Late yesterday afternoon it was the turn of the CUBC to test their preparedness for the forthcoming BNY Mellon Boat Race, in a fixture over two pieces against a crew from Leander Club.
Cambridge have a lot of Boat Race experience to draw on this year with five returning Blue’s in their crew including the stern three of Hoffstot, Hooper and Jackson, and cox Ian Middleton whilst President Alexander Leichter sat at 4. Leander boated their development crew full of Junior and U23 experience with individuals hoping to break their way into the national team, with 2012 Oxford cox Zoe De Toledo steering.
Cambridge went off hard in the first race from their chosen Surrey station at 48 strokes per minute to Leander’s 43. Looking powerful the crew in light blue had a canvas lead after 15 strokes, this was extended to ½ length at the town buoy where both crews had settled to 37.
Seeking the best line on a calm if gloomy afternoon Cambridge cox Ian Middeton was on the receiving end of umpire Boris Rankov’s early warnings as the crews powered towards the Barn Elms boathouses. Former Oxford cox Zoe de Toledo in the Leander crew was herself warned as the crews blades edged closer to each other.
The warnings from The Boat Race’s most experienced umpire worked though, and as they settled into their race rhythms the crews stayed apart, Cambridge at 33, Leander at 34. Passing the Mile Post the lead to Cambridge was just under 1 length. Leander did their utmost to stay on terms having had their bend, and put in a big push to pull back a quarter of the advantage. Approaching Harrods it seemed as though they had weathered the early storm racing back to just a ½ length down.The advantage of the Surrey bend now played out in classic Boat Race fashion. Cambridge seeing Leander’s fight to get on terms pushed their rate up a couple of pips as the crews shot the central arch of Hammersmith Bridge. With the tighter inside line Cambridge slipped out to 2/3 length advantage. Remaining at 37 strokes per minute to Leander’s 35 Cambridge had regained their 1 length lead by St. Paul’s.
Leander suddenly looked tired, dropping to 34, while Cambridge hit their best rhythm of the race at 35 to continue pulling away. When the finish was called at the top of Chiswick Eyot, after just over 9 minutes 40 seconds, Cambridge enjoyed a lead of 2 ½ lengths.
Remaining on the same stations for the second race of the afternoon, beginning at the Chiswick end of the Eyot, both crews started at 45 but it was the light blues who quickly gained the upper hand. Rowing more confidently than in the earlier piece and maintaining a high rate their lead was 1 length at Chiswick Steps.
Both crews received repeated warnings to stay on their stations but Cambridge soon held sufficient advantage to choose where they could row. Hoffstot clearly seeking to race at a high tempo throughout the piece, was still at 37 strokes per minute at the crossing, allowing his crew to build on their lead. By the Bandstand it was up to 2 lengths and at Barnes Bridge 3, with Leander now rowing in their wake.
Cambridge continued to stretch away putting in a last burst of speed from the brewery to The BNY Mellon Boat Races finish line at Mortlake to win by 4 lengths in just over 8 minutes.
B. Jasper Holst
2. Luke Juckett*
3. Ben Rubel
4. Alexander Leichter (President)
5. William Warr
6. Matthew Jackson*
7. Josh Hooper*
Str. Henry Hoffstot*
Cox Ian Middleton*
B. Matt Rossiter
2. George Rossiter
3. Sam Arnott
4. Barny Stentiford
5. Andy Joel
6. Chris Boddy
7. Charlie Rendell
Str. Dan Boddington
Cox Zoe de Toledo*