Unfortunately, in this year’s lightweight boat race, CULRC lost to the Oxford lightweights by just a canvas. It was an epic race, not dissimilar to last year where CULRC won by two feet.
The day itself was fantastic, with excellent weather drawing in large crowds of supporters. The stream was minimal due to a very dry month beforehand and the wind was a barely-existent cross-head. For the first time in the past three years, Cambridge won the toss and chose the Berkshire station.
Off the start, both crews moved away very swiftly, with Cambridge taking the rating up to 49 strokes per minute. However, Oxford settled into a stronger rhythm, underrating Cambridge but using their longer strokes to good effect. By the halfway point, with Oxford at 35 and Cambridge at 39, the race seemed nearly over as Oxford pulled out to nearly a length lead.
Cambridge were not beaten though, and a good push on saw them start to move back through the dark blues. At the barrier, CULRC took the pace on again and were reeling in the Oxford crew stroke-by-stroke. With time running out, the light blues put in a final push, taking the rate up to 42. This saw the gap close even further and approaching the island it was hard to tell who would come out victorious.
Unfortunately Oxford clung on to a final lead of a canvas, leaving the Cambridge crew gutted. It was however an exceptional race and once again the most exciting of the Henley Boat Races.