03/2011 at 16:18

    "don't fall over don't fall over don't fall over..."

    Bless them all!

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 16:19

    "He fights crocodiles in his spare time"

    Oh right.

  • Janna26/03/2011 at 16:22

    Hello all, come on the blues!

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 16:23

    Hello all, come on the blues!

    Hiya Janna. I imagine such a sentence seems odd for an arsenal fan such as yourself :)

  • Alianora La Canta26/03/2011 at 16:24

    apparently a drunk judge called it a draw once. #affinity

    I thought there was a draw the year both boats sank...

  • Janna26/03/2011 at 16:24

    Hiya Janna. I imagine such a sentence seems odd for an arsenal fan such as yourself :)

    :)

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 16:24

    He actually does fight crocodiles?!

  • Mr C26/03/2011 at 16:32

    ooh, fbfb countdown it ahead when watching the HD timer. encoding/decoding taking an extra 5 seconds (ish).

  • Pat W26/03/2011 at 16:33

    The secondary race "is normally a very good race" says thingy, which is probably why both BBC and ITV largely ignore it every year

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 16:33

    Oh god, I would be so scared if I sank!

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 16:34

    The isis/goldie race is contested as hard as the main blue boat. Whether the tv watch it or not is irrelevant to the crews

  • Mr C26/03/2011 at 16:36

    HD sewage. nice.

  • Andy C26/03/2011 at 16:37

    HD was suppose to make things look nicer

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 16:38

    Oh god, I would be so scared if I sank!

    If you sink in races, it's safe and this is one of the safest. The boat floats - so you stick with it. for the boat race there are about 10 launches and multiple other boats behind it, so plenty of people to pick you up.

    Rowing in races is safe as can be. the danger can be in the training.

  • Mr C26/03/2011 at 16:38

    HD was suppose to make things look nicer

    :)

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 16:38

    If you sink in races, it's safe and this is one of the safest. The boat floats - so you stick with it. for the boat race there are about 10 launches and multiple other boats behind it, so plenty of people to pick you up.

    I would still ask for armbands just to be tripley sure

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 16:40

    I would still ask for armbands just to be tripley sure

    then you need to be a cox - they have lifejackets ;-) I've been into the thames enough from a rowing boat; as long as you are aware of conditions, it's OK

  • Jay26/03/2011 at 16:44

    Got to be small and light to be a Cox though.

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 16:45

    grrrr,, you don't scull in pairs, you scull in doubles!!!!!

    Just got to say I know a fair bit about this sport..I've been a cox, a coach and helped organise a couple of World Championships of various levels ;-) So I may have a bit to say...

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 16:46

    Ed Byrne!

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 16:46

    Just got to say I know a fair bit about this sport..I've been a cox, a coach and helped organise a couple of World Championships of various levels ;-) So I may have a bit to say...

    Blimey! That's a fair bit of experience indeed!

  • Jay26/03/2011 at 16:47

    Born and raised in Cambridge, so of course I'm cheering for the light blues, not The Other Place :)

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 16:47

    Born and raised in Cambridge, so of course I'm cheering for the light blues, not The Other Place :)

    I think the Tabs may be on for a win, but still going to be cheering for Oxford :-)

  • Christine26/03/2011 at 16:48

    Just got to say I know a fair bit about this sport..I've been a cox, a coach and helped organise a couple of World Championships of various levels ;-) So I may have a bit to say...

    That's good, we could do with some knowledge :)

  • Jay26/03/2011 at 16:48

    Never rowed in my life though, but have done the odd bit of punting :)

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 16:48

    Never rowed in my life though, but have done the odd bit of punting :)

    I do like to float about swimming pools on a dinghy, but I imagine it's a bit more difficult for the boat race

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 16:49

    Somewhere in the world Mel Smith and James May are presenting something together

  • Christine26/03/2011 at 16:50

    I do like to float about swimming pools on a dinghy, but I imagine it's a bit more difficult for the boat race

    I have steered a narrowboat. That was quite tiring :)

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 16:50

    For corporate events..I've taken a crew from knowing nothing to being able to race in 6 sessions. It's not too bad to get the basics

  • Pat W26/03/2011 at 16:50

    grrrr,, you don't scull in pairs, you scull in doubles!!!!!

