Last week saw the rowing community gather on the river for the annual Fairbairn Cup. This is the
culmination of Michaelmas term, and sees novices racing their first time trial over 2.8km and
seniors racing over 4.3km. The course is the longest on the Cam and requires true mental grit and a high
pain threshold to push yourself to the line. Over 1800 people took on the gruelling course!
It all started on Thursday with the novice men’s division; with all crews lined up ready to race we
were ready to go. First and Third Trinity set off first as they won last year, but it was Caius who dominated this year with the fastest 1st , 2nd and 3rd novice men’s eights.
Next up were the woman’s novice boats. In snowy conditions, First and Third NW1 finished victorious, ahead of second placed Lady Margeret. Special mention goes to Newnham NW2 – their second boat took the NW2 title and came 9th overall – only losing to their first boat by 1 second.
The final division of the day saw the lower boats competing – it was an eventful division with lots for the
marshals to deal with. A few crashes and even a member of Trinity Hall wading in the river in search
for his phone, but thankfully no ejector crabs this year!
The senior crews raced on Friday, with the defending champions Oriel (Oxford) men and Clare women both back to try to retain their titles. With an unprecedented number of crews entered to the senior categories it was a busy and exciting day. We welcomed a number of Oxford college crews, town clubs and alumni crews including the Clare college winning crew of 1981, sporting very fetching yellow hoodies. In addition to these, CULRC fielded two men’s eights and CUWBC a lightweight eight.
In the Senior Men’s college category the Oriel men took home the trophy for the second year running,
much to the disappointment of the Cambridge colleges. Jesus men took second place to be the fastest
Cambridge college and the Jesus 2nd boat also won their category. In the Senior Women’s division it
was a clean sweep for Jesus, with their first boat winning by 20 seconds and the second boat by a
narrow margin of 4 seconds over St. Catharine’s W2.
The final event of the day was the Senior 4s division. This kicked off with the invited Row Zambezi
crew, a composite CUBC-OUBC alumni crew who are rowing the Zambezi in 2018 for charity
(https://rowzambezi.com/). A battle between the Magdalene and Pembroke men’s crews ended in a draw for the win. A similar story can be told in the women’s fours with Trinity Hall taking the win over Newnham by just a few seconds.
That saw the end of racing for another year and the Master of Jesus College arrived to present the
shields and trophy to the winning crews. Congratulations to all crews, that’s it for another year, now