The Boat Race 2013: The Very Last Preview of All Time

The Boat Race 2013: The Very Last Preview of All Time

Post by Alistai » Tue, 26 Mar 2013 03:37:07


Heres the thing about the Boat Race, the thing that most people dont
get. Winning it has nothing to do with being the fastest crew.
Getting ahead gives you such an advantage it doesnt matter if youre
ultimately a quicker or slower crew over 4 miles. If you let the other
guy ahead by more than a couple of seconds youre probably going to
lose. Let him take your water and you need a miracle.

But you know nothing about the other crew. You have no idea how hard
youre going to need to work to stop him bolting ahead, except that
itll be a lot harder than youd like. You have no real idea just how
hard the other crew is racing, and they dont know that about you. All
you know is, you cant let them get ahead.

So the only real choice is to go off as hard as you can in the full
knowledge that you have seven*** minutes of rowing ahead of you.
See, its like a game of cards, and heres the thing with cards: you can
always win. Theres always a way of winning, you just dont know what it
is. Luck is in pretty short supply out there: the crew thats going to
win is the one that calls it right. I think only two or three times in
the past twenty races Ive thought dont really see how that one could
have come out different. Certainly weve had plenty of races where the
slower crew won from both sides. The other guy just didnt play his
cards well enough. And everything the weather, the umpire, the boat,
guys in the river - every little thing is something you can use to your
advantage. Or not. Take your pick.  Its all part of the mix. This is
not a time trial, its a bare knuckle fight and winner is always the
better crew. Because they won.

Sooner or later youre going to lay down your best cards. The other guy
doesnt know if its really your best hand, and you dont know what hes
got. Maybe youve been clever and have a pretty good idea what hes got,
but you cant really know. What if he matches it? What are you going to
do now? And the other guys thinking: if hes got any more up his sleeve
Im ***ed. So what are you going to do? The next twenty seconds are
going to be win or lose. Maybe. Or maybe it wont make any difference at
all.

So you watch and wait. And then you pounce. Or maybe you still wait,
wait for the other guy to implode. Its your call.

And if you get it wrong its going to stay with you forever. Youre
going to carry around the knowledge that you could have done it
differently, done it properly. And youre right.

Its that time of year when the people who dont get it come out in
force, and the irony is theyre mostly rowers. Not the people on the
bank, the crowds in the pubs and millions with half an eye on the tv.
The nuances of station and rig and stream might elude the casual viewer,
but if theyre paying any attention at all theres a sense of the
enormity of the struggle, and they keep coming back. No, the ones who
dont get it are rowers, grown used to the antiseptic world of getting
from here to there in what they hope is the fairest possible fashion who
bleat the old questions about why the crews never seem to care about
anything else and that its unfair and that their crew is faster and why
dont they come to my head race. And then go on to tell you what would
be a real test, and why this or that crew is so much faster than the two
universities. And the louder they shout the more they realise no-ones
listening.

So whos going to win? Well duh. Either of them could. For the first
time Ive actually seen both crews up close, so heres what you need to
know.

WEATHER

Its not going to be the sort of day for sunbathing. But more
importantly theres a pretty good chance its going to be windy. Wind,
or the chance of it, can mess with your head. All those beautifully
practised strokes and now you can barely get all eight blades in the
water. But that fear makes wind a weapon. Of course tactically theres a
whole world of ways of using it on an open river, but heres where its
lethal: its the great get out clause. When youre sitting ? length down
and feeling you cant take another stroke youre going to use the
weather as the excuse. It was a lottery today youll say as you
clamber out of your boat, spent, soaked, defeated. But I can assure you:
not from where the victors are standing.

STATION

Ive said for the past decade that Middlesex is the new Surrey. There
comes a point where Surrey is just old news, and nows it. Theres a lot
less to station that sometimes implied about 1/3 length for Middlesex
over the first and last thirds of the race, and 2/3 length for Surrey
through the middle third. Which means, all other things being equal,
never more than a 1/3 length lead which isnt much. But who wouldnt
want to be on Middlesex coming under Barnes Bridge? Ill tell you: the
crew thats being rowed down. Theres a serious point: if you expect
your bend to give you more than it can, then youre going to be pretty
spooked when you dont get it. The bends are cards to play and you can
play them well and you can play them badly from the outside or the inside.

