Seventeen Men and a Girl

Sue Brown was the first female cox to steer a men’s crew in The Boat Race, for Oxford in 1981.

13 March 2019

At this year’s Boat Races, Matthew Holland coxed Cambridge women’s Blue Boat, while Victoria Warner steered Oxford men’s reserve crew, Isis. The first woman to cox a men’s Oxbridge boat was Sue Brown (Oxford) in 1981.

‘Sue Brown came to her Oxford crew with Olympic colours, having coxed the women’s four at Moscow 1980, and had previously coxed in the Women’s Boat Race, yet her selection for the Boat Race would still ruffle feathers,’ Lisa Taylor writes in an article published on the website “Playing Pasts”.

Read Lisa’s article here.


  1. It looks (from the first paragraph of her article) as if Lisa Taylor hasn’t realised that FISA rules have changed and that women are now allowed to cox men’s crews (and vice versa) in international competition as well as domestically.

  2. Do you know if Sue Brown is still involved with the sport ,did Leander Club eventually invite her to join and if so did she accept?

  3. Hi – The article was originally published in 2017 – and therefore the paper reflects this – I have added a note to the beginning of the paper to this effect so that the article can be read in that light
    Many thanks for this – Margaret Roberts (Editor in Chief – Playing Pasts)

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