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Oxford University Women's Boat Club

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Oxford University Women's Boat Club
LocationWallingford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Home waterRiver Thames
Founded1927 (1927)
Key people
Andy Nelder (Chief Coach)
UniversityUniversity of Oxford

Oxford University Women's Boat Club (OUWBC) is the rowing club for female rowers (and coxes of either sex) who are students at the University of Oxford.[1] The club was founded in 1926 and is now based in Wallingford at the Fleming Boat House, along with OUBC, OUWLRC and OULRC.[2]

The training season runs from September through to July, with the major event, the Women's Boat Race against Cambridge University Women's Boat Club (CUWBC), happening in March or April.[3] Up until 2015 the Women's Boat Race had taken place over 2000m as part of the Henley Boat Races on the Henley Reach.

In 2015, for the first time, the Women’s Boat Race took place on the 6.8 km Championship Course on the Tideway, and was televised on the BBC alongside the Men’s Boat Race.


The original challenge between the Oxford and Cambridge University boat clubs was issued in 1829. As a result two men's eights raced on the river at Henley-on-Thames. In 1836 the race was moved to the Tideway in London, and it has remained there ever since. At this time rowing was not seen as an appropriate sport for a lady. However, towards the end of the century attitudes began to change.

The two universities caught onto the trend a few decades later and OUWBC was formed in May 1926.[4] Following on from this the 'Ladies' Boat Race' was founded in 1927. The first races took place on The Isis in Oxford and took the form of a time and style contest, since the Principals of the women's colleges disapproved of racing.[4] The OUWBC was disbanded for financial reasons in 1953 but re-formed in 1964. The races were held alternately on The Isis and The Cam and in 1975 a 2nd VIII race was added.[5] In 1977 the 'Women's Boat Race' was invited to joint the men's lightweights at Henley and so the 'Henley Boat Races' were established. At this time, the women's reserve race crews were named 'Osiris' (Oxford) and 'Blondie' (Cambridge) to parallel the men's reserves 'Isis' and 'Goldie'. From 1977 to 2014 the Women’s Boat Race continued to be held at Henley over 2000m (excluding 2013 where the race was moved to Dorney Lake due to flooding).

Sponsorship and the move to the Tideway

OUWBC in training at training camp, January 2012
OUWBC in training at training camp, January 2012

Following a sponsorship deal with Newton Investment Management, established shortly before the Women's Boat Race 2011, parent company BNY Mellon announced in February that they would be sponsoring both the men's and women's boat races from the 2013 race. This sponsorship was key in enabling the Women's Boat Race to move to the Tideway in 2015.[6]

Since the 2012 race, Newton Investment Management has provided equal funding to OUWBC and CUWBC to enable the clubs to employ full time professional coaches and a support team to transition ‘from a student-run club to a pre-elite team’[7] on their road to the Tideway.[8]

2015 Newton Women's Boat Race

In 2015, the Women's Boat Race took place on the Championship Course between the University stones at Putney and Mortlake on 11 April at 4:50pm.[9] For the first time it was televised on the BBC, drawing in an audience of 4.8 million viewers.

The Reserve boat, Osiris, raced the Cambridge reserve boat, Blondie, on 10 April over the same course. In 2016, this race will be moved to be on the same day as the Men’s and Women’s Blue Boat races.[10]


OUWBC competing at Women's Eights Head of the River on the Tideway, March 2012
OUWBC competing at Women's Eights Head of the River on the Tideway, March 2012

Trailing begins for athletes in early September and although the pinnacle of the season is The Boat Race which takes place in March/April, the season runs through to the start of July. For most of the year the training is split between Oxford and Wallingford. With on land fitness training happening at various locations around Oxford, and water training happening out of the Fleming Boat House in Wallingford shared with OUBC, OULWRC and OULRC.

From the start of the season, training is focused on The Boat Race, although OUWBC do often compete in other races throughout this period as preparation. This varies from season to season however there are some fixed events in the calendar:

In December Trial Eights takes place. This is an opportunity for each of the four clubs (OUWBC, OUBC, CUWBC, CUBC) to race two of their own eights against each other. Traditionally, the coaches try to field two eights that are as equally matched as possible to emulate race day itself.

In January the crews usually leave Oxford for a short Training Camp.

As the boat race approaches, some water sessions move to the Tideway, and for the final week before the Boat Race, crews move to London to train full time on the Championship Course.

Following the Boat race, the club looks towards other national competitions such as the British Universities and Colleges Sport Regatta (BUCS), Henley Women’s Regatta and Henley Royal Regatta.


Windrush is the OUWBC alumni association. It provides support to the Club and its current members, and helps former OUWBC oarswomen and coxes to keep in touch after leaving Oxford.

Osiris Honours

British champions

Year Winning crew/s
1986 Women 4x [11]
2007 Women 8+ [12]

See also


  1. ^ Ltd., Riskpoint. "OUWBC - About". Archived from the original on 16 July 2015. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  2. ^ "OXFORD UNIVERSITY WOMEN'S BOAT CLUB". The Boat Race Company Limited. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  3. ^ "The BNY Mellon Boat Races - About the Race". Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  4. ^ a b Hibbert, Christopher, ed. (1988). The Encyclopædia of Oxford. London: Macmillan. p. 311. ISBN 0-333-39917-X.
  5. ^ Monica Fisher 1975,76 + 77 Blue
  6. ^ "The fight for Boat Race equality". BBC. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  7. ^ Ltd., Riskpoint. "OUWBC - Coaching Team". Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  8. ^ "Boat Race tide changes as women's race set to be given equal billing with men". The Telegraph. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  9. ^ "The BNY Mellon Boat Races - The Newton Women's Boat Race – Race Report". Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  10. ^ "The BNY Mellon Boat Races - 2016 BNY Mellon Boat Races Timings". Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  11. ^ "Railton, Jim. "Leander take Kingston with a late charge." Times, 21 July 1986, p. 28". Times Digital Archives.
  12. ^ "Full archive of results". Web Archive.

External links

This page was last edited on 12 September 2020, at 04:10
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