Due to the pandemic and the closure of Hammersmith Bridge, the race will take place in rural Cambridgeshire with fans not permitted to attend the usually raucous event. The race was called off with only a week’s notice last year, with organisers opting to relocate to the Great Ouse for today’s edition not only for logistical purposes but due to its historical relevance, with an unofficial 1944 wartime race held on the river.
The race will begin at Queen Adelaide Bridge near Ely and will run for 4.89km – significantly shorter than the usual 6.8km route down the Thames – finishing just shy of Sandhill Bridge at Littleport. This year marks the 166th edition of the men’s race with defending champions Cambridge leading 84-80 in the record books, although Oxford are considered slight betting favourites this afternoon. In the 75th women’s race, Cambridge are overwhelming favourites and boast a 44-30 lead. The women’s race will begin at 3.50pm while the men’s race starts an hour later at 4.50pm. Follow all the action live below:
CAMBRIDGE WOMEN WIN THE TOSS
Cambridge have won the toss ahead of the women’s race at 15:50 GMT. They have elected to be on the railway side of the course, which means they will start slightly behind Oxford, who will be on the road side. “Being on the railway side means there’s slightly less wind for us with the conditions today,” says Cambridge president Sophie Paine, who will have the bend two kilometers in.
Jamie Braidwood4 April 2021 15:17
When I say unfamiliar waters, that is true for the Boat Race itself, but not for Cambridge University. Both men’s and women’s crews train on the Adelaide Straight over the Ouse, so they should be used to the course. Oxford University have been training on the river since Thursday.
Jamie Braidwood4 April 2021 15:12
BRIGHT AND SUNNY IN ELY
The Boat Race may be taking place in unfamiliar waters, but at least we’ve got settled weather this afternoon. It’s a bright, sunny day in Cambridgeshire and we’re expecting a temperature of 14C for the races. There are 12mph westerly winds forecast.
Jamie Braidwood4 April 2021 15:08
WELCOME TO THE BOAT RACE
Welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the Boat Race. It promises to be a unique and unpredictable afternoon of action, with the race heading to the Great Ouse for the first time since 1944. A significantly shorter course will only add to the excitement of what is expected to be a razor-tight men’s race, while Cambridge are commanding favourites to take the 75th annual women’s race.
Jamie Braidwood4 April 2021 12:06