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The Boat Race 1968

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114th Boat Race
Date 30 March 1968 (1968-03-30)
Winner Cambridge
Margin of victory 3 and 1/2 lengths
Winning time 18 minutes 22 seconds
Overall record
Umpire Harold Rickett
Other races
Reserve winner Goldie
Women's winner Cambridge

The 114th Boat Race took place on 30 March 1968. Held annually, the event is a side-by-side rowing race between crews from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge along the River Thames. The race, umpired by Harold Rickett, was won by Cambridge by three-and-a-half lengths. Goldie won the reserve race and Cambridge won the Women's Boat Race.


The Boat Race is a side-by-side rowing competition between the University of Oxford (sometimes referred to as the "Dark Blues")[1] and the University of Cambridge (sometimes referred to as the "Light Blues").[1] The race was first held in 1829, and since 1845 has taken place on the 4.2-mile (6.8 km) Championship Course on the River Thames in southwest London.[2][3] The rivalry is a major point of honour between the two universities, followed throughout the United Kingdom and broadcast worldwide.[4][5][6] Oxford went into the race as reigning champions, having won the previous year's race by three-and-a-quarter lengths. Cambridge, however, held the overall lead with 61 victories to Oxford's 51 (excluding the "dead heat" of 1877).[7][8]

The first Women's Boat Race took place in 1927, but did not become an annual fixture until the 1960s. Up until 2014, the contest was conducted as part of the Henley Boat Races, but as of the 2015 race, it is held on the River Thames, on the same day as the men's main and reserve races.[9] The reserve race, contested between Oxford's Isis boat and Cambridge's Goldie boat has been held since 1965. It usually takes place on the Tideway, prior to the main Boat Race.[8]

Oxford were coached by Jumbo Edwards and Ronnie Howard, while Cambridge were overseen by a team including Lou Barry, Donald Legget, Mike Muir-Smith (who was in the Tideway Scullers School first eight), Derek Drury and Arnold Cooke.[10][11] As a result of television contracts and to avoid a clash with the Grand National, the scheduled start time for the race was pushed back to 3.40pm, some forty minutes after the "best of the tide".[10] The umpire was Harold Rickett who rowed for Cambridge in the 1930, 1931 and 1932 races, and who had represented Great Britain in the 1932 Summer Olympics.[12][13]


The Cambridge crew weighed an average of 13 st 7.5 lb (85.7 kg), 6.25 pounds (2.8 kg) per rower more than their opponents.[14] Oxford's crew contained five Blues, including the future Oxford University Boat Club coach Daniel Topolski, and Martin Kennard who was rowing in his third Boat Race.[14] Cambridge saw four Blues return, with their boat club president Patrick Delafield making his third appearance in the event.[14] While Cambridge's crew contained no registered overseas competitors, Oxford's John Bockstoce and Bill Fink were both from the United States.[15]

Seat Oxford
University of Cambridge coat of arms.svg
Name College Weight Name College Weight
Bow D. Topolski New College 11 st 6 lb R. C. W. Church 1st & Third Trinity 13 st 5 lb
2 M. S. Kennard St Edmund Hall 13 st 1.5 lb R. N. Winckless Fitzwilliam 13 st 9 lb
3 J. P. W. Hawksley Balliol 12 st 6 lb J. H. Reddaway Fitzwilliam 13 st 8 lb
4 D. G. C. Thomson Keble 13 st 12 lb C. S. Powell Downing 14 st 13 lb
5 P. G. Saltmarsh Keble 13 st 6 lb P. G. R. Delafield (P) Jesus 14 st 7 lb
6 J. R. Bockstoce (P) St Edmund Hall 14 st 3 lb N. J. Hornsby Trinity Hall 14 st 5 lb
7 W. R. Fink Keble 13 st 5 lb G. C. M. Leggett St Catharine's 12 st 12 lb
Stroke P. C. Pritchard New College 12 st 13 lb G. F. Hall Downing 12 st 0 lb
Cox A. W. Painter Hertford 8 st 2 lb C. J. Gill Fitzwilliam 8 st 9 lb
(P) – Boat club president[17]


The Championship Course along which the Boat Race is contested

Cambridge won the toss and elected to start from the Surrey station. The race commenced at 3.40pm,[14] in a "slight drizzle".[18] After a fast start, Cambridge took a half-length lead by Fulham.[18] Rounding the Middlesex bend, Oxford drew back into contention and the crews were level at the Mile Post in a time of 4 minutes 4 seconds. On the approach to Harrods Furniture Depository, Painter, the Dark Blue cox, steered his boat so close to the Surrey shore that Douglas Calder, writing in The Times, suggested "if the crews had gone any farther over they would have been practically on the towpath".[19] After being warned twice by the umpire for steering too close to their opponents, and taking a small lead,[19] Oxford were made to concede to the Light Blues, and Cambridge rallied.[18] Despite rough water through Crabtree Reach, Cambridge pushed on at Hammersmith Bridge and opened an eight-second lead by the time the crews reached Chiswick Steps. By Barnes Bridge they had extended their lead to twelve seconds, and passed the finishing post three-and-a-half lengths ahead in a time of 18 minutes 22 seconds.[19] It was the Light Blues' first victory in four years.[8] Their cox remarked "I think we could have won on a foul if I had forced a collision at Harrods. However, we did not want to win this way if we could help it. I decided to give Oxford enough rope to hang themselves ..."[19]

Cambridge's Goldie won the fourth running of the reserve race, defeating Oxford's Isis by five-and-a-half lengths in at time of 18 minutes 44 seconds.[8] In the 23rd Women's Boat Race, Cambridge won, taking their sixth consecutive victory.[8]



  • Burnell, Richard (1979). One Hundred and Fifty Years of the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. Precision Press. ISBN 0-9500638-7-8.
  • Dodd, Christopher (1983). The Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race. Stanley Paul. ISBN 0-09-151340-5.


  1. ^ a b "Dark Blues aim to punch above their weight". The Observer. 6 April 2003. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  2. ^ Smith, Oliver (25 March 2014). "University Boat Race 2014: spectators' guide". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  3. ^ "The Course". The Boat Race Company Limited. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  4. ^ "Former Winnipegger in winning Oxford–Cambridge Boat Race crew". CBC News. 6 April 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  5. ^ "TV and radio". The Boat Race Company Limited. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  6. ^ Markovits, Andrei; Rensmann, Lars (6 June 2010). Gaming the World: How Sports Are Reshaping Global Politics and Culture. Princeton University Press. pp. 287&ndash, 288. ISBN 978-0-691-13751-3.
  7. ^ "Classic moments – the 1877 dead heat". The Boat Race Company Limited. Archived from the original on 24 September 2014. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Boat Race – Results". The Boat Race Company Limited. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  9. ^ "A brief history of the Women's Boat Race". The Boat Race Company Limited. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  10. ^ a b Rodda, John (30 March 1968). "Cambridge style should beat Oxford brawn". The Guardian. p. 15.
  11. ^ Burnell, pp. 110–111
  12. ^ Burnell, pp. 49, 73–74
  13. ^ "Harold Rickett Bio, Stats, and Results". Sports Reference. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  14. ^ a b c d Burnell, p. 81
  15. ^ Burnell, p. 39
  16. ^ Dodd, p. 342
  17. ^ Burnell, p. 51–52
  18. ^ a b c Legget, Donald (31 March 1968). "One Cambridge spurt puts paid to Oxford". The Observer. p. 24.
  19. ^ a b c d Calder, Douglas (1 April 1968). "Triumph for new techniques". The Times (57215). p. 12.

External links

  • Official website
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