Classic Moments: That Sinking Feeling 


Cambridge start to submerge, 1978 

Cambridge start to submerge, 1978

There have been six sinkings but the race result has only been determined by a sinking on three occasions. Cambridge went down twice in 1859 and 1978, and Oxford once in 1925.

On 31 March 1912, both boats sank and the race was rescheduled for the following day, read more. On 24 March 1951, Oxford sank and the race was rescheduled for 26 March, when Cambridge won.

Weather conditions, usually with a very strong South West wind blowing and a high tide can make for treacherous conditions on the Tideway in early spring. This is precisely what affected Cambridge in 1978 who only started to ship water after Hammersmith and managed to stay afloat until they were required to take the centre arch of Barnes Bridge.

In 1984 Cambridge sank during their warm-up on their way to the start after hitting a moored barge. The race was postponed until the following day when Oxford won by 3 3/4 lengths.

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