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The vocabulary of The Boat Races

The vocabulary of The Boat Races


Have you learnt your spoons out of your sterns? How about your catches out of your cox? This week we’ll be tuning in to look at the annual Boat Race between the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford. However similar to any sport, rowing makes use of some distinctive phrases that you could be be much less conversant in. So we’ve collaborated with the Cambridge College Boat Membership to assist! 

We’ve produced the video under, in collaboration with Cambridge College Boat Membership, and The Boat Race Firm Ltd, to clarify a few of the phrases and phrases you and your college students would possibly hear should you watch or take heed to the Boat Races.

What’s The Boat Race?

There are many rowing races that happen around the globe yearly, however one of the vital well-known is the annual contest between the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford. Actually, it’s so well-known that many individuals, particularly within the UK, check with it merely as “The Boat Race”. 

Regardless of being often called The Boat Race, there are literally two essential races that happen on the day: the Males’s Boat Race, and the Girls’s Boat Race.

The primary Boat Race between Cambridge and Oxford came about in 1829 between two male crews. The ladies’s race then began in 1927.

The route

The Boat Races happen on what is called the Championship Course. It is a 6.8-kilometre route alongside the River Thames in London. Greater than 250,000 spectators come to look at the Males’s and Girls’s races in particular person yearly, and thousands and thousands extra watch the races on tv.

Earlier than a race begins, a coin toss takes place to resolve the place every staff of rowers, often called a crew, will start. The winner of the coin toss will get to decide on their Station, which suggests the aspect of the river they’ll race on. The north station is called Middlesex, and the south station is called Surrey
The races start on the Putney Bridge – the official place to begin is marked by the College Stone, a 2.5-foot excessive marker. The 2 crews then row as quick as they’ll alongside the river earlier than crossing the official end line marked by the College Submit.

Picture credit score: Benedict Tufnell Row360

The boats and the blade

The kind of boats utilized in The Boat Races are known as “Eights” as a result of each has eight rowers. The boats additionally include a Coxswain, or Cox for brief. The Cox is there to encourage the crew, hold them rowing in time, and steer the boat utilizing the rudder.

The entrance of the boat is named the bow, and the again is named the stern. That is the place the Cox sits, so they’re going through the route the boat is transferring.

The crews use a kind of oar known as a blade to row their boats. Three essential components make up the blade: 

  • The deal with: that is the half the rowers maintain onto. 
  • The loom: the longest a part of the blade 
  • And the spoon: that is the half that enters the water and propels the boat.

The right way to row

Skilled rowers would possibly make it look straightforward, however rowing is an extremely technical and bodily demanding sport – all the rowers that happen within the Boat Race are distinctive athletes. They use their total physique, not simply their arms, to get the utmost pressure by the blade and propel their boat by the water. 

The motion of rowing is called the stroke. There are 4 essential components to a rowing stroke. You might have:

  • The catch: that is the beginning of the stroke and the second when the spoon enters the water. 
  • The drive: When the rower attracts the blade by the water, propelling the boat forwards.
  • The end: when the rower lifts the blade out of the water. 
  • And the restoration: when the rower pulls the blade again and prepares for the subsequent catch.

It’s important that each rower is completely in time with the opposite seven crew members in order that they’ll make the boat transfer as effectively as potential.

Picture credit score: Benedict Tufnell Row360

Come on Cambridge!

We are able to’t await this 12 months’s boat races, and we hope you’re excited too – don’t neglect to cheer for Cambridge!

We’ve produced the video in collaboration with Cambridge College Boat Membership, and The Boat Race Firm Ltd, that can assist you and your college students familiarize yourself with the vocabulary of Boat Race.

And should you watch the Boat Race in 2023, you would possibly spot our two great presenters Alex Ridell-Webster and Seb Benzecry…

All photograph credit: Benedict Tufnell Row360