    There's a difference?

    Just got to say I know a fair bit about this sport..I've been a cox, a coach and helped organise a couple of World Championships of various levels ;-) So I may have a bit to say...

    Oh nice :)

  • Jay26/03/2011 at 16:52

    I think the Tabs may be on for a win, but still going to be cheering for Oxford :-)

    Been so bad in recent years, I'm pretty sure The Boat Race pub on East Road's been renamed :p

    Though there's still a pub on King St called the Champions of the Thames.

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 16:52

    Sculls you have too oars - one for each hand. Rowing you have one oar, using both hands.

    For rowing, you have pairs, fours, eights

    For sculling you have singles, doubles, quads and (rarely) octuples

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 16:53

    That's good, we could do with some knowledge :)

    I'll do my best to answer questions

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 16:54

    FBFB, you'll have to blame Eastenders for the bendy Thames, they're always showing it off.

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 16:56

    Yay, isis won ;-)

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 16:58

    As an FYI, Cambridge apparently got a new boat last week. It's a little close to the main race for changing boats but it could have a positive or negative effect. Either they were having issues before and there'll be a psychological advantage in having a 'new, faster' boat, or they'll have had he change forced on them and hate it. Not sure what is the case this time.

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 16:59

    They'll go off the start at over 40 strokes a minute, after about 15-20 strokes it'll should drop to mid 30s, then down to low 30's later

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 17:00

    Here we go!!

  • Mr C26/03/2011 at 17:00

    ooh, the went backwards.

  • RG26/03/2011 at 17:01

    Is Andrew Cotter the BBC's non-football commentator go to guy?

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 17:01

    Oxford are trying to move into the stream, they're being warned, so they need to move out

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 17:02

    How can they see the bridges behind them?

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 17:02

    Theyre really close!

  • Journeyer26/03/2011 at 17:02

    No TV for me, so only 5Live... and Legard! :D

  • Jay26/03/2011 at 17:02

    The Cox is facing the opposite direction from the rowers, so is looking the direction the boat is going.

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 17:03

    Oxford need to hold the outside of the bend, they're about 2 men up. If they hold it, they have advantage around Hammersmith

    Lukeh: the cox know the river and knows exactly where to place the boat

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 17:03

    The Cox is facing the opposite direction from the rowers, so is looking the direction the boat is going.

    Ahhh right, I gotcha

    I see how theyre making them change direction too

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 17:04

    When you head towards Hammersmith Bridge, the cox aims for one of the lamp posts...when doing a race the other direction, it's the second form the left on the middle section

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 17:05

    The aim is to get ahead and then move into the stream - it's only about one boat wide, so difficult to move around. Oxford is trying to intimidate Cambridge, trying to push them out when they're on the bend

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 17:06

    Under Hammersmith is a time for a big push - Oxford will be after clear water as they go through the bridge

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 17:07

    They're ahead a bit now!

  • Mr C26/03/2011 at 17:07

    good lord, look at that fleet following. camera boats?

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 17:07

    good lord, look at that fleet following. camera boats?

  • Pat W26/03/2011 at 17:07

    They've got a lead now

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 17:08

    arrggh, quote fail.

    They're camera boats, parents, interested parties, and anyone else who has a boat and can get permission

  • Mr C26/03/2011 at 17:08

    They're camera boats, parents, interested parties, and anyone else who has a boat and can get permission

    aha, cheers.

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 17:08

    They're sticking to the racing line :)

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 17:09

    good lord, look at that fleet following. camera boats?

    so many boats! :)

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 17:09

    Oxford need to have a complete fail now..it's been done, but difficult to pass - see cambridge have switched sides to try and undercut them. They can't do it too far, otherwise they lose the stream

    (they're racing 'upstream' on a rising tide, so moving out of the stream means they hot water coming down the river)

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 17:10

    With all the boats folliowing them, any of the spectators who get slightly too close to river is going to get soaked. There is a BIG wake that gets created

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 17:10

    Cambridge are really falling back arent they

  • Mr C26/03/2011 at 17:11

    Cambridge are really falling back arent they

    stroke rate is the same, how's that work then?