SPEED

I cant remember the last time Cambridge lead off the start. I think it
may have been 1972. Its clearly a card they think they dont have to
play. Fair enough: what makes a difference is whether youre holding it
back because you have to or you want to, and Oxford have no way of
knowing. And this is how the race is going to play out: both crews have
some good plays, but its who deploys them at the best time, and who
keeps their nerve. These two crews are right at the top of the quality
scale of crews of recent times, but if you think you can tell whos
going to win just by looking at the way they row then youre way out of
your depth.

So where should your money go? If the winds at the top end of
predictions theres a chance of a sinking: those pumps arent going to
be any use if a boat gets caught out. Not much of a chance , certainly
not worth the 7.2 you can get at Betfair. Reckon 20 would be nearer the
mark.

Dead heat? Aint going to happen.

But, Cambridge at 2.6? Take it. Bet the house. The whole lot. I can't
guarantee you'll win, but I can promise you'll get just a little bit of
what it feels like to be out there.

 
 
 

The Boat Race 2013: The Very Last Preview of All Time

Post by James H » Tue, 26 Mar 2013 16:00:24

Quote:

> Heres the thing about the Boat Race, the thing that most people dont

> get. Winning it has nothing to do with being the fastest crew.

> Getting ahead gives you such an advantage it doesnt matter if youre

> ultimately a quicker or slower crew over 4 miles. If you let the other

> guy ahead by more than a couple of seconds youre probably going to

> lose. Let him take your water and you need a miracle.

> But you know nothing about the other crew. You have no idea how hard

> youre going to need to work to stop him bolting ahead, except that

> itll be a lot harder than youd like. You have no real idea just how

> hard the other crew is racing, and they dont know that about you. All

> you know is, you cant let them get ahead.

> So the only real choice is to go off as hard as you can in the full

> knowledge that you have seven*** minutes of rowing ahead of you.

> See, its like a game of cards, and heres the thing with cards: you can

> always win. Theres always a way of winning, you just dont know what it

> is. Luck is in pretty short supply out there: the crew thats going to

> win is the one that calls it right. I think only two or three times in

> the past twenty races Ive thought dont really see how that one could

> have come out different. Certainly weve had plenty of races where the

> slower crew won from both sides. The other guy just didnt play his

> cards well enough. And everything the weather, the umpire, the boat,

> guys in the river - every little thing is something you can use to your

> advantage. Or not. Take your pick.  Its all part of the mix. This is

> not a time trial, its a bare knuckle fight and winner is always the

> better crew. Because they won.

> Sooner or later youre going to lay down your best cards. The other guy

> doesnt know if its really your best hand, and you dont know what hes

> got. Maybe youve been clever and have a pretty good idea what hes got,

> but you cant really know. What if he matches it? What are you going to

> do now? And the other guys thinking: if hes got any more up his sleeve

> Im ***ed. So what are you going to do? The next twenty seconds are

> going to be win or lose. Maybe. Or maybe it wont make any difference at

> all.

> So you watch and wait. And then you pounce. Or maybe you still wait,

> wait for the other guy to implode. Its your call.

> And if you get it wrong its going to stay with you forever. Youre

> going to carry around the knowledge that you could have done it

> differently, done it properly. And youre right.

> Its that time of year when the people who dont get it come out in

> force, and the irony is theyre mostly rowers. Not the people on the

> bank, the crowds in the pubs and millions with half an eye on the tv.

> The nuances of station and rig and stream might elude the casual viewer,

> but if theyre paying any attention at all theres a sense of the

> enormity of the struggle, and they keep coming back. No, the ones who

> dont get it are rowers, grown used to the antiseptic world of getting

> from here to there in what they hope is the fairest possible fashion who

> bleat the old questions about why the crews never seem to care about

> anything else and that its unfair and that their crew is faster and why

> dont they come to my head race. And then go on to tell you what would

> be a real test, and why this or that crew is so much faster than the two

> universities. And the louder they shout the more they realise no-ones

> listening.

> So whos going to win? Well duh. Either of them could. For the first

> time Ive actually seen both crews up close, so heres what you need to

> know.

