Boat Race 2023 LIVE: Cambridge and Oxford compete over four mile course on River Thames

·14-min read
 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

The 2023 Boat Race between Cambridge and Oxford takes place London this afternoon as the two famous universities clash on the River Thames.

In the men’s race last year, Oxford ended three years of Cambridge victories with a win of two and a quarter lengths. It was their first victory since 2017 after the race was abandoned in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

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The margin of victory was the same in the women’s race but the spoils went to Cambridge who extended their winning run to five years.

The 77th women’s race starts at 4pm and the 168th men’s follows at 5pm. An estimated 250,000 people are expected to watch the races from the banks of the river as the annual event takes place over 4.25 miles from Putney to Mortlake.

Follow all the action from the Boat Races with our liveblog below:

Boat Race 2023

  • Cambridge and Oxford universities clash on the River Thames for the 2023 Boat Race

  • Cambridge regain their title in the women’s race for a sixth consecutive year

  • It’s two from two for Cambridge who win the men’s race as well

Boat Race 2023

17:49 , Michael Jones

The winning coxes, Jasper Parish and James Trotman, are thrown into the river after the trophy presentations. It’s a tradition going back decades.

Cambridge are the big winners today, they’ve taken a grip on the Boat Race over the last five or six years and it’ll be a big ask for Oxford to come back stronger next year.

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Boat Race 2023

17:42 , Michael Jones

It’s been a fantastic day for Cambrigde. They were triumphant in both the men’s and the women’s races.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Boat Races 2023

17:38 , Michael Jones

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Men’s Boat Race

17:35 , Michael Jones

Reaction from the Parish brothers as Jasper says: “The rush of emotions as we got across the line, it was like nothing else.”

Brother Ollie adds: “We got tucked in away from the rough stuff. Jasper coxed an amazing race.”

Men’s Boat Race

17:31 , Michael Jones

Reaction from Cambridge president, Ollie Boyne, who said: “The conditions really difficult but that is the tideway, that is what make it special.”

Men’s Boat Race

17:24 , Michael Jones

Oxford bow, Felix Drinkall, seemed exhausted at the end of the race and his teammates powered over to the riverside to get him some medical attention.

Oxford pushed incredibly hard to stay in that race but just couldn’t close the gap.

Men’s Boat Race

17:21 , Michael Jones

Cox Jasper Parish climbs down the boat to hug his brother Ollie. His move over towards Craven Cottage early in the race was instrumental in why Cambridge won that one.

Men’s Boat Race

17:19 , Michael Jones

The light blues take it! Jasper Parish and his Cambridge team power over the line in first position and they take the win!

Men’s Boat Race

17:17 , Michael Jones

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Men’s Boat Race

17:15 , Michael Jones

The last minute and a half has seen Cambridge ease further into the lead. Oxford’s big push seems to have taken the wind out of their sails as the crews approach Barnes Bridge.

It seems like Cambridge are going to take this race too.

Men’s Boat Race

17:12 , Michael Jones

Oxford are right behind the Cambridge boat and this will come down to endurance. Which of these crews has the energy to keep going to the end?

Oxford are gaining on Cambridge.

Men’s Boat Race

17:10 , Michael Jones

Cambridge’s rhythm is very strong as they look to get away but Oxford cox, Anna O’Hanlon, isn;t letting them. This is a very good race and Oxford could be starting to get back into this.

Men’s Boat Race

17:07 , Michael Jones

Oxford have cut into Cambridge’s lead as the crews approach Hammersmith Bridge. Around 80% of the time whichever crew leads at this point goes on to win.

Cambridge have the lead.

Men’s Boat Race

17:06 , Michael Jones

Oxford need to respond. They’ve got a bunch of powerful rowers in the boat and the next bend comes in their favour.

Cambridge are trying to ease ahead to cut off the Oxford advantage.

Men’s Boat Race

17:04 , Michael Jones

Jasper Parish, the Cambridge cox, moves his boat closer to the Fulham wall. It’s a bold move that works brilliantly and takes Cambridge into the lead.

They’re almost a length ahead now.

Men’s Boat Race

17:03 , Michael Jones

The overhead view shows Oxford slightly in the lead as Cambridge are repeatedly told to move apart by the umpire.

The crews approach Craven Cottage with Cambridge aiming for smoother water.

Men’s Boat Race

17:01 , Michael Jones

And they’re off! Oxford won the men’s race last year but come into this one as underdogs. The defending champions have the Surrey station which should help them later on.

Cambridge thunder out of the start and are being urged to move away from the Oxford boat.

Rowing trying to reach wider communities

16:59 , Michael Jones

Kyra Edwards says “rowing isn’t a sport that comes to you, you have to seek it out.”

There is a push to make rowing more accessible and Olympic champions Helen Glover shared her story saying:

“I grew up in a small town in Cornwall, it was something that people like me didn’t do. I took up rowing at 21 and became Olympic champion four years later. It has changed my life.”

Men’s Boat Race

16:53 , Michael Jones

The rudder issue seems to have been resolved but it’s a bit of an unwanted problem just before the start of the race.


