A Little Bird Told Me…

@hughlaurie (CUBC 1980) kicked off Boat Race Day 2021 with these thoughts.

5 April 2021

By Tim Koch

Tim Koch is all of a Twitter.

In the unlikely event that any HTBS Types missed the 2021 Oxford – Cambridge Boat Races, recorded coverage is available on YouTube and BBC iPlayer.

My summary of the day would be: good organisation, good weather, good rowing, good coxing, good umpiring, good racing. Not as good for Oxford as for Cambridge but, in the absence of my hoped-for double draw, half the crews racing had to be disappointed. The Telegraph’s Rachel Quarrell has a longer and more articulate report online

With the exception of the small number of people allowed into the “Ely Bubble”, we all saw the same coverage of Boat Race Day 2021. However, social media platforms show that we do not all see the same thing in the same way and I am going to look at the day through the medium of Twitter posts with the hashtag “TheBoatRace”. 

The Build-Up

Posting “preview” pictures after the races are done may seem a little redundant, but local residents in Ely and Littleport were in a unique position to legally photograph some of the build-up to the event following the recent relaxation of the COVID restrictions. Most notable of these was Glynis Pierson, a talented amateur photographer.

Getting pontoons into place. Picture: @glynpierson
Clearing the course. Picture: @glynpierson
The Ely course was easier for television to cover than the Tideway, but a remarkable number of technicians and riggers were still required.
The Oxford women begin a training outing. Picture: @glynpierson
The Cambridge men do a little “inside hand off”. Picture: @glynpierson
Cambridge coach Baker keeps an eye on his boys. Picture: @glynpierson
The Oxford men in monochrome. Picture: @glynpierson
The Cambridge women let the boat run.
The start by @ChrisRolfe and the finish by @emmaproofreader.
Boat Race crowds by @imnotfromsparks.
Introducing the rowers. Picture from the BBC broadcast.

The bizarre light show/pyrotechnics/1970s stadium rock that accompanied each crew member from the boathouse to the boat was the subject of many Tweets. Suggestions as to what was happening included:

WWE wrestlers?
I thought I was watching Gladiators
Tonight, Matthew, I’m going to be…
Miss World is back
Is this the NFL?
More like a monster truck show
Disco lives!
It’s Formula 1 from Ely   

The Race

The Cambridge women victorious. Picture: @jjgiddens
The men’s race in action. Using a combine harvester as a viewing platform was very Ely. Picture: @GeoffRobinson49
The men’s race nears the finish. Picture: @TerryPix
Cambridge Men cross the line first. Picture: @jjgiddens 
Cambridge enjoy their win. Picture: @jjgiddens
The men’s crews wait to go in. Picture: @jjgiddens

Meanwhile back on the Tideway…

Putney Embankment on Boat Race Day. @David_Friend01 felt that something was missing…
Members of various local clubs demonstrated about the continuing prohibition on rowing under Hammersmith Bridge. Picture: @openourriver
The 88 Mile Post.
A picture from @coconino suggesting yet another reason why the Boat Race did not take place on the Putney to Mortlake course this year #EverGiven

One comment

  1. Am I correct in noticing that the crews were aligned at the start by their sterns? Does this mean that the boats are both the same length, therefore judging by the bows at the finish is OK?

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