Bristol Boat Race

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The Bristol Boat Race (also called The Varsity Boat Race) is an annual event between the University of the West of England (UWE) and the University of Bristol, held on the historic Bristol Harbour, Bristol, England. It is usually held in the summer term after the Easter break, often the week before, or the week after British Universities and Colleges Regatta. Though in the first years of the event was often held in February. It is the second oldest Boat Race in the United Kingdom, after that of Oxford & Cambridge.[citation needed]

In the early years of the event the University of Bristol dominated, but in recent years UWE has become a much greater force and the event has become hotly contested. It has become instrumental in improving the calibre of both boat clubs, of which are now regarded as two highly competitive university rowing institutions in the United Kingdom. The strong rivalry between both universities has emphasized the importance of this fixture, and the rowers involved consider it to be the most important race to win within their racing year, as it offers a unique challenge, greatly differing from that of the other major races in the season such as Henley Royal Regatta, BUCS Regatta and Head of the River Regatta.

The Course[edit]

The course runs from the Cumberland Basin towards the Bristol City Centre and finishes 1.25km later at Canon's Wharf Amphitheatre. Several course changes have been proposed in recent years, due to the nature of the bends providing each side with significant advantages at different stages of the course. However these have made it into an excellent spectator event since it is often hard to tell exactly who will win as crews come around the final bend to the finish. The spectacle is very different from that of the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, being a much shorter course, with higher rates and closer finishes.

The SS Great Britain marks the third distance mark in the varsity race

The Race[edit]

The Coin toss/Presidents Slap is a tradition by which the winning university from the previous year challenge the losing university to the years race, it also decides the banks each crew will race on.

-All competing crews are required to attend the weigh in, usually held the day before or on the day of Varsity. This gives the opportunity for the crews to face off against their opposite number before the race.

-Depending on the university intake each year, Each University will field the following crews

  • Men's 1st VIII
  • Men's 2nd VIII/IV
  • Women's 1st VIII
  • Women's 2nd VIII/IV
  • Mens Novice 1&2nd VIII's
  • Womens Novice 1&2nd VIII's
  • Mens & Womens Allumni VIII's

However this is subject to change, in accordance to both universities requirements.

History of the Bristol Boat Race[edit]

