|New Safety Measures For University Boat Race|
Organisers get ready for Oxford versus Cambridge race on March 31
This year marks the 159th Boat Race and the Chiswick Pier Trust have laid on a variety of activities for those watching from the riverbank.
Since the second race in 1836 the contest has taken place on the West London stretch of the Thames, starting at Putney and finishing at Chiswick Bridge, so not only do you get a fantastic view from Chiswick Pier, but can usually predict who will win.
There will be something going on all afternoon – the Pier House opens at 12.30 where there will be freshly cooked food from the barbecue, including kebabs and wraps served with a selection of salads.There will be light refreshments and a Fullers’ Bar serving a range of drinks including draught London Pride. The Riverside Club will be painting young faces from 2.30pm.
Then there is a Cutter Parade, featuring a group of cutters which will be moving up river from Dove Pier to Chiswick Bridge, clearing the course by 15.50. This is followed by two races, the Isis versus Goldie Race will start at 16.00 and then the Oxford versus Cambridge Race at 16.30.
At the Pier House you can watch the start and finish of the race in comfort on television then walk outside to watch see the crews as they power upstream passing Chiswick Eyot, the Pier and through to the final bend before Barnes Railway Bridge.
The course itself is four miles 374 yards (6.8Km) long and the race starts an hour before high tide so that the crews can row with the fastest current. There are two sides to the river; Fulham and Chiswick are known as the Middlesex side and Putney and Barnes are the Surrey side with each boat sticking to its own side.
How do you know who to shout for? Oxford have won 76 of the 158 races, Cambridge have won 81 times, while the 1877 race was classed as a dead heat.
Cambridge traditionally wear light blue, with light blue blades, though in the first race in 1829 their colour was pink. Oxford wear dark blue with dark blue blades.
The race has strong Chiswick connections including, in 2011, a Chiswick teenager who became the youngest cox for over 100 years.
And last year the world’s media showed Trenton Oldfield being arrested at Chiswick Pier after recklessly swimming in front of the rowers, a crime for which he was later jailed for six months.
The organisers have said there will be extra security to avoid any similar disruptions. Race Director David Search said on BBC: "We are taking additional measures this year and we have looked at all of our actions last year."
"What I would say to anybody thinking of doing that, is that it's unbelievably dangerous.
"You risk getting killed, which would be tragic for them and for the people involved. Nobody wants that to happen. This is just a sporting event."
For further information on the Pier and how to get there, contact the Chiswick Pier Trust 020 8742 2713 or log on at www.chiswickpier.org.uk .
March 14, 2013