The Welsh Boat Race

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Swansea and Cardiff Universities Men's Senior eights in 2006
Swansea University Men's Senior eight in 2006
Cardiff University Men's Senior eight in 2006

The Welsh Boat Race[1] , also known as the Welsh University Boat Race and The Welsh Varsity Boat Race, is an annual rowing race in Wales between the Swansea University Rowing Club and the Cardiff University Boat Club, rowed between competing eights each spring on the River Tawe or River Taff in South Wales.

The Welsh Boat Race started in 2006 with just a senior men's and women's event and as popularity grew for the event and particularly the Swansea University Rowing Club grew in numbers (having been recently reinstated), a Novice event was added for both men and women in their first year of rowing.[2]

The race has been popular with students from both universities and parents of members, and has been held on a Wednesday, to complement the Welsh Varsity event and continued this way until 2009. However, due to increasing popularity from Alumni, parents and the general public, The Welsh Boat Race was later moved to a weekend date to enable more people to attend.

The 2010 Welsh Boat Race was held on the River Tawe, in Swansea on Saturday 24 April. The aim was to alternate the venue between the two university rivers, but with superior facilities in Cardiff, it has been the venue of choice since. It was again held on the River Tawe, Swansea, in 2015 and 2016, the event returning to the River Taff, Cardiff in 2017.

For the first time, in 2017 Swansea won the overall series of Welsh Varsity Boat Races.


Race reports: 2007, 2009 2010

The Cardiff University RC have been established for some years. As such they have a solid club structure and boating facilities and have claimed the majority of the wins. Swansea University RC was reformed in 2004, and since then, they have claimed 6 Senior Men's wins in 2009, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, 2 Novice men's wins in 2012 and 2017 as well as for the first time a win by the Women in the Novice category in 2017 with Cardiff winning all other races. With the huge investment in Swansea University Rowing Club recently the results are starting to even out with the 2017 results being the 4th consecutive win for the SURC senior men. Since 2016, there has been a mixed alumni race held over a shorter distance and Cardiff University have won both races so far. Cardiff's Senior Women still remain unbeaten in this event as of 2017.


The course has historically been rowed on the lower reaches of the River Taff from south of the Railway Arches bridge to Cardiff Bay over approximately 2 kilometres. In 2010 the venue changed to the River Tawe's slightly straighter course of again approximately 2 km from the old copperworks to the Sail Bridge. After 2010 it returned to the River Taff, with Swansea hosting the event in 2015 and 2016. The course length is restricted due to the available rivers in the South Wales region, but the training put in by both universities for the Welsh Boat Race can then be transferred to complement the start of the shorter distance regatta season.

  • 2006 - River Taff (Cardiff)
  • 2007 - River Taff (Cardiff)
  • 2008 - River Taff (Cardiff)
  • 2009 - River Taff (Cardiff)
  • 2010 - River Tawe (Swansea)
  • 2011 - River Taff (Cardiff)
  • 2012 - River Taff (Cardiff)
  • 2013 - River Taff (Cardiff)
  • 2014 - River Taff (Cardiff)
  • 2015 - River Tawe (Swansea)
  • 2016 - River Tawe (Swansea)
  • 2017 - River Taff (Cardiff)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cranston, Sam (2009-03-18). "Fourth Annual Welsh Boat Race moves on to the horizon". Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  2. ^ Wright, Laura (2008-04-17). "Varsity boat race not just for Thames toffs". Retrieved 2010-03-10. 

External links[edit]