> WEATHER

> Its not going to be the sort of day for sunbathing. But more

> importantly theres a pretty good chance its going to be windy. Wind,

> or the chance of it, can mess with your head. All those beautifully

> practised strokes and now you can barely get all eight blades in the

> water. But that fear makes wind a weapon. Of course tactically theres a

> whole world of ways of using it on an open river, but heres where its

> lethal: its the great get out clause. When youre sitting ? length down

> and feeling you cant take another stroke youre going to use the

> weather as the excuse. It was a lottery today youll say as you

> clamber out of your boat, spent, soaked, defeated. But I can assure you:

> not from where the victors are standing.

> STATION

> Ive said for the past decade that Middlesex is the new Surrey. There

> comes a point where Surrey is just old news, and nows it. Theres a lot

> less to station that sometimes implied about 1/3 length for Middlesex

> over the first and last thirds of the race, and 2/3 length for Surrey

> through the middle third. Which means, all other things being equal,

> never more than a 1/3 length lead which isnt much. But who wouldnt

> want to be on Middlesex coming under Barnes Bridge? Ill tell you: the

> crew thats being rowed down. Theres a serious point: if you expect

> your bend to give you more than it can, then youre going to be pretty

> spooked when you dont get it. The bends are cards to play and you can

> play them well and you can play them badly from the outside or the inside.

> SPEED

> I cant remember the last time Cambridge lead off the start. I think it

> may have been 1972. Its clearly a card they think they dont have to

> play. Fair enough: what makes a difference is whether youre holding it

> back because you have to or you want to, and Oxford have no way of

> knowing. And this is how the race is going to play out: both crews have

> some good plays, but its who deploys them at the best time, and who

> keeps their nerve. These two crews are right at the top of the quality

> scale of crews of recent times, but if you think you can tell whos

> going to win just by looking at the way they row then youre way out of

> your depth.

> So where should your money go? If the winds at the top end of

> predictions theres a chance of a sinking: those pumps arent going to

> be any use if a boat gets caught out. Not much of a chance , certainly

> not worth the 7.2 you can get at Betfair. Reckon 20 would be nearer the

> mark.

> Dead heat? Aint going to happen.

> But, Cambridge at 2.6? Take it. Bet the house. The whole lot. I can't

> guarantee you'll win, but I can promise you'll get just a little bit of

> what it feels like to be out there.

"Winning it has nothing to do with being the fastest crew."

Well - technically it is the crew that covers the course in the least time. I think you are saying that there is more to this than 'rowing' there is tactics - but that is probably true of any event from horse racing to boxing.

I like the way you describe the whole randomness of some of the advantages but are happy to say that it will "probably" be windy! :)

I am certain that Oxford will win - because nothing is worse than not having a view!

James

 
 
 

The Boat Race 2013: The Very Last Preview of All Time

Post by Phil » Tue, 26 Mar 2013 22:21:30


Quote:
> Heres the thing about the Boat Race, the thing that most people dont
> get. Winning it has nothing to do with being the fastest crew.
> Getting ahead gives you such an advantage it doesnt matter if youre
> ultimately a quicker or slower crew over 4 miles. If you let the other
> guy ahead by more than a couple of seconds youre probably going to
> lose. Let him take your water and you need a miracle.

> But you know nothing about the other crew. You have no idea how hard
> youre going to need to work to stop him bolting ahead, except that
> itll be a lot harder than youd like. You have no real idea just how
> hard the other crew is racing, and they dont know that about you. All
> you know is, you cant let them get ahead.

> So the only real choice is to go off as hard as you can in the full
> knowledge that you have seven*** minutes of rowing ahead of you.
> See, its like a game of cards, and heres the thing with cards: you can
> always win. Theres always a way of winning, you just dont know what it
> is. Luck is in pretty short supply out there: the crew thats going to
> win is the one that calls it right. I think only two or three times in
> the past twenty races Ive thought dont really see how that one could
> have come out different. Certainly weve had plenty of races where the
> slower crew won from both sides. The other guy just didnt play his
> cards well enough. And everything the weather, the umpire, the boat,
> guys in the river - every little thing is something you can use to your
> advantage. Or not. Take your pick. ?Its all part of the mix. This is
> not a time trial, its a bare knuckle fight and winner is always the
> better crew. Because they won.

> Sooner or later youre going to lay down your best cards. The other guy
> doesnt know if its really your best hand, and you dont know what hes
> got. Maybe youve been clever and have a pretty good idea what hes got,
> but you cant really know. What if he matches it? What are you going to
> do now? And the other guys thinking: if hes got any more up his sleeve
> Im ***ed. So what are you going to do? The next twenty seconds are
> going to be win or lose. Maybe. Or maybe it wont make any difference at
> all.