BRISTOL WINS- 12 UWE WINS- 7

  • 1995 Bristol win varsity

-Development Men's VIII UWE

-Development Women's VIII UWE

-Senior Women's 1st IV UoB

-Senior Men's 1st IV UoB

-Senior Women's 1st VIII UoB

-Senior Men's 1st VIII UoB

  • 1996 Bristol win varsity

-Novice Men's VIII UoB

-Novice Women's VIII UoB

-Alumni Men's VIII UoB

-Senior Men's VIII UoB

-Senior Women's VIII UoB

  • 1997 Bristol win varsity

-Novice Women's VIII UoB

-Novice Men's VIII UWE

-Senior Women's VIII UoB

-Senior Men's IV UWE

-Senior Men's VIII UoB

  • 1998 Bristol win Varsity

-Novice Women's VIIIs UoB

-Novice Men's VIIIs UoB

-Senior Women's IVs UoB

-Senior Men's IVs UWE

-Senior Women's VIIIs UoB

-Senior Men's VIIIs UoB

-Alumni Mixed VIIIs UoB

-Alumni Men's VIIIs UWE

  • 1999 Bristol win Varsity

-Novice Women's VIIIs UWE

-Novice Men's VIIIs UWE

-Senior Women's IVs UoB

-Senior Men's IVs UoB

-Senior Women's VIIIs UoB

-Senior Men's VIIIs UoB

-Alumni Women's VIIIs UoB

-Alumni Men's VIIIs UoB

  • 2000 Bristol win varsity

-Novice Men's IVs UoB

-Novice Women's VIIIs UoB

-Novice Men's VIIIs UoB

-Senior Men's IVs UWE

-Senior Women's VIIIs UoB

-Senior Men's VIIIs UoB

-Alumni Men's IVs UoB

-Alumni Men's VIIIs UoB

  • 2001 Bristol win varsity

-Novice Women's VIIIs UoB

-Novice Men's VIIIs UWE

-Senior Women's VIIIs UoB

-Senior Men's VIIIs UoB

  • 2002 Bristol win varsity

-Novice Women's VIIIs UoB

-Novice Men's VIIIs UWE

-Senior Women's VIIIs UoB

-Senior Men's VIIIs UoB

-Alumni Men's VIIIs UoB

  • 2003 UWE win varsity

-Novice Women's VIIIs UWE

-Novice Men's VIIIs UWE

-Senior Women's VIIIs UoB

-Senior Men's VIIIs UWE

-Alumni Men's VIIIs UWE

  • 2004 UWE win varsity

-Novice Women's VIIIs UWE

-Novice Men's VIIIs UWE

-Senior Women's VIIIs UoB

-Senior Men's VIIIs UWE

-Alumni Men's VIIIs UoB

  • 2005 UWE win varsity

-Novice Women's VIIIs UWE

-Novice Men's VIIIs UoB

-Senior Women's VIIIs UWE

-Senior Men's VIIIs UWE

-Alumni Men's VIIIs UoB

  • 2006 UWE win varsity

-Men’s first VIIIs – dead heat UWE (re-row)

-Women’s first VIIIs UWE

-Men’s alumni VIIIs UWE

-Women’s novices UWE

-Men’s novices UoB

  • 2007 Bristol win varsity

-Men’s first VIIIs – UoB

-Women’s first VIIIs - UWE

-Men’s alumni VIIIs - UoB

-Women’s novices - UoB

-Men’s novices - UoB

  • 2008 UWE win varsity

-Men’s first VIIIs – UWE

-Women’s first VIIIs - UWE

-Men’s alumni VIIIs - UWE

-Women’s novices - UoB

-Men’s novices - UoB

  • 2009 Bristol win varsity

-Men’s first VIIIs – Nulled after rule confusion at start

-Men's Second VIIIs - UoB

-Women’s first VIIIs - UWE

-Men’s alumni VIIIs - UWE

-Women’s novices - UoB

-Men’s novices first VIIIs - UoB

-Men's novices second VIIIs - UoB

  • 2010 Varsity Champions - UoB

-Men's 1st VIII - UoB

-Women's 1st VIII - UoB

-Men's Novice 1st VIII - UoB

-Women's Novice 1st VIII - UWE

-Men's Alumni VIII - UoB

-Women's Alumni VIII - UWE

-Men's Novice 2nd IV - UoB

  • 2011 Varsity Champions - UWE

-Men's 1st VIII - UWE

-Women's 1st VIII - UoB

-Men's Novice 1st VIII - UWE

-Women's Novice 1st VIII - UWE

-Men's 2nd VIII - UWE

-Men's Alumni VIII - UoB

-Women's Alumni VIII - UWE

  • 2012 Varsity Champions - UoB

-Men's 1st VIII - UWE

-Women's 1st VIII - UoB

-Men's Novice 1st VIII - UoB

-Women's Novice 1st VIII - UoB

-Men's 2nd VIII - UWE

-Men's Alumni VIII - UoB

-Women's Alumni VIII - UoB

-Women's 2nd IV+ - UoB

-Men's Novice 2nd VIII - UWE

  • 2013 Varsity Champions - UWE

-Mens 1st VIII- UWE

-Mens 2nd VIII- UWE

-Womens 1st VIII- UoB

-Mens Novice 1st VIII- UWE

-Mens Novice 2nd VIII- UWE

-Womens Novice 1st VIII- UoB

-Womens Novice 2nd VIII- UWE

The Varsity Challenge Cup[edit]

Coaching and coxing in the 1950s, at Bristol Ariel Rowing Club, now the home of the University of West of England rowing, was challenging. There was still bomb damage and the old tea rooms were largely abandoned. For Kit Hartley, working at Filton in aerospace, after learning to fly on National Service and before that St Edwards, Oxford, rowing provided a welcome familiarity.

Thirty years later, Chris Hartley, his son, rowed and captained the University of Bristol Boat Club, won the first 'Bristol Red for Rowing and founded the UBBC Alumni.

Together, they also organised and funded the 1984 USA tour of a combination VIII drawn from both UWE & Bristol . Beating Varsity crews from Yale, Princeton, Rutgers, Georgetown and drawing with Harvard this crew also won outright the Head of the Potomac, Washington.

The magnificent new Varsity Challenge Cup marks thirty years and two generations of service to Bristol rowing and is gift from the Hartley family. The silver base was presented by the combined University USA touring crew. This cup was presented to both Universities in the autumn 2012 in preparation for presentation on 27 April 2013.

The wining Varsity Captain's name will be engraved on the silver base. This trophy replaces the inter-university blade awarded to the winning university

See also[edit]