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 17:11

    stroke rate is the same, how's that work then?

    did tilke make the thames?

  • Jay26/03/2011 at 17:11

    Oxford need to have a complete fail now..it's been done, but difficult to pass

    Indeed, we did it last year didn't we?

  • Pat W26/03/2011 at 17:12

    did tilke make the thames?

    :)

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 17:12

    Length of stroke and effort - the speed is about how far the boat moves underneath them whn the blades are not in the water - so you push and let the boat float towards you

    you can have the same rate, but a faster crew will move the boat further per stroke

  • Mr C26/03/2011 at 17:12

    you can have the same rate, but a faster crew will move the boat further per stroke

    oooh, got ya, cheers.

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 17:13

    Indeed, we did it last year didn't we?

    You need a rower to fail at this point. If they keep it together, it's difficult, If one person blows up in Oxford, then the whole boat will fail

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 17:14

    damn, looks like they are going to be faster than predicted..may lose my bet!

  • Mr C26/03/2011 at 17:15

    loud crowd!

  • Jay26/03/2011 at 17:16

    Are the motor boats meant to be that close?

  • Pat W26/03/2011 at 17:17

    What a dominant performance

  • Pat W26/03/2011 at 17:17

    Are the motor boats meant to be that close?

    That might be an effect of the camera

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 17:17

    Ooooh I see what you mean about the wave behind them!

  • Mr C26/03/2011 at 17:17

    Ooooh I see what you mean about the wave behind them!

    f1 turbulence :)

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 17:17

    Oxford... wiiiiiiins!

  • Andy C26/03/2011 at 17:17

    Oxford done a Vettel

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 17:17

    THe baots can be pretty close - they just can't overtake the umpire - wil be right behind them

  • Jay26/03/2011 at 17:17

    Well done Oxford... *grumble grumble*

  • Pat W26/03/2011 at 17:18

    Oxford done a Vettel

    heheh

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 17:18

    Oxford done a Vettel

    Didnt even use KORS either

  • Journeyer26/03/2011 at 17:18

    Oxford... wiiiiiiins!

    You should've heard Legard announce the win - he hasn't lost his F1 touch. :D And his analyst's name is also Martin!

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 17:19

    You can see my flat from that overhead shot ;-) I live just down the road from the boathouse they'll disembark at

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 17:19

    You can see my flat from that overhead shot ;-) I live just down the road from the boathouse they'll disembark at

    Get a round in, these guys deserve a cuppa :)

  • Mr C26/03/2011 at 17:20

    You can see my flat from that overhead shot ;-) I live just down the road from the boathouse they'll disembark at

    give us a wave!

  • Pat W26/03/2011 at 17:20

    You can see my flat from that overhead shot ;-) I live just down the road from the boathouse they'll disembark at

    Why aren't you by the river??

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 17:20

    Get a round in, these guys deserve a cuppa :)

    They'll have not really been drinking for 6 months. they won't be wanting a cuppa..they've have champagne and carry on from there at the boat race ball tonight!

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 17:21

    PatW - i do most years, normally at the boat house next to the finish line. But they let it out this year so nowhere to go. So I want to watch the whole race, not just the 30 second glimpse, so watch form home

  • Mr C26/03/2011 at 17:23

    PatW - i do most years, normally at the boat house next to the finish line. But they let it out this year so nowhere to go. So I want to watch the whole race, not just the 30 second glimpse, so watch form home

    glad you did, appreciate the insight.

  • Pat W26/03/2011 at 17:24

    The combination of the Australian GP and The Boat Race is the traditional sign of the end of winter. :)

  • Pat W26/03/2011 at 17:24

    PatW - i do most years, normally at the boat house next to the finish line. But they let it out this year so nowhere to go. So I want to watch the whole race, not just the 30 second glimpse, so watch form home

    Good plan, cheers for joining us, lots of good info. :)

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 17:26

    Mr C, Pat W,

    glad it was useful.

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 17:26

    glad it was useful.

    it was very useful! :)

  • Pat W26/03/2011 at 17:32

    The combination of the Australian GP and The Boat Race is the traditional sign of the end of winter. :)

    Then the Grand National on the 9th and London Marathon on the 17th.