> So you watch and wait. And then you pounce. Or maybe you still wait,
> wait for the other guy to implode. Its your call.

> And if you get it wrong its going to stay with you forever. Youre
> going to carry around the knowledge that you could have done it
> differently, done it properly. And youre right.

> Its that time of year when the people who dont get it come out in
> force, and the irony is theyre mostly rowers. Not the people on the
> bank, the crowds in the pubs and millions with half an eye on the tv.
> The nuances of station and rig and stream might elude the casual viewer,
> but if theyre paying any attention at all theres a sense of the
> enormity of the struggle, and they keep coming back. No, the ones who
> dont get it are rowers, grown used to the antiseptic world of getting
> from here to there in what they hope is the fairest possible fashion who
> bleat the old questions about why the crews never seem to care about
> anything else and that its unfair and that their crew is faster and why
> dont they come to my head race. And then go on to tell you what would
> be a real test, and why this or that crew is so much faster than the two
> universities. And the louder they shout the more they realise no-ones
> listening.

> So whos going to win? Well duh. Either of them could. For the first
> time Ive actually seen both crews up close, so heres what you need to
> know.

> WEATHER

> Its not going to be the sort of day for sunbathing. But more
> importantly theres a pretty good chance its going to be windy. Wind,
> or the chance of it, can mess with your head. All those beautifully
> practised strokes and now you can barely get all eight blades in the
> water. But that fear makes wind a weapon. Of course tactically theres a
> whole world of ways of using it on an open river, but heres where its
> lethal: its the great get out clause. When youre sitting ? length down
> and feeling you cant take another stroke youre going to use the
> weather as the excuse. It was a lottery today youll say as you
> clamber out of your boat, spent, soaked, defeated. But I can assure you:
> not from where the victors are standing.

> STATION

> Ive said for the past decade that Middlesex is the new Surrey. There
> comes a point where Surrey is just old news, and nows it. Theres a lot
> less to station that sometimes implied about 1/3 length for Middlesex
> over the first and last thirds of the race, and 2/3 length for Surrey
> through the middle third. Which means, all other things being equal,
> never more than a 1/3 length lead which isnt much. But who wouldnt
> want to be on Middlesex coming under Barnes Bridge? Ill tell you: the
> crew thats being rowed down. Theres a serious point: if you expect
> your bend to give you more than it can, then youre going to be pretty
> spooked when you dont get it. The bends are cards to play and you can
> play them well and you can play them badly from the outside or the inside.

> SPEED

> I cant remember the last time Cambridge lead off the start. I think it
> may have been 1972. Its clearly a card they think they dont have to
> play. Fair enough: what makes a difference is whether youre holding it
> back because you have to or you want to, and Oxford have no way of
> knowing. And this is how the race is going to play out: both crews have
> some good plays, but its who deploys them at the best time, and who
> keeps their nerve. These two crews are right at the top of the quality
> scale of crews of recent times, but if you think you can tell whos
> going to win just by looking at the way they row then youre way out of
> your depth.

> So where should your money go? If the winds at the top end of
> predictions theres a chance of a sinking: those pumps arent going to
> be any use if a boat gets caught out. Not much of a chance , certainly
> not worth the 7.2 you can get at Betfair. Reckon 20 would be nearer the
> mark.

> Dead heat? Aint going to happen.

> But, Cambridge at 2.6? Take it. Bet the house. The whole lot. I can't
> guarantee you'll win, but I can promise you'll get just a little bit of
> what it feels like to be out there.

I had no idea this was to be the last boat race.
Hey ho, nothing much lost there then.

Phil.

 
 
 

The Boat Race 2013: The Very Last Preview of All Time

Post by stewie.. » Tue, 26 Mar 2013 23:58:24

Quote:


> > Heres the thing about the Boat Race, the thing that most people dont

> > get. Winning it has nothing to do with being the fastest crew.

> > Getting ahead gives you such an advantage it doesnt matter if youre

> > ultimately a quicker or slower crew over 4 miles. If you let the other

> > guy ahead by more than a couple of seconds youre probably going to

> > lose. Let him take your water and you need a miracle.

