In the name of journalism, we packed ourselves into the Doom Bar tent in Furnival Gardens yesterday with 300 of our closest newly acquired friends and did our best not to spill/be spilled on/grind/be grinded on whilst waiting optimistically for the rain to let up. It didn’t (much), so we darted out with just minutes to spare to huddle along the Hammersmith shore and perch precariously astride the puddles of mud. Fortunately, there are some hardy types among the Flickr folk who were better positioned than we were. Read on to see what they saw and learn what we learned at the 154th Boat Race.
We learned: That in addition to the wellies and binoculars we foolishly left at home, protective eyewear would have been quite useful, as we were frequently having to duck to avoid taking the point of an umbrella in the eye.
We were reminded: That it really is only about 3 minutes of live viewing time. You spot the crews, they’re upon you, they’re gone. It all happens rather quickly. Fortunately, we followed Londonist’s own sound advice and positioned ourselves not far from the big screen so that we could continue watching once the crews had blown by.
We think: That Londonist’s grandmum could have rowed the course faster than these chaps. Well, to be fair, conditions were rubbish, but it was still the slowest Boat Race in 61 years.
We observed: A girl greeting a bloke with a firm but friendly, erm, cupping action. Is this the equivalent of an insider handshake? Should we try this with all our Oxbridge mates/co-workers in the future?
We rejoice in the knowledge: That it’s good to be heavier and older. The Oxford crew was almost 12 lbs a man heavier than the Cambridge crew, and American Mike Wherley, the Dark Blues’ 5 seat, is, at 36, the oldest man to have both competed in the race and been part of the winning crew.
We like: That despite the fact that there is something a bit obnoxious about an event that dubs itself as the start of the social season, the festive atmosphere gave us reason to hope: dreary winter days to end, good times ahead!
Would we do it again? Yes. Despite the wet, the wind, the woefully brief actual sports spectatorship (people watching is quite good, though), we remain suckers for those fleeting few electric minutes when two boats of eight harmonious bodies glide by and thousands of people along the shore stop to watch.
If you missed it or, like us, were running back and forth between the shore and the big screen, you can watch the race in full here. And check out Londonist’s interview with a former boat race umpire here.