Boat Race Build-Up: CUBC Triumphant over British U23s in Tideway Fixture

Camrbidge take the lead (Photo: Iain Weir,
With the Boat Race just over three weeks away, the Cambridge Blue Boat showed that they have been making the best of Winter training, racing a crew of British U23 triallists at the weekend and winning both of the pieces in convincing fashion. The President of the Light Blues is American Derek Rasmussen (7 seat), who was a member of the 2008 IRA Champion Wisconsin Varsity VIII, and the 2008 US VIII that won gold at the U23 World Championships. The first piece of the fixture began at the traditional start of the Boat Race (Putney), and saw the Light Blues, racing in their brand new Hudson (having opted for the Canadian manufacturer instead of the traditional Empacher), moving away consistently throughout, until they reached the Chiswick Eyot (just past the half-way point of the course) over fourth lengths in front of the GB crew.

Cambridge approach Hammersmith Bridge (Photo: Iain Weir)
Before the start of the second piece, it was agreed that the U23 crew should be allowed a length at the start, and this made for a much more interesting race. The two crews clashed several times, each coxswain grappling for the tightest line along the course, with Cambridge again finishing in front, but only by 1/2 length this time. This will be very useful experience for CUBC come race day, as the competition is always fierce, and often the crew that manages the clash best takes the race. Cambridge coach Steve Trapmore was suitably pleased with the result, as the day benefited CUBC with respect to their mental toughness as well as their experience on the Tideway.

Cambridge cut into the U23 lead at the outset of the second piece
(Photo: Iain Weir)
The umpire for the fixture was Matt Pinsent. For full coverage of all things Oxford v. Cambridge, check out the official site of the Boat Race. We will have continuing coverage and analysis of the race itself in the weeks to come.

In other racing, Imperial College BC defeated Goldie (Second VIII from Cambridge), and a London Rowing Club men's Lightweight VIII took on Cambridge University Lightweight RC, which featured an as yet unidentified rower (5 seat) donning a Princeton all-in-one. The London crew (with GB internationals James Lindsay-Finn in 7 and Stephen Feeney in the 5 seat, and three-time Henley finalist James Young in 4) won the piece, which ran from Hammersmith Bridge to the LRC flagpole in Putney. While there is no official margin, it appears that LRC won by three to five lengths.

Many thanks to Henley Winner and old LRC teammate, Iain Weir of and for the great shots of the racing. Weir is a professional freelance photographer, and recently had an exhibition at the River and Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames, England.

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