The MJur/BCL: Summer Eights

This weekend, the most important rowing event in Oxford, “Summer Eights”, took place. From Wednesday to Saturday, 171 boats and around 1500 participants are racing against each other.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Our boat closing in at Somerville II

To allow for such a high number of crews to race every day for four days and due to the narrowness of the river, a special mode of competition is used: the “bumping race”. Instead of crews racing each other one on one (that is, next to each) other, boats are lined up in a chain. In order to “win”, a crew has to bump the crew in front of them without being bumped by the crew behind them at the same time.

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If a bump occurs, the bumped as well as the bumping boat stop racing. While the latter will rise in their division the following day, the former will descend a starting place.

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Our boat bumping Oriel III (note their coxswain conceding)

By bumping four days in a row (and consequently rising 4 places in Summer Eights), a crew can win “blades”. This means that they get to take away a (fake) blade with their names, bumps etc. on it. (FYI: we even bumped five times and won blades)

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Job done

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The whole tournament is a massive spectacle. Around 20.000 viewers are expected in total. Their cheering pushes boats to their limits. To be honest, a boat race is one of the most intense experiences you can have. An entire day boils down to the maximum of two-three minutes your races takes.

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