> > But you know nothing about the other crew. You have no idea how hard

> > youre going to need to work to stop him bolting ahead, except that

> > itll be a lot harder than youd like. You have no real idea just how

> > hard the other crew is racing, and they dont know that about you. All

> > you know is, you cant let them get ahead.

> > So the only real choice is to go off as hard as you can in the full

> > knowledge that you have seven*** minutes of rowing ahead of you.

> > See, its like a game of cards, and heres the thing with cards: you can

> > always win. Theres always a way of winning, you just dont know what it

> > is. Luck is in pretty short supply out there: the crew thats going to

> > win is the one that calls it right. I think only two or three times in

> > the past twenty races Ive thought dont really see how that one could

> > have come out different. Certainly weve had plenty of races where the

> > slower crew won from both sides. The other guy just didnt play his

> > cards well enough. And everything the weather, the umpire, the boat,

> > guys in the river - every little thing is something you can use to your

> > advantage. Or not. Take your pick. ?Its all part of the mix. This is

> > not a time trial, its a bare knuckle fight and winner is always the

> > better crew. Because they won.

> > Sooner or later youre going to lay down your best cards. The other guy

> > doesnt know if its really your best hand, and you dont know what hes

> > got. Maybe youve been clever and have a pretty good idea what hes got,

> > but you cant really know. What if he matches it? What are you going to

> > do now? And the other guys thinking: if hes got any more up his sleeve

> > Im ***ed. So what are you going to do? The next twenty seconds are

> > going to be win or lose. Maybe. Or maybe it wont make any difference at

> > all.

> > So you watch and wait. And then you pounce. Or maybe you still wait,

> > wait for the other guy to implode. Its your call.

> > And if you get it wrong its going to stay with you forever. Youre

> > going to carry around the knowledge that you could have done it

> > differently, done it properly. And youre right.

> > Its that time of year when the people who dont get it come out in

> > force, and the irony is theyre mostly rowers. Not the people on the

> > bank, the crowds in the pubs and millions with half an eye on the tv.

> > The nuances of station and rig and stream might elude the casual viewer,

> > but if theyre paying any attention at all theres a sense of the

> > enormity of the struggle, and they keep coming back. No, the ones who

> > dont get it are rowers, grown used to the antiseptic world of getting

> > from here to there in what they hope is the fairest possible fashion who

> > bleat the old questions about why the crews never seem to care about

> > anything else and that its unfair and that their crew is faster and why

> > dont they come to my head race. And then go on to tell you what would

> > be a real test, and why this or that crew is so much faster than the two

> > universities. And the louder they shout the more they realise no-ones

> > listening.

> > So whos going to win? Well duh. Either of them could. For the first

> > time Ive actually seen both crews up close, so heres what you need to

> > know.

> > WEATHER

> > Its not going to be the sort of day for sunbathing. But more

> > importantly theres a pretty good chance its going to be windy. Wind,

> > or the chance of it, can mess with your head. All those beautifully

> > practised strokes and now you can barely get all eight blades in the

> > water. But that fear makes wind a weapon. Of course tactically theres a

> > whole world of ways of using it on an open river, but heres where its

> > lethal: its the great get out clause. When youre sitting ? length down

> > and feeling you cant take another stroke youre going to use the

> > weather as the excuse. It was a lottery today youll say as you

> > clamber out of your boat, spent, soaked, defeated. But I can assure you:

> > not from where the victors are standing.

> > STATION

> > Ive said for the past decade that Middlesex is the new Surrey. There

> > comes a point where Surrey is just old news, and nows it. Theres a lot

> > less to station that sometimes implied about 1/3 length for Middlesex

> > over the first and last thirds of the race, and 2/3 length for Surrey

> > through the middle third. Which means, all other things being equal,

> > never more than a 1/3 length lead which isnt much. But who wouldnt

> > want to be on Middlesex coming under Barnes Bridge? Ill tell you: the

> > crew thats being rowed down. Theres a serious point: if you expect

> > your bend to give you more than it can, then youre going to be pretty

> > spooked when you dont get it. The bends are cards to play and you can

> > play them well and you can play them badly from the outside or the inside.

> > SPEED

> > I cant remember the last time Cambridge lead off the start. I think it

> > may have been 1972. Its clearly a card they think they dont have to

> > play. Fair enough: what makes a difference is whether youre holding it

> > back because you have to or you want to, and Oxford have no way of

> > knowing. And this is how the race is going to play out: both crews have

> > some good plays, but its who deploys them at the best time, and who

> > keeps their nerve. These two crews are right at the top of the quality

> > scale of crews of recent times, but if you think you can tell whos

> > going to win just by looking at the way they row then youre way out of

> > your depth.

