The river at Cambridge is too narrow to allow boats to race side by side or overtake safely, so a different kind of race had to be devised.
The boats race in groups of seventeen and start at various points along the river with one-and-a-half boat lengths between each boat. The fastest crew from the previous race starts at the front with the second fastest behind them and so on down the line.
The idea then is to try to catch up with and bump the boat ahead. Once a bump is achieved the crews involved pull over to the side of the river to let the following crews past. As you will see in the video later, this does not always go as smoothly as it might!
Sometimes bumps occur within a few hundred yards of the start, while others chase the whole length of the course to no avail. For the next race the crews involved in a bump change places in the start order.
Successful crews decorate themselves with ivy - there being a lack of laurel leaves along the river bank.
So here's a video which I hope captures some of the excitement, exuberance and exertion of the event. There are four races featured - two Women's races and two Men's. Hold tight!
A quiet afternoon on the river - not.
That is such a great, exuberant race! So much energy. Love the video.ReplyDelete
Excellent video. They do fly down the river with grace!ReplyDelete
So enjoyed the races. Tricky to pull aside to let others pass because of the length of the oars and the narrow channel. Great and information.ReplyDelete
Not the usual race we see. Interesting how it has been adapted to the conditions.ReplyDelete
Would have probably ended up doing that myself if I'd not missed my grades for Cambridge by a mileReplyDelete
Really good video of it. Made me feel I was there! It looks lovely there.ReplyDelete
I was amazed at how they could come to a stop in such a short distance. Thanks for showing us this.ReplyDelete
Never realized what the bumps meant. Good explanation; I must have missed your previous post. But still sounds like chaos on the river!ReplyDelete
That's a very interesting way to race. I'll have to show this post to my neighbor, who is very involved in rowing.ReplyDelete
Thank you for the very interesting post and the beautiful video.ReplyDelete
Such an elegant sport!
That was fun to watch....looked like some gnarly traffic jams a time or two there.ReplyDelete
Ah the peace and serenity of the swan bits.ReplyDelete
Wow, that is pretty narrow for racing. Neat variation they've invented.ReplyDelete
It is such a great tradition.ReplyDelete
So interesting, thank you for sharing the piece and the knowledge.ReplyDelete
How brilliant! I've never heard about this before. Thanks JohnReplyDelete
loved watching the "Lents Bumps" race - what fun !ReplyDelete
Is that what those students spend their time doing.ReplyDelete
The Coaches on bikes look to be just as chaotic.