A few strokes into the 2016 Women’s Boat Race with Oxford on the left (Surrey station) and Cambridge on the right (Middlesex station). For those unfamiliar with the 4 1/4 mile/6.8 km course, a map is here.
4 April 2016
This is the second part of Tim Koch’s belated three-piece report on Boat Race Day 2016 with emphasis on the Women’s Race, which he followed from the press launch.
On Easter Sunday, Sir Matthew Pinsent called the conditions during parts of the 2016 Boat Races ‘Biblical’. Certainly, in just one remarkable part of a very remarkable race, there was a miracle of sorts when, at Barnes Bridge, the Cambridge Women’s Blue Boat rose from the dead. However, having been thrice denied by Oxford, in 2013, 2014 and 2015, they could not ultimately make this a Resurrection Sunday and the Dark Blues smote their opponents mightily, leaving them 24 lengths behind and crying in the wilderness.
Writing in the
Daily Telegraph, Rachel Quarrell captured the essence of the race when she wrote:
In the women’s race, a fluffed first stroke handed Cambridge an early advantage. The Oxford women made up for that with a quicker cruising speed throughout the race, which gave them time to pick their course as they entered through the rough waters.
Cambridge took the initial lead when Oxford had a bad start but, by the end of Putney Embankment, the Dark Blues had started to inch ahead. Pictured here at two minutes and thirty five seconds into the race (henceforth referred to in the style ‘+ 2 min 35 sec’) and approaching Barn Elms, Cambridge, rowing at a higher rate, were warned for trying to push Oxford out.
+ 3 min 08 sec: Both coxes steered well, the parallax error inherent in photographing from behind and to the side here making Oxford look further ahead than they were. The Dark Blues were four seats up at the Mile Post but both crews were given a time of 4 min 13 sec.
+ 5 min 28 sec: At this point, Oxford were six seats up and, as the crews approached Harrods, just downstream of Hammersmith Bridge, they had stretched out their lead to around three quarters of a length.
+ 7 min 03 sec: At Hammersmith Bridge, Oxford led by just two seconds and Cambridge continued to maintain an overlap (despite what this picture appears to show).
+ 8 min 18 sec: Passing Dove Pier, opposite St Paul’s School, Cambridge clung on, still overlapping as Oxford struggled to get away.
+ 8 min 30 sec: Approaching Latymer School Boathouse, the blade of Cambridge’s ‘2’ came unnervingly close to that of the Oxford stroke (though the long camera lens exaggerates this).
+ 9 min 49 sec: The blue window above the head of Oxford’s ‘3’ marks the mid-way point. At the top of the Hammersmith bend, Cambridge, on the worse station and rowing in Oxford’s puddles, began to fall back as the conditions ‘got Biblical’. ~ Matthew 8:24. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves……
+ 10 min 13 sec: Below Chiswick Eyot, Oxford cox Morgan Baynham-Williams decided to steer for calmer water beside the little island and switched stations to Middlesex.
+ 10 min 45 sec: Alongside the Eyot, Baynham-Williams found that her bold move did not give her the advantage that she had hoped for and Cambridge, in the faster water, closed the gap. However, in the prevailing conditions, it was not possible for them to capitalise on Oxford’s mistake and make a ‘big move’. ~ Isaiah 54:11. O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted…..
+ 11 min 18 sec: At the top of the Eyot, Baynham-Williams returned to the Surrey station, bravely or foolishly cutting closely across the Cambridge bow.
+ 11 min 28 sec: By this stage it was clear that Cambridge had taken on a lot of water and that Oxford had better adapted to the extreme conditions. The times to Chiswick Steps were Oxford 12 min 39 sec, Cambridge 12 min 47 sec. ~ Psalm 69:14. Deliver me from the mire and do not let me sink; May I be delivered from my foes and from the deep waters.
+ 13 min 43 sec: From above the Eyot, Oxford started to pull away and had a two-length lead at Chiswick Pier.
+ 14 min 26 sec: Above Chiswick Pier, another dramatic and risky move from Oxford, then three lengths up, as Baynham-Williams made the brave decision to head for the Middlesex bank, gaining shelter but losing the stream. ~ Psalm 55:8. I would hasten to my place of refuge from the stormy wind and tempest.
+ 15 min 06 sec: It was a move that worked as Oxford, in calmer waters, regained their rhythm and drew away from Cambridge who were still looking for stream in mid-river and taking on water faster than their pumps could cope with. ~ Ezekiel 36:25. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
+ 15 min 22 sec: Below Barnes Bridge, Oxford continued to draw away. Oxford reached the bridge in 17 min 55 sec, Cambridge in 18 min 33 sec.
+ 18 min 42 sec: Above Barnes Bridge, Cambridge were clearly in serious trouble with their hull barely visible, but modern rules on buoyancy mean that the swamped boat was just about rowable. ~ James 1:12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial…..
+ 19 min 41 sec: Above Barnes Bridge the following flotilla was held back and Umpire Rob Clegg offered Cambridge the option to stop (my view of this was blocked by the umpire’s launch). Cox Ostfeld refused it, moved to the Middlesex bank and, as her crew reached calmer water, the pumps began to empty the boat of water and they were able to row to the finish. ~ Matthew 20:16. So the last will be first, and the first last.
+ 21 min 30 sec: With Oxford (in the distance, on the far left of the picture) just about to cross the winning line, Cambridge struggled on to finish over a minute later. The finish times were Oxford 21 min 49 sec and Cambridge 23 min 00 sec, but this result should not cause us to forget what a good and close race it was before the conditions got ‘insane’ and Cambridge came off worse. ~ Timothy 4:7. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith….
Bow: Emma Lukasiewicz, 2: Emma Spruce, 3: Joanneke Jansen, 4: Ruth Siddorn, 5: Ëlo Luik, 6: Anastasia Chitty, 7: Maddy Badcott, Stroke: Lauren Kedar, Cox: Morgan Baynham-Williams.
Bow: Ashton Brown, 2: Fiona Macklin, 3: Alice Jackson, 4: Théa Zabell, 5: Daphne Martschenko, 6: Myriam Goudet, 7: Hannah Roberts, Stroke: Zara Goozee, Cox: Rosemary Ostfeld.
My usual atheistic and occasionally Satanic writing will be resumed in my third and final report on Boat Race Day 2016.
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