‘Project Ely’ – CUWBC announces name for boat to race Oxford

The name Project Ely sums up what the historic 2015 Women’s Blue Boat is about and the wider Cambridge University Women’s Rowing Club. The 2015 Women’s Blue Boat have spent hours on the River Ouse at Ely developing the skills they need to become the very best they can be to represent Cambridge University on Saturday. They are a strong, resilient and successful team, prepared to perform on one of the biggest sporting stages. Their personal ‘Project Ely’ has been to deliver improved performances each training session, to attack each session with 100% focus and remain relentless in their pursuit of best performances throughout the year.

Project Ely is about both the squad’s relentless pursuit of excellence on the water and the wider Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club pursuit of excellence in university rowing globally – it’s about ensuring the best performance this year, 2015, and raising our game every year that follows, ensuring that we never stand still.

And as part of that pursuit of excellence on the water, we need to ensure we have the right facilities to deliver that, and a new boathouse at Ely sits at the heart of this wider CUWBC Project Ely. Building a new ‘Project Ely’ boathouse is the next crucial step in building a secure future for CUWBC and all Cambridge University rowing.

The 2015 Squad have created a culture of continuous improvement that has never been satisfied with the status quo, and a culture of collaborative teamwork that recognises that we are stronger together. The same goes for our club, the alumni that raced against Oxford in boat races since 1927, and the future generations of rowers still to come.

We have sponsorship to deliver a performance programme, but need donations from our alumni and rowing supporters to build a boathouse from which to base our centre of rowing excellence for the University and wider Cambridge and Ely sporting communities.

The boathouse will be a practical, well-designed building with sufficient space for boats for all three university Clubs. It will have proper changing facilities, a kitchen, a gym and study areas to allow our women to catch up on study between outings. Located a mile from the centre of Ely on land now owned by the three Clubs, the new boathouse will allow quick and easy access to the river.


Our ambition is to begin construction by the end of the summer this year – meaning the Boathouse will be open for the start of the 2017 Boat Races campaign.

Progress to Date

  • Fore Mill Wash site purchased
  • Professional teams appointed
  • Planning permission granted
  • Ground works completed
  • Detailed boathouse design work well under way
  • Over £3m given or pledged

Project costs

Land Purchased and planning permission£247,000
Enabling Works 2015£859,000
Design Works£349,000
Main Building Works£2,106,000
Fundraising, contingencies and design reserve£739,000