The effect of weather conditions on the Oxford-Cambridge University Boat Race

BJ Morris, Ian Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


The sensitivity of Oxford-Cambridge University Boat Race finishing times to changing weather conditions was assessed over the period 1949-2006. Predictors of race times included tide height and river discharge as well as standard weather variables (temperature, humidity, wind speed and wind direction). As the Race is rowed against the flow of the River Thames, quicker races are favoured when a low river discharge is combined with a high tide and a SE wind. Wind speed and direction exert a much greater influence oil race times than temperature and humidity. The zonal (W-E) wind speed explained 28.5% of the year-to-year variations in finishing times between 1967 and 2005, with races taking place under a westerly wind being on average I min and 27 s slower than races rowed under easterly conditions. The combined effects of the wind, river discharge and tide height accounted for 42.9% of the inter-annual variance in race times over a 39 year period. Races rowed under cooler conditions tended to be slightly slower. The results are discussed in the context of the biometeorological literature and the hydrodynamics of the Boat Race course. Copyright (C) 2008 Royal Meteorological Society
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-168
Number of pages12
JournalMeteorological Applications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2009


  • Boat Race
  • biometeorology
  • weather conditions


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of weather conditions on the Oxford-Cambridge University Boat Race'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this