I live a short bus journey away from Putney, so I don’t know why I had never been on the banks of the Thames to see the Boat Race, and it was about time that I rectified that situation. By 1:30 PM, there was a crowd thronging on Putney Bridge, and on both banks of the Thames, under a dull, grey sky. I walked into Bishops Park on the north side of the Thames (or the Middlesex side, in boatie-speak), about one-third of the way to Craven Cottage from Putney Bridge, where I would, just about, be able to see the start at Putney Bridge, leaning over the railings.
The race started well for Oxford, and very badly for Cambridge, and by the time the boats passed where I was standing, Oxford was ahead, and as they disappeared, they appeared to be neck-to-neck. The race was closely contested, and looked set for an exciting finish, until some fool was found swimming in the river, and the boats stopped: it was extremely dangerous and reckless, as he could have been easily decapitated by a blade.
The race had to be restarted, roughly two-thirds of the way into the course. Soon after the restart, oars were clashing, and Oxford came out worse, losing a blade. There was no contest after that, and there was very little that the Oxford rowers or cox could do about it, unless some misfortune befell Cambridge: boats can sink, after all. At the point where the race was stopped, Oxford was in a favourable position, so there may be mutterings of we wuz robbed. Above all, it was a shame, since it could have been a good contest, ruined by a stupid act of an individual.
Anyway, here are a few photographs from the race (click to enlarge).