On December 13th the Cambridge University Boat Club (CUBC) held its Trial Eights competition on the Tideway between Putney and Mortlake. One Crew named Cloak, the other Dagger set out for a duel over the 6.8km (4.2mi) Boat Race Course.
With each crew racing in a Hudson Hammerhead 8+ with standard equipment; Nike Omada Shoes with Bat Logic Shoe Plate Pros, the race earned its place in history as one of the most exciting Trials on record as it had multiple lead changes.
For a Trial Eights competition this race had its exciting moments. With Dagger (S8.31) placed on the Middlesex station (North) and Cloak (S8.41) on the Surrey station (South), Cloak set the tone of the race with an early lead. With the advantage of the Middlesex bend, Dagger pulled themselves back into the race and earned a 2/3 length lead at The Mile Post.
With unpredictable conditions being the only predictable thing about conditions on the Tideway both crews were struck with strong winds from the South West as they approached Hammersmith Bridge. The wind gave Cloak an opportunity to make a move on the bend and eliminate the previous margin between both boats.
As both crews passed Hammersmith side by side, a blade clash occurred which forced Dagger to the outside and allowed Cloak to regain their previous lead. Cloak continued with the momentum they earned after Hammersmith and stretched their lead to a full length at the Chiswick Pier (2.5mi).
With rough water, and the Surrey bend approaching no lead was guaranteed in this already exciting race. Positioned from the outside of the turn, Dagger made a push at the Surrey bend to prevent Cloak from increasing the margin it had earned at Hammersmith. Shortly after the 3 mile mark on the Corney Reach, Cloak was warned for their steering. The Dagger crew took full advantage of Cloak ceding back from Dagger's North station, and pushed their bow ahead to reach a 1/2 length lead at Barnes Bridge.
After Barnes, conditions began to clear and so did the picture of who would come out on top in one of the most exciting Trials races for a long time. At the race's end Dagger had won in a time of 20 minutes by a margin of 3 boat lengths. The slideshow above shows highlights from a previous CUBC Training session held on December 11, 2011. For more details on The Boat Race visit: http://www.theboatrace.org