Following on from the previous post, and continuing with the theme of rowing, the annual boat race between Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Clubs took place last Saturday, 11th April. It was a double whammy for Oxford, for both the women’s and men’s teams won against their rivals. History was made, because for the first time since the inauguration of the women’s races, both the men’s and women’s teams raced on the Thames on the same day.
What interested me was the distinct contrast between the efficiency of the boats being rowed and the motorised vessels following in their wakes. The lean, low and long* rowing eights left very little wake; any turbulence came from their asymmetrical sweep oars. Being rowed at an average speed of about 15 mph they clove through the water, whereas the motorized vessels in pursuit threw up enormous washes causing havoc to moored boats either side of the river.
I felt for the men’s Cambridge team, because the Oxford crew were the more powerful. As the distance lengthened between the boats I became concerned as the pursuing flotilla appeared to get closer and closer to the straggler. I did not understand the water flow dynamics, and I couldn’t work out if the Cambridge boat was having a helping hand by being pushed forwards by the combined thrust of the bow waves of the following boats, or if she was being drawn back by the combined flow of water from the propellers.
*17.63 x 0.65 metres Empacher Shells: http://www.empacher.co.uk/
Race Commentary – Men’s and Women’s
Boat Race 2015: Oxford women humiliate Cambridge by winning first event held on same day as the men
Boat Races 2015
Boat Race 2015: Oxford vs. Cambridge Result and Reaction
The Boat Race (Official Site)
Boat Race 2015: Oxford University Women's team rescued from the River Thames after sinking in choppy waters
The Boat Race
High Performance Rowing
Rowing Eight with Sweep Oars
Sweep Eight Rowing
Other Manufacturers of Racing Shells
Pocock Racing Shells
Carl Douglas Racing Shells
Janousek and Stampfli
Swift Racing Boats