A guide to the 2018 Boat Race

Your one-stop guide to the 2018 Boat Races between crews from the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge


Cambridge win the 2017 Women's Boat Race (Naomi Baker)

Oxford winsCambridge wins
Men’s Boat Race8082
Women’s Boat Race3042
Men’s Boat Race
Oxford wins:
Cambridge wins:
Women’s Boat Race
Oxford wins:
Cambridge wins:

The 164th Men’s Boat Race and 73rd Women’s Boat Race will both take place on the River Thames on Saturday, 24 March 2018. It will be the fourth year that the races, sponsored by Cancer Research UK, will be contested on the same day on the same stretch of water.

The races between Oxford and Cambridge universities date back to 1829, with the women’s race dating back to 1927. Both races are contested by crews of eight with a cox.

Crowds will, once again, line the banks and bridges of the Thames as the crews race between Putney and Chiswick on a course that is 6.8km in length. Oxford narrowed Cambridge’s overall lead in the men’s series to two races, winning by just over a length in 2017 to take their 80th win. Cambridge, meanwhile, extended their lead in the women’s series to 12 with a comprehensive 11-length win.

Cancer Research UK Boat Races 2018 dates and details

Date: Saturday, 24 March 2018
Time: 4.31pm (Women’s) & 5.32pm (Men’s)
Start line: Putney Bridge
Finish line: Chiswick Bridge
Distance: 6.8km

>>> Where to watch the Boat Race


Men’s Boat Race

Way back in 1829, Cambridge University challenged Oxford to a boat race at Henley-on-Thames, which started the boat race tradition, although the next race was not to take place until 1836 in London. In 1839 the race moved permanently to the Tideway on the River Thames, where it has remained ever since.

Twelve races were held between 1829 and 1855, at which point the race became an annual tradition, breaking only for the First and Second World Wars.

Cambridge lead the men’s series by 82 wins to 79, with many wins for both crews coming in streaks. Oxford won 14 of 17 races between 1849 and 1896 and then took nine in a row in the 1890s. Cambridge dominated the race after World War One, winning 16 of the 17 races between 1920 and 1936.

Oxford nearly overturned their huge deficit by winning 16 of the 17 races between 1974 and 1992, before Cambridge pulled away again with seven wins in a row. The Dark Blue Oxford crew have pulled back again since the Millennium, winning 12 of the 18 races to trail the series 80-82.

Women’s Boat Race

While the first rowing event between women’s crews from Oxford and Cambridge took place in 1927, the first side-by-side race was contested in 1936. Until 1976, including a 12 year stretch with no racing between 1952 and 1964, the race location alternated between the Isis in Oxford and the Cam in Cambridge before moving to Henley-on-Thames.

The race stayed in Henley until 2015, when it was held on The Championship Course on the Thames on the same day as the men’s race for the first time.

Cambridge hold a healthy lead in the series thanks to their dominance between 1942 and 1999, but like in the men’s event, Oxford have had a resurgence since the Millennium, winning 14 of the 18 races. The Dark Blues lost their first Tideway encounter in 2017, having previously won the 2015 and 2016 editions.


Crews of eight are selected by Oxford and Cambridge for the events.

Both the Women’s and Men’s Boat Races run reserve races as well, for those rowers who do not make the top eight. The men’s boats are called Isis (Oxford) and Goldie (Cambridge), while the women’s are named Osiris (Oxford) and Blondie (Cambridge).

>>> Boat Race 2018 crews announced


>>> The Boat Race: ‘Hopefully everyone understands how hard these guys have to work for it’



Cambridge men’s crew is led by their chief coach Steve Trapmore, an Olympic gold medallist in the men’s eight at Sydney 2000 Games. Trapmore has held the post since 2010, but will leave the university after the 2018 Boat Race to take up a position with the GB Rowing Team. At Cambridge, he is assisted by Olympic silver medallist Richard Chambers, Donald Leggett and world champion cox Henry Fieldman.

Cambridge women’s crew is coached by former Goldie coach Rob Baker, assisted by Paddy Ryan.


Oxford men’s crew is coached by former GB coach Sean Bowden, who has held the role since 1997 and has overseen 12 wins in that period.

Bowden’s former assistant Andy Nelder has taken over as chief coach of OUWBC, assisted by former GB international Jamie Kirkwood.


Men’s Boat Race

The 164th Men’s Boat Race will be umpired by three-time Olympian John Garrett. Garrett rowed for Great Britain at the 1984, 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games and was a member of the Cambridge crew in the 1984 and 1985 Boat Races. He has umpired the race on two separate occasions, in 2008 and 2012.

Women’s Boat Race

Sir Matthew Pinsent will umpire the 73rd Women’s Boat Race. Pinsent won four Olympic gold medals between 1992 and 2004. He represented Oxford in three Boat Races between 1990 and 1993 and umpired the men’s race in 2013 and 2017.