Not Cuckoo: Signs of Spring

The Oxford men’s first four, number 38, narrowly leads the Cambridge men’s first four, number 39, at Hammersmith Bridge during the recent Fours Head of the River Race. At the finish, the Light Blues proved to be 2.3 seconds faster over the 4 ¼-mile course.

6 December 2022

By Tim Koch

Tim Koch sees aquatic indicators of spring.

Many people in Britain regard hearing a cuckoo in mid-April as the first sign of spring. However, HTBS Types associate spring more with the holding of the Boat Race than the sounds of the order Cuculiformes. The first indicators of Boat Race season are when Oxford and Cambridge crews race in the Fours Head and when the Presidents of the previous years losing clubs challenge their opponents to a rematch.This year, the former took place on 20 November, the latter on 30 November. 

Fours For Eights

The results for all entrants in the Fours Head are on its website. On a fast tide, ten out of twelve course records were broken, some having previously stood for twenty-four years. The fastest men’s crew was the Open Championship 4x of Leander Club (Seb Devereux) who recorded a time of 17.28.4. The fastest women were also from Leander, the Open Championship 4x of Lola Anderson going over in 18.56.8

The Oxbridge crews’ Fours Head results are summarised below. As a predictor of possible Boat Race performance, the championship coxed fours are usually of the most interest.

The men’s results in the championship coxed fours showed no significant difference – though last year’s underdogs, Cambridge, will be happy with the bragging rights that their marginally better performance gave them.
In the women’s races, it is possible that Oxford made the coxless four their top championship boat – but Cambridge will still be happy that their top coxed championship four was nearly four-seconds faster than their opponents without the noisy deadweight and twenty-three seconds faster than those with.

The 2023 Boat Race Launch Event incorporating The Presidents’ Challenge

Olympic gold medalist and rowing journalist, Martin Cross, was the master of ceremonies at the 2023 Boat Race Launch Event held in central London on 30 November.
A press release with a brief summary of both the 2022 Boat Races and the timetable for the 2022/2023 Boat Race Season.
The Presidents’ Challenges. 
It is not just perspective that is emphasising the height difference here. The Oxford Men’s President, Tassilo Von Mueller (left), is 199 cm / 6ft 6ins while the Cambridge Men’s President, Ollie Boyne (right), is 163 cm / 5ft 4 ins.
Unlike the men, Oxford Women’s President, Sara Helin (left) and Cambridge Women’s President, Caoimhe Dempsey, see eye-to-eye (“Kwee-vuh” is the most common way of pronouncing Caoimhe in Ireland, however it is also pronounced as “Kee-va”, especially in Northern Ireland).
Young rowers from Cambridgeshire’s Ely College, one of the beneficiaries of the Gemini Boat Race Bursary.

With the support of Gemini founders Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, in 2021 the Boat Race Company created the Gemini Boat Race Bursary to support organisations that enable young people to translate the skills and lessons learned together in the boat or on the rowing machine into their daily lives, their studies and in their communities. In 2022, the Bursary supported Fulham Reach Boat Club, London Youth Rowing (Leeds), Behind Every Kick, Brixton Wings, Firhill Youth Community Hub, Warrington Youth Rowing and Ely College. The 2023 Beneficiaries will be announced early next year.

Upcoming: Trial by Eights

The Trial Eights are not contests of Light Blue v Dark Blue, they are men’s and women’s intra-university races with the probable last eighteen for each Blue Boat all hoping to impress the coaches with their performances competing over the Putney to Mortlake course.

The 2021/2022 Cambridge men’s trial race. The 2022/2023 men’s and the women’s Light Blue races will be on Monday, 12 December.
The 2021/2022 Oxford women’s trial race. The 2022/2023 men’s and the women’s Dark Blue races will be on Sunday, 11 December.

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