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The Boat Race 1975

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121st Boat Race
Date 29 March 1975 (1975-03-29)
Winner Cambridge
Margin of victory 3 and 3/4 lengths
Winning time 19 minutes 27 seconds
Overall record
Umpire Christopher Davidge
Other races
Reserve winner Isis
Women's winner Cambridge

The 121st Boat Race took place on 29 March 1975. Held annually, the Boat Race is a side-by-side rowing race between crews from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge along the River Thames. Cambridge won their seventh race in eight years by three-and-three-quarter lengths in a time of 19 minutes and 27 seconds. The race was umpired by former Oxford rower Christopher Davidge.

In the reserve race, Oxford's Isis beat Cambridge's Goldie by nine-and-a-half lengths. Cambridge won the 30th 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] Oxford went into the race as reigning champions, having won the previous year's race by five-and-a-half lengths,[6] with Cambridge leading overall with 67 victories to Oxford's 52 (excluding the "dead heat" of 1877).[7] The umpire for the race was Christopher Davidge,[8] who had rowed for Oxford in the 1949, 1951 and 1952 races, and was a non-rowing Oxford University Boat Club president for the 1950 race.[9]

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.[10] 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.[6]

In the month leading up to the race, Cambridge's crew saw some significant changes, including the removal of David Sturge (who had rowed in the 1973 race) due to glandular fever. However, the Cambridge boat club president Steve Tourek was circumspect: "Cambridge might be slower than planned but still fast enough to beat Oxford."[11] On 24 March 1975, Cambridge beat Oxford's record time (set five days earlier) between Hammersmith Bridge and the Mile Post by two seconds.[12] The following day, Oxford's coach Dan Topolski (who had rowed for the Dark Blues in the 1967 and 1968 races) revealed that the Oxford reserve crew, Isis, had equalled the record time, downplaying Cambridge's efforts: "Shows how fast conditions really were yesterday."[13] Cambridge coach Lou Barry remarked of his charges: "this is a fast crew".[11]


The Cambridge crew weighed an average of 13 st 9.75 lb (86.8 kg), 7 pounds (3.2 kg) per rower more than their opponents.[11] Oxford's crew contained two former Blues in boat club president Nick Tee and stroke Graham Innes, while Cambridge saw Nick Bradley, Henry Clay and Tourek return from the 1974 boat.[11] Although the British international rower David Sturge was replaced through illness prior to the race, the Light Blues also saw international-standard rowers Alistair Christie and James Macleod in the crew, both of whom had withdrawn from selection for the 1974 race to represent Great Britain.[14] Only two competitors in the race were registered as "overseas" Blues, Oxford's number five John Hutchings and his counterpart and Tourek, both from the United States.[15]

Seat Oxford
University of Cambridge coat of arms.svg
Name College Weight Name College Weight
Bow A. G. H. Baird Christ Church 13 st 1 lb C. Langridge 1st & 3rd Trinity 13 st 7 lb
2 M. G. C. Harris Oriel 11 st 8 lb N. C. A. Bradley Pembroke 12 st 11 lb
3 D. R. H. Beak Oriel 13 st 2 lb J. H. Clay Pembroke 13 st 4 lb
4 C. J. A. N. Money-Coutts Keble 14 st 7 lb A. F. U. Powell St Catharine's 13 st 2 lb
5 J. E. Hutchings Christ Church 14 st 2 lb S. C. Tourek (P) 1st & 3rd Trinity 14 st 8 lb
6 R. S. Mason Keble 14 st 1 lb J. MacLeod Lady Margaret Boat Club 14 st 5 lb
7 N. D. C. Tee (P) Balliol 11 st 8 lb P. J. Robinson Lady Margaret Boat Club 13 st 6 lb
Stroke G. S. Innes Oriel 13 st 7 lb A. N. Christie Lady Margaret Boat Club 14 st 7 lb
Cox J. N. Calvert St Edmund Hall 8 st 2 lb D. J. T. Kitchin Fitzwilliam 8 st 12 lb
(P) – boat club president[17]


Cambridge started as pre-race favourite;[11] according to the author and former rower Dickie Burnell, although Oxford had some "useful new recruits" no-one "outside their immediate camp thought they could win."[14] Oxford won the toss and elected to start from the Surrey station.[8] Oxford took an early lead, but by the Mile Post, Cambridge had recovered to lead by two seconds. Extending their lead, the Light Blues gained a clear water advantage by Harrods Furniture Depository and moved in front of the Dark Blue boat. Shooting Hammersmith Bridge five seconds ahead, Cambridge held a length-and-a-quarter lead which they defended against a number of Oxford pushes. Midway round the Surrey bend, Oxford's bow man Andrew Baird's oar came out of its gate, allowing Cambridge to increase their lead by another length. A seven-second lead at Chiswick Steps was extended to nine seconds by Barnes Bridge, and along the final bend, Cambridge pushed their lead further out to nearly four lengths, passing the finishing post in 19 minutes 27 seconds, thirteen seconds ahead of their rivals.[8] It was Cambridge's seventh victory in the previous eight years, having lost to Oxford in 1974.[6]

In the reserve race, Oxford's Isis beat Cambridge's Goldie by nine-and-a-half lengths, their first win since the 1966 race.[6] In the 30th running of the Women's Boat Race, Cambridge triumphed, winning their 13th consecutive race.[6]


Oxford's Baird claimed "I might have caught a crab, but I do not really know what happened."[8] Cambridge number six MacLeod said of the Dark Blues: "They kept coming at us time and time again. I was only sure of victory in the last mile of the race."[8] Christopher Dodd, writing in The Guardian was impressed: "The contest had a rare element ... it was a race nearly all the way, and was not all over in the first 20 stokes as has so often been the case in recent years."[16] Burnell suggested it was a race for the aficionados: "This was surely one of those so common Boat Races, which are hard fought all the way, yet never exciting from the point of view of the average spectator."[18]



  1. ^ a b "Dark Blues aim to punch above their weight". The Observer. 6 April 2003. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  2. ^ Smith, Oliver (25 March 2014). "University Boat Race 2014: spectators' guide". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  3. ^ "The Course". The Boat Race Company Ltd. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  4. ^ "Former Winnipegger in winning Oxford–Cambridge Boat Race crew". CBC News. 6 April 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  5. ^ "TV and radio". The Boat Race Company Ltd. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Boat Race – Results". The Boat Race Company Ltd. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
  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 Railton, Jim (31 March 1975). "Win that will mean post mortems". The Times (59357). p. 10.
  9. ^ Burnell, p. 97
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Railton, Jim (29 March 1975). "Iron man of the mean machine in the technological Boat Race". The Times (59356). p. 15.
  12. ^ Railton, Jim (25 March 1975). "Cambridge break Oxford record by two seconds". The Times (59353). p. 10.
  13. ^ Railton, Jim (26 March 1975). "Oxford reveal that reserve crew equalled record". The Times (59354). p. 8.
  14. ^ a b Burnell, p. 30
  15. ^ Burnell, p. 39
  16. ^ a b Dodd, Christopher (31 March 1975). "Late spurt by Oxford is in vain". The Guardian. p. 15.
  17. ^ Burnell, pp. 51–52
  18. ^ Burnell, p. 30


  • Burnell, Richard (1979). One Hundred and Fifty Years of the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. Precision Press. ISBN 0950063878.
  • Dodd, Christopher (1983). The Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race. Stanley Paul. ISBN 0091513405.

External links

  • Official website
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