Men’s Boat Race

16:49 , Michael Jones

The crews are entering the water with their boats. There may by a delay to the start of this one as one of the crews has a rudder problem.

It seems to be the Cambridge crew whose boat is undergoing minor repairs.

Men’s Boat Race

16:45 , Michael Jones

The men’s race is coming up at 5pm in what should be a closer affair. Oxford are the reigning champions but Cambridge have a very strong team.

Men’s crews

Oxford: James Forward; Alex Bebb; Freddy Orpin; Tom Sharrock; James Doran; Jean-Philippe Dufour; Tassilo von Mueller; Felix Drinkall; Anna O’Hanlon (cox)

Cambridge: Matt Edge; Brett Taylor; Noam Moulle; Seb Benzecry; Thomas Lynch; Nick Mayhew; Ollie Parish; Luca Ferraro; Jasper Parish (cox)

Reaction from the presidents

16:40 , Michael Jones

Winning Cambridge president, Caoimhe Dempsey, spoke to the BBC after the race saying:

“A tough race, there was so much going on, the girls were tenacious and brave. We have girls with so many different experiences. I am very proud.”

Oxford president, Sara Helin, said: “We feel we had a chance with the protest but I couldn’t really see. I’m just going by what the cox says.”

Women’s Boat Race 2023

16:35 , Michael Jones

Here’s a few of the best photos from the race:

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)
 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)
 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Women’s Boat Race 2023

16:30 , Michael Jones

Tara Slade rasied a protest at the end of the race saying Cambridge cut in front of Oxford. Umpire Matt Smith says "Yes but there was no contact."

Expert Zoe Toledo says "there aren’t many rules in the Boat Race, a lot of it is down to the umpire’s discretion but there was no contact and it’s hard to argue that it changed the outcome of the race."

Women’s Boat Race 2023

16:23 , Michael Jones

Cambrigde win the women’s boat race!


Women’s Boat Race 2023

16:21 , Michael Jones

Tara Slade is counting down the strokes to the finish line for Oxford. The eight are giving it their all but it’s not going to be enough.

Ahead of them Cambridge cross the line in just over 20 minutes.

Cambridge win the Women’s Boat Race!

Women’s Boat Race 2023

16:18 , Michael Jones

Heading around the last bend underneath Barnes Bridge and Cambridge are extending their lead over Oxford. It’s been a decent row from Oxford but Cambridge are at another level.

They’ve dominated the race for the last five years and are cruising to victory once again.

Women’s Boat Race 2023

16:15 , Michael Jones

Oxford are around three minutes behind as Cambridge arrive at the Chiswick steps. That’s a huge gap and it seems highly unlikely that they’ll be able to catch the defending champions.

Women’s Boat Race 2023

16:11 , Michael Jones

Cambridge now have the inside turn having passed under Hammersmith Bridge. They are a good length or so ahead of Oxford now but cox Tara Slade says that Cambridge have used too much energy.

She’s encouraging Oxford to maintain their rhythm.

Women’s Boat Race 2023

16:08 , Michael Jones

Cambridge have strayed into the Middlesex station and are being warned by the race official to move back over. Oxford sense an opportunity to push forward and they force Cambridge back into their own lane.

Women’s Boat Race 2023

16:06 , Michael Jones

There’s now a visible difference between the rhythms of both boats. Cambridge are flying and have pulled ahead. Usually the crews start at around 40 strokes per minute and then settle around 34.

Cambridge seem to be pushing above that average.

Women’s Boat Race 2023

16:04 , Michael Jones

The water is fairly bouncy and is expected to get worse as the crews make their way around the bend. Cambridge are starting to close the gap on Oxford.

Oxford started with the inside bend but they’ll be forced into a wider turn later down the river.

Women’s Boat Race 2023

16:02 , Michael Jones

Right then, 4.2 miles to go on a cloudy and overcast day. The crowds are packed in on the side of the river as the boats approach Craven Cottage.

Cambridge seem to have developed a good rhythm early on.

Women’s Boat Race 2023

16:00 , Michael Jones

And they’re off! It’s a decent start for Oxford who edge slightly in front of Cambridge. It was a punchy and aggressive start.

Women’s Boat Race 2023

15:59 , Michael Jones

Almost time for the race to get underway. Who will triumph this time out?


What happened last year?

15:53 , Michael Jones

Cambridge women claimed their fifth successive victory by also setting a record time of 18 minutes and 23 seconds, 10 seconds faster than their previous recorded time from 2017.

Oxford triumphed in the men’s race last year for the first time since 2017, but can they do it again?

Cambridge win the toss

15:49 , Michael Jones

The toss for the women’s race takes place with Cambridge victorious after the coin lands on tails (Oxford had called heads). Cambridge choose to the Surrey station which should give them a slight advantage around Hammersmith Bridge.

Oxford won the men’s toss and interestingly they also chose Surrey. That has been the winning play for the last few years.