> > So where should your money go? If the winds at the top end of

> > predictions theres a chance of a sinking: those pumps arent going to

> > be any use if a boat gets caught out. Not much of a chance , certainly

> > not worth the 7.2 you can get at Betfair. Reckon 20 would be nearer the

> > mark.

> > Dead heat? Aint going to happen.

> > But, Cambridge at 2.6? Take it. Bet the house. The whole lot. I can't

> > guarantee you'll win, but I can promise you'll get just a little bit of

> > what it feels like to be out there.

> I had no idea this was to be the last boat race.

> Hey ho, nothing much lost there then.

> Phil.

I don't think that was quite the implication. Considering there are plans afoot for 2015 and beyond, with the Women's Boat Race joining the Men's on the Tideway, I think there would be a bit more noise on the matter if this was the last one ;-)
 
 
 

The Boat Race 2013: The Very Last Preview of All Time

Post by sull » Thu, 28 Mar 2013 04:59:13


Quote:

> > Heres the thing about the Boat Race, the thing that most people dont

> > get. Winning it has nothing to do with being the fastest crew.

> > Getting ahead gives you such an advantage it doesnt matter if youre

> > ultimately a quicker or slower crew over 4 miles. If you let the other

> > guy ahead by more than a couple of seconds youre probably going to

> > lose. Let him take your water and you need a miracle.

> > But you know nothing about the other crew. You have no idea how hard

> > youre going to need to work to stop him bolting ahead, except that

> > itll be a lot harder than youd like. You have no real idea just how

> > hard the other crew is racing, and they dont know that about you. All

> > you know is, you cant let them get ahead.

> > So the only real choice is to go off as hard as you can in the full

> > knowledge that you have seven*** minutes of rowing ahead of you.

> > See, its like a game of cards, and heres the thing with cards: you can

> > always win. Theres always a way of winning, you just dont know what it

> > is. Luck is in pretty short supply out there: the crew thats going to

> > win is the one that calls it right. I think only two or three times in

> > the past twenty races Ive thought dont really see how that one could

> > have come out different. Certainly weve had plenty of races where the

> > slower crew won from both sides. The other guy just didnt play his

> > cards well enough. And everything the weather, the umpire, the boat,

> > guys in the river - every little thing is something you can use to your

> > advantage. Or not. Take your pick. ?Its all part of the mix. This is

> > not a time trial, its a bare knuckle fight and winner is always the

> > better crew. Because they won.

> > Sooner or later youre going to lay down your best cards. The other guy

> > doesnt know if its really your best hand, and you dont know what hes

> > got. Maybe youve been clever and have a pretty good idea what hes got,

> > but you cant really know. What if he matches it? What are you going to

> > do now? And the other guys thinking: if hes got any more up his sleeve

> > Im ***ed. So what are you going to do? The next twenty seconds are

> > going to be win or lose. Maybe. Or maybe it wont make any difference at

> > all.

> > So you watch and wait. And then you pounce. Or maybe you still wait,

> > wait for the other guy to implode. Its your call.

> > And if you get it wrong its going to stay with you forever. Youre

> > going to carry around the knowledge that you could have done it

> > differently, done it properly. And youre right.

> > Its that time of year when the people who dont get it come out in

> > force, and the irony is theyre mostly rowers. Not the people on the

> > bank, the crowds in the pubs and millions with half an eye on the tv.

> > The nuances of station and rig and stream might elude the casual viewer,

> > but if theyre paying any attention at all theres a sense of the

> > enormity of the struggle, and they keep coming back. No, the ones who

> > dont get it are rowers, grown used to the antiseptic world of getting

> > from here to there in what they hope is the fairest possible fashion who

> > bleat the old questions about why the crews never seem to care about

> > anything else and that its unfair and that their crew is faster and why

> > dont they come to my head race. And then go on to tell you what would

> > be a real test, and why this or that crew is so much faster than the two

> > universities. And the louder they shout the more they realise no-ones

> > listening.

> > So whos going to win? Well duh. Either of them could. For the first

> > time Ive actually seen both crews up close, so heres what you need to

> > know.

