The Vancouver Island Oxford and Cambridge Society Boat Race Celebration was held on May 9, 2014.
We were fortunate to be able to celebrate the annual VIOCS Boat Race Celebration in the home of Sigrid and Gordon Walker (Caius, 1958) for the third year in a row. We are most grateful to the Walkers for once again hosting our celebration. Some fifty-five guests met old friends and acquaintances as well as new ones whilst sampling canapés, cheeses, and home made sweets. David Wood (Exeter, 1963) of Salt Spring Island Cheese again furnished many delicious artisan goat cheeses to add to the fare as well as contributing a tasty selection reserved for our silent auction. As usual, drinks were plentiful, and the wines from the Tuscany Liquor Store were outstanding, especially the red. Many thanks to the wine merchants for their discount, to David Wood for his generous gift, and to Cook’s Day Off for again providing and serving delicious canapés.
The video showing of the Boat Race, won all too easily by Oxford, was introduced by Barney Williams (Jesus, 2004), a former president of the Oxford University Boat Club (OUBC). Barney noted that, on this occasion, the Cambridge men’s boat was ‘massively overpowered’ by Oxford. There was also an unfortunate incident in the Cambridge boat, resulting in one oarsman catching a crab and almost falling out. As Justin Fryer (Christ Church, 1958) pointed out later when he gave the toast to Cambridge, this resulted from one oar cutting sideways whilst the boat was travelling at high speed (20 kph), which projected the rower right out of his seat.
The video of the Boat Race was followed by a short clip of the women’s 2 km race, also won by Oxford. Next year, for the first time, the women’s race will also be held on the famous 6 km tidewater course, rather than the 2 km Henley course. According to Barney Williams, the women’s teams have a strong presence and are coming of age.
The toast to Oxford was given by Peter Clarke (St. John’s, 1960, and former Master of Trinity Hall). It included a witty speech in which Peter subtly pointed out that the losing team could boast of a number of famous scientists – Rutherford, Darwin, the Eagle Pub duo who solved the DNA mystery – whilst Oxford’s equivalent appeared to be Frank Cooper of marmalade fame! Following this, Justin Fryer gave the toast to Cambridge, without challenging the marmalade jam-session, as Oxford had already risen to the occasion. He noted that, in recent years, the winning boat tended to be the one that held the larger number of Canadian oarsmen. Two Canadians, Tom Watson and Malcolm Howard (the current president of OUBC) powered Oxford to victory this year.
The evening ended with the now customary silent – and not so silent – auction, the proceeds from which help to finance potential cost overruns on the Boat Race event, and other events that the VIOCS organizing committee may arrange during the course of the year. We are grateful to all those who donated items to the auction process, and to various high bidders!
The VIOCS Organizing Committee