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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Authors

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

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

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-168
Number of pages12
JournalMeteorological Applications
Volume16
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2009

Keywords

  • Boat Race, biometeorology, weather conditions