First Race: The first race took place on 10th June 1829 at Henley on Thames, Oxford won easily.
The race came about as a challenge between two former Harrow School pupils, Charles Wordsworth who was at Oxford and Charles Merivale who was at Cambridge.
There were only 12 races between 1829-1854 but since 1856 they have been held annually only interrupted during the war years.
The Clubs: Cambridge University Boat Club was founded in 1828, Oxford University Boat Club in 1839. Both clubs constitute the best rowers from the numerous colleges which make up each university. It is the function of the clubs to train and select the crews for the Boat Race.
The Course: The Championship Course is 4 miles 374 yards (6.8Km) between Putney and Mortlake. The first race on this course was held in 1845 when Cambridge won in a time of 23mins 30sec.
The current Course Record is 16mins 19sec, set by Cambridge in 1998.
Timing points: Official times are taken at fixed points every year. These are: The Mile Post, Hammersmith Bridge, Chiswick Steps, Barnes Bridge and The Finish.
Slowest winning time: In 1860 Cambridge won by 1 length in a time of 26mins 5sec, nearly 10 minutes slower than the course record. The slowest winning time ever was also set by Cambridge in 36mins, but this was in 1836 in only the second race, held between Westminster and Putney.
Winning margin: The smallest winning margin on record is just one foot, the Oxford winning margin in 2003. In 1980 it was a canvas - approximately four feet - to Oxford. In 1952, when Oxford also won by a canvas, the boats were bigger and a canvas was approximately six feet.
The 1877 race resulted in a dead-heat, the only time this has ever happened. It is reported that the finish judge actually called it a "…dead-heat to Oxford by five feet"
2012 Race Times: The race was stopped shortly after Chiswick Steps due to a swimmer on the course, therefore there was a long pause (of over 30 minutes) before the race was restarted. The actual elapsed time for the light blue winners was 48 minutes 11 seconds, however the finsh judge Ben Kent adjudicated the final time to be the consolidated time the crews actually raced, hence the winning time is recorded as 17 minutes 23 seconds.
Training: Every member of The Boat Race crews trains for approximately two hours
for every stroke in The Race. It takes about 600 strokes to complete the course. The crews train over a period of 7 months for 3 hours per day, 6 days a week.
Colours: 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 rowers and cox’s selected for the Boat Race are awarded a ‘Blue’, this is the top sporting honour each university can bestow and is only awarded for competing in a Varsity match. Hence the two crews are known as the Blue Boats.
Sinkings: There have been six sinkings but the race result has only been determined by a sinking on three occasions: Cambridge twice (1859 and 1978) and Oxford once (1925). On 31 March 1912, both boats sank and the race was held again on 1 April. On 24 March 1951, Oxford sank and the race was rescheduled for 26 March, when Cambridge won.
In 1984 Cambridge sank during their warm-up on their way to the start after hitting a moored barge. The race was postponed until the following day when Oxford won by 3 3/4 lengths.
Disqualification: The race has only been decided by disqualification on one occasion. In December 1849 Cambridge were disqualified following a foul. This was the second race that year after Oxford lost in March but complained their boat was defective.
Women: In 1981 Sue Brown (Oxford cox') became the first woman to participate
in the Boat Race. 1989 was the first year both Blue Boats were coxed by women
Most Races: The record for competing in the most races is held by Boris Rankov who raced in 6 Oxford Blue Boats between 1978-1983. He also rowed for Isis in
1974 & 1975. He is now a Boat Race Umpire.
Heaviest and Lightest: The heaviest oarsman ever was Thorsten Engelmann, stroke of the 2007 Cambridge crew at 17 stone 6lbs (110.8 kilos).
The lightest oarsman ever was Alfred Higgins, 9st 6.5lbs (60.1 kilos) - Oxford stroke 1882.
The heaviest ever crew was the 2009 Oxford Crew with an average of 15 st 9 lb 13 oz or 99.7 kg, excluding the cox.
The lightest ever coxes were Francis Archer (Cambridge 1862) and Hart Massey (Oxford 1939) - both weighed in at 5 stone 2 lbs (32.66 kilos). There is now a 55kg weight limit for coxes in the Boat Race.
Youngest and Oldest: The youngest winner of the Race was Thomas Turnbull the Cambridge 5 man in 1873 who was 18 years and 12 days on race day.
In the modern era Oxford’s Matthew Smith is the youngest winner being 18 years, 8 months 11 days on Boat Race day in 2000. He went on to victories with Oxford in 2002 and 2003 (as President).
Mike Wherley (Oxford) twice a US Olympian became the oldest Boat Race oarsman at 36 in 2008. The oldest ever to compete in the race was Andy Probert, Cambridge cox 1992 at 38 years.
Tallest: The tallest oarsmen are Josh West - Cambridge 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 and Paul Bennett - Oxford 2013 at 6" 10" (2 metres 7.3cm) - . The tallest ever crew was Cambridge with an average height of 6ft 6.9" in 1999.
The Boats: The international class eights boats weigh 96kg (211lbs) and are 19.9m (62ft) long.
Sliding seats were used for the first time by both crews in 1873.
Isis & Goldie: The race between the reserve crews Isis (Oxford) & Goldie(Cambridge) started in 1965. Isis are named after the river flowing through Oxford while Goldie honour one of Cambridge’s greatest oarsmen John Goldie (a blue 1869-1872).
Goldie lead the series with 29 wins to 19 for Isis.