> > WEATHER

> > Its not going to be the sort of day for sunbathing. But more

> > importantly theres a pretty good chance its going to be windy. Wind,

> > or the chance of it, can mess with your head. All those beautifully

> > practised strokes and now you can barely get all eight blades in the

> > water. But that fear makes wind a weapon. Of course tactically theres a

> > whole world of ways of using it on an open river, but heres where its

> > lethal: its the great get out clause. When youre sitting ? length down

> > and feeling you cant take another stroke youre going to use the

> > weather as the excuse. It was a lottery today youll say as you

> > clamber out of your boat, spent, soaked, defeated. But I can assure you:

> > not from where the victors are standing.

> > STATION

> > Ive said for the past decade that Middlesex is the new Surrey. There

> > comes a point where Surrey is just old news, and nows it. Theres a lot

> > less to station that sometimes implied about 1/3 length for Middlesex

> > over the first and last thirds of the race, and 2/3 length for Surrey

> > through the middle third. Which means, all other things being equal,

> > never more than a 1/3 length lead which isnt much. But who wouldnt

> > want to be on Middlesex coming under Barnes Bridge? Ill tell you: the

> > crew thats being rowed down. Theres a serious point: if you expect

> > your bend to give you more than it can, then youre going to be pretty

> > spooked when you dont get it. The bends are cards to play and you can

> > play them well and you can play them badly from the outside or the inside.

> > SPEED

> > I cant remember the last time Cambridge lead off the start. I think it

> > may have been 1972. Its clearly a card they think they dont have to

> > play. Fair enough: what makes a difference is whether youre holding it

> > back because you have to or you want to, and Oxford have no way of

> > knowing. And this is how the race is going to play out: both crews have

> > some good plays, but its who deploys them at the best time, and who

> > keeps their nerve. These two crews are right at the top of the quality

> > scale of crews of recent times, but if you think you can tell whos

> > going to win just by looking at the way they row then youre way out of

> > your depth.

> > So where should your money go? If the winds at the top end of

> > predictions theres a chance of a sinking: those pumps arent going to

> > be any use if a boat gets caught out. Not much of a chance , certainly

> > not worth the 7.2 you can get at Betfair. Reckon 20 would be nearer the

> > mark.

> > Dead heat? Aint going to happen.

> > But, Cambridge at 2.6? Take it. Bet the house. The whole lot. I can't

> > guarantee you'll win, but I can promise you'll get just a little bit of

> > what it feels like to be out there.

> "Winning it has nothing to do with being the fastest crew."

> Well - technically it is the crew that covers the course in the least time. I think you are saying that there is more to this than 'rowing' there is tactics - but that is probably true of any event from horse racing to boxing.

> I like the way you describe the whole randomness of some of the advantages but are happy to say that it will "probably" be windy! :)

I like the way Alistair talked about the factors, not as advantages or
disadvantages but as opportunities to be used as to why
you can't come back on a crew, or perform your best effort.

Fantastic bit of writing, as usual.

 
 
 

The Boat Race 2013: The Very Last Preview of All Time

Post by stewie.. » Fri, 05 Apr 2013 08:22:59

Quote:

> Heres the thing about the Boat Race, the thing that most people dont

> get. Winning it has nothing to do with being the fastest crew.

> Getting ahead gives you such an advantage it doesnt matter if youre

> ultimately a quicker or slower crew over 4 miles. If you let the other

> guy ahead by more than a couple of seconds youre probably going to

> lose. Let him take your water and you need a miracle.

> But you know nothing about the other crew. You have no idea how hard

> youre going to need to work to stop him bolting ahead, except that

> itll be a lot harder than youd like. You have no real idea just how

> hard the other crew is racing, and they dont know that about you. All

> you know is, you cant let them get ahead.

> So the only real choice is to go off as hard as you can in the full

> knowledge that you have seven*** minutes of rowing ahead of you.

> See, its like a game of cards, and heres the thing with cards: you can

> always win. Theres always a way of winning, you just dont know what it

> is. Luck is in pretty short supply out there: the crew thats going to

> win is the one that calls it right. I think only two or three times in

> the past twenty races Ive thought dont really see how that one could

> have come out different. Certainly weve had plenty of races where the

> slower crew won from both sides. The other guy just didnt play his

> cards well enough. And everything the weather, the umpire, the boat,

> guys in the river - every little thing is something you can use to your

> advantage. Or not. Take your pick.  Its all part of the mix. This is

> not a time trial, its a bare knuckle fight and winner is always the

> better crew. Because they won.