Dame Katherine Grainger said: “Interesting call at the toss. The weather is changing hour by hour.”

What does the Boat Race mean to the competitors?

15:46 , Michael Jones

Grace Prendergast, a New Zealand Olympic gold medal winner, took part in the Boat Race last year winning with Cambridge for the women’s team.

She’s on duty with the BBC today and says: “There’s nothing quite like the boat race. The event is for the people on the bank.”

A change in fortunes?

15:43 , Michael Jones

Former Cambridge student Tara Slade has made the switch to the dark blue upon undertaking medicine at the University of Oxford.

She will race alongside astronomer Laurel Kaye in the women’s race.

An international event

15:38 , Michael Jones

The men’s boats feature rowers from across the world with Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, France, Taiwan and Switzerland all represented.

Ollie Parish, a world junior champion for Great Britain, makes his third consecutive race start for Cambridge, with a new crew that includes four-time French champion Noam Mouelle.

Parish’s brother Jasper has switched to the men’s boat following victory last year as the cox in the women’s boat.

Boat Race 2023

15:33 , Michael Jones

The weather is an issue today. It’s wet, rainy and windy meaning conditions far from ideal to row just over four miles. Coverage is just starting on BBC One with the Women’s event kick off in just under half an hour.


Oxford hold the edge over Cambridge

15:30 , Michael Jones

Reigning champions Oxford have claimed 13 wins for the men’s team since 2000, while Cambridge has won the race nine times in the last 13 years.

However, the longest consecutive streak for either side is just three wins which was by Cambridge before between 2018-2021.

Boat Race 2023 - the route

15:25 , Michael Jones

The Boat Race takes place on the 4.2 mile (6.8 km) Championship Course on the River Thames in south-west London.

It starts downstream of Putney Bridge, passing under Hammersmith Bridge and Barnes Bridge, before finishing just before Chiswick Bridge in Mortlake.

The timings for both races are based on the tides to allow teams the best possible chance of recording fast times.

Who’s in the Cambridge Men’s team?

15:20 , Michael Jones

There are three roles in rowing - bow, stroke and cox. The race is rowed in eights and the cox can be of any gender.

Cambridge Men’s Team

Bow: Matt Edge (St Catharine’s), Brett Taylor (Queens’), Noam Moulle (Hughes Hall), Seb Benzecry (Jesus), Thomas Lynch (Hughes Hall), Nick Mayhew (Peterhouse), Ollie Parish (Peterhouse)

Stroke: Luca Ferraro (King’s)

Cox: Jasper Parish (Clare)

Who’s in the Oxford Men’s team?

15:15 , Michael Jones

There are three roles in rowing - bow, stroke and cox. The race is rowed in eights and the cox can be of any gender.

Oxford Men’s team

Bow: James Forward (Pembroke), Alex Bebb (St. Peter’s), Freddy Orpin (St. Catherine’s), Tom Sharrock (Magdalen), James Doran (Oriel), Jean-Philippe Dufour (Lincoln), Tassilo von Mueller (Hertford)

Stroke: Felix Drinkall (Wolfson)

Cox: Anna O’Hanlon (Somerville)

Who’s in the Cambridge Women’s team?

15:10 , Michael Jones

There are three roles in rowing - bow, stroke and cox. The race is rowed in eights and the cox can be of any gender.

Cambridge Women’s team

Bow: Carina Graf (Emmanuel), Jenna Armstrong (Jesus), Rosa Millard (Trinity Hall), Alex Riddell-Webster (Murray Edwards), Claire Brillon (Fitzwilliam), Freya Keto St (Edmund’s), Isabelle Bastian (Jesus)

Stroke: Caoimhe Dempsey (Newnham)

Cox: James Trotman (Sidney Sussex)

Who’s in the Oxford Women’s team?

15:05 , Michael Jones

There are three roles in rowing - bow, stroke and cox. The race is rowed in eights and the cox can be of any gender.

Oxford Women’s team

Bow: Laurel Kaye (Worcester), Claire Aitken (Oriel), Sara Helin (St. Peter’s), Ella Stadler (Exeter), Alison Carrington (Hertford), Freya Willis (Magdalen), Sarah Marshall (Jesus)

Stroke: Esther Austin (St Anne’s)

Cox: Tara Slade (St Peter’s)

How to watch the Boat Race 2023

15:00 , Michael Jones

The action will be shown on BBC One, with coverage getting underway at 3:30pm.

The women’s race will start at 4pm BST on Sunday 26 March followed by the men’s race at 5pm.

Boat Race 2023

13:25 , Michael Jones

The Boat Race returns to the River Thames today as the light blue of Cambridge University take on the dark blue of Oxford University.

In the men’s race last year, Oxford ended three years of Cambridge victories with a win of two and a quarter lengths whilst the Cambridge women where victorious by the margin of victory to extend their winning run to five years.

The race returned to the Thames last year after it wasn’t held in 2020 and was held on the Great Ouse in 2021.

The women’s race kicks off first at 4pm BST followed by the men’s race an hour later. Who will be triumphant this time around?