The new Cambridge University Boathouse at Ely was officially opened on Saturday 3rd December by the Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University – Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz. Over 400 donors, friends, guests and current rowers came to celebrate the new Centre of Excellence for Cambridge University rowing.
A core team of twenty volunteers from the three clubs have worked tirelessly either to raise funds or manage the planning and build projects with the bulk of funds coming from over 450 alumni and friends of the three clubs. The outstanding and iconic design of the building is thanks to Architect, Jerry Bailey. The new boathouse takes the clubs from inadequate facilities to a Centre of Excellence for rowing for Cambridge University and for Ely.
During the speeches, Roger Stephens, Chairman of CUBC highlighted how the project, which had taken 8 years to reach completion from the original concept, had shown what could be achieved when working towards a common goal. Roger handed over to CUWBC President, Ashton Brown who spoke on behalf of all the current squads, saying:
“Training with all Cambridge squads under one roof provides the great opportunity to push forwards together on the common goal of beating Oxford. The new boathouse gives us a home in Ely where we can focus on training and get the most out of every session without being limited by space or facilities.”
As a symbol of closer cooperation between the University rowing clubs three mixed eights took part in a row past of the new boathouse. Each boat included both openweight and lightweight members of the men’s and women’s current squads.
Speaking about the new facility, CUWBC Chairman, Cath Bishop said:
“I asked the squad what was different and they were beaming as they said, ‘we now have room to do a proper warm-up’, and ‘we can get more than one boat out at a time so we can do longer sessions and get back for lectures’ – I think that says it all!
“The new facility will provide the time and space to recover properly and prepare for the next session, to go through video analysis and talk to the coaches and ensure that we use every moment we have to find ways of making our light blue boats go faster!”
Chief Coach, Rob Baker said:
“The building of the Ely Boathouse is a transformative event for the Cambridge University Boat Clubs. The CUWBC have, to this point, not had showers or a warm place to rest between sessions. We now have a state of art faculty that will help the athletes prepare more professionally and further our quest to beat Oxford and be one of the best University Clubs in the world.”