  • Mr C26/03/2011 at 17:32

    Then the Grand National on the 9th and London Marathon on the 17th.

    oooh, more fbfb, what dates?

  • Mr C26/03/2011 at 17:33

    oooh, more fbfb, what dates?

    ...month, rather.

  • RG26/03/2011 at 17:34

    ...month, rather.

    Greatest month of them all... April.

  • Mr C26/03/2011 at 17:34

    Greatest month of them all... April.

    ooh, that's soon.

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 17:36

    Dont they want the trophy?

  • Mr C26/03/2011 at 17:36

    it's hard to look casual in wellies.

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 17:37

    Thats a BIG bottle.

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 17:39

    This is one of the few races where someone else looks after your boat when you've finished...usually you have to sort it out :-)

  • Pat W26/03/2011 at 17:39

    That female cos is Amy-sized

  • Pat W26/03/2011 at 17:39

    or are the rowers very big

  • Pat W26/03/2011 at 17:40

    Then the Grand National on the 9th and London Marathon on the 17th.

    oooh, more fbfb, what dates?

    Marathon is the same day as the Chinese GP so we might have to miss the professionals race, which is quite annoying.

  • Christine26/03/2011 at 17:40

    They're gonna throw him in!

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 17:40

    They're gonna throw him in!

    again I would ask for armbands and perhaps a float :)

  • RachelC26/03/2011 at 17:41

    Christine, they always do. It's tradition!

  • Christine26/03/2011 at 17:41

    Christine, they always do. It's tradition!

    I know! It's the best bit :)

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 17:41

    Marathon is the same day as the Chinese GP so we might have to miss the professionals race, which is quite annoying.

    I'm sure the professionals wont mind if we miss their race. We can always see them in Turkey 2 weeks la... ohhhh, wait...

  • Pat W26/03/2011 at 17:41

    I'm sure the professionals wont mind if we miss their race. We can always see them in Turkey 2 weeks la... ohhhh, wait...

    Hahah :)

  • Jay26/03/2011 at 17:42

    lol

    I'm more fussed by the Saturday evening after the Marathon tbh ;)

  • Jay26/03/2011 at 17:43

    **starts humming Dr Who theme tune** >_>

  • Lukeh26/03/2011 at 17:47

    That was fun :) thanks FBFB

  • Jay26/03/2011 at 17:47

    Yup, thanks fbfb

  • Mr C26/03/2011 at 17:49

    we're gonna leave the fbfb visible for a bit, 'cause closing it quickly confuses people.

    just in case you wonder why it's still there.

  • Christine26/03/2011 at 17:49

    Replay embedded.

  • Pat W26/03/2011 at 17:52

    we're gonna leave the fbfb visible for a bit, 'cause closing it quickly confuses people.

    I meant to mention that the other day, I've noticed you'd been shutting it down before I've had a chance to see the goodbye message.

  • Christine26/03/2011 at 17:54

    I'm not sure it's such a good idea, because there's no way we're going to remember to close it later. But if it helps people, it's worth a shot.

    The replay is right there, of course, but we shall see. I bet we don't remember :)

  • Pat W26/03/2011 at 17:55

    I'm not sure it's such a good idea, because there's no way we're going to remember to close it later. But if it helps people, it's worth a shot.

    Maybe just leave it for 3 or 5 minutes? I think it is just the shutting down within seconds that's the issue.

  • Christine26/03/2011 at 17:56

    Maybe just leave it for 3 or 5 minutes? I think it is just the shutting down within seconds that's the issue.

    Maybe. I've never been on the other side of it, so I'll have to trust ya :)

  • Pat W26/03/2011 at 17:57

    Maybe. I've never been on the other side of it, so I'll have to trust ya :)

    Well with a FBFB feed, comment feed and Twitter feed as well as watching the actual event, it helps to have it there for 5 minutes just to catch up..

  • Christine26/03/2011 at 18:04

    Well with a FBFB feed, comment feed and Twitter feed as well as watching the actual event, it helps to have it there for 5 minutes just to catch up..

    Understood.

  • Amanda26/03/2011 at 18:52

    Oh yes. Oxford it is!! Can't wait to watch the recorded race. :-) Wales - England 0:2 :-) Almost a good day ... #vettelonpole