In the race’s history, Cambridge – traditionally in light blue – has won 81 times with the dark blues of Oxford winning 77 times. In 1877, it was dead heat. But who won in 1912?
The answer is no one; at least, not on the first attempt. Rough waters and strong winds caused both boats to sink and the race was abandoned.
Despite having the early lead, it was the Cambridge eight who started taking on water and they had no option but to stop when they were nearly underwater. Keen to finish, Oxford struggled with an increasingly waterlogged boat – they eventually pulled into shore, upended the boat and carried on, ignoring the umpire, Frederick Pitman, who had already called it as a ‘no race’.
Not everyone in the Oxford boat seemed eager to continue – when they were getting ready to set off again, one of the crew was missing as he had seen a friend in the crowd and went to have a chat.
Oxford did get to the finish line – maybe just to get nearer the changing rooms and warm clothing – but they were not declared the winner. The race was re-scheduled for the next day. Through the strong winds that had not abated, Oxford reached the finish time first for the second time in two days.