> Sooner or later youre going to lay down your best cards. The other guy

> doesnt know if its really your best hand, and you dont know what hes

> got. Maybe youve been clever and have a pretty good idea what hes got,

> but you cant really know. What if he matches it? What are you going to

> do now? And the other guys thinking: if hes got any more up his sleeve

> Im ***ed. So what are you going to do? The next twenty seconds are

> going to be win or lose. Maybe. Or maybe it wont make any difference at

> all.

> So you watch and wait. And then you pounce. Or maybe you still wait,

> wait for the other guy to implode. Its your call.

> And if you get it wrong its going to stay with you forever. Youre

> going to carry around the knowledge that you could have done it

> differently, done it properly. And youre right.

> Its that time of year when the people who dont get it come out in

> force, and the irony is theyre mostly rowers. Not the people on the

> bank, the crowds in the pubs and millions with half an eye on the tv.

> The nuances of station and rig and stream might elude the casual viewer,

> but if theyre paying any attention at all theres a sense of the

> enormity of the struggle, and they keep coming back. No, the ones who

> dont get it are rowers, grown used to the antiseptic world of getting

> from here to there in what they hope is the fairest possible fashion who

> bleat the old questions about why the crews never seem to care about

> anything else and that its unfair and that their crew is faster and why

> dont they come to my head race. And then go on to tell you what would

> be a real test, and why this or that crew is so much faster than the two

> universities. And the louder they shout the more they realise no-ones

> listening.

> So whos going to win? Well duh. Either of them could. For the first

> time Ive actually seen both crews up close, so heres what you need to

> know.

> WEATHER

> Its not going to be the sort of day for sunbathing. But more

> importantly theres a pretty good chance its going to be windy. Wind,

> or the chance of it, can mess with your head. All those beautifully

> practised strokes and now you can barely get all eight blades in the

> water. But that fear makes wind a weapon. Of course tactically theres a

> whole world of ways of using it on an open river, but heres where its

> lethal: its the great get out clause. When youre sitting ? length down

> and feeling you cant take another stroke youre going to use the

> weather as the excuse. It was a lottery today youll say as you

> clamber out of your boat, spent, soaked, defeated. But I can assure you:

> not from where the victors are standing.

> STATION

> Ive said for the past decade that Middlesex is the new Surrey. There

> comes a point where Surrey is just old news, and nows it. Theres a lot

> less to station that sometimes implied about 1/3 length for Middlesex

> over the first and last thirds of the race, and 2/3 length for Surrey

> through the middle third. Which means, all other things being equal,

> never more than a 1/3 length lead which isnt much. But who wouldnt

> want to be on Middlesex coming under Barnes Bridge? Ill tell you: the

> crew thats being rowed down. Theres a serious point: if you expect

> your bend to give you more than it can, then youre going to be pretty

> spooked when you dont get it. The bends are cards to play and you can

> play them well and you can play them badly from the outside or the inside.

> SPEED

> I cant remember the last time Cambridge lead off the start. I think it

> may have been 1972. Its clearly a card they think they dont have to

> play. Fair enough: what makes a difference is whether youre holding it

> back because you have to or you want to, and Oxford have no way of

> knowing. And this is how the race is going to play out: both crews have

> some good plays, but its who deploys them at the best time, and who

> keeps their nerve. These two crews are right at the top of the quality

> scale of crews of recent times, but if you think you can tell whos

> going to win just by looking at the way they row then youre way out of

> your depth.

> So where should your money go? If the winds at the top end of

> predictions theres a chance of a sinking: those pumps arent going to

> be any use if a boat gets caught out. Not much of a chance , certainly

> not worth the 7.2 you can get at Betfair. Reckon 20 would be nearer the

> mark.

> Dead heat? Aint going to happen.

> But, Cambridge at 2.6? Take it. Bet the house. The whole lot. I can't

> guarantee you'll win, but I can promise you'll get just a little bit of

> what it feels like to be out there.

Alistair

You analysis proved very true for the Boat Race itself. The boat that got in front after 30 strokes went on to win. Interestingly, from the Black Buoy to Chiswick Eyot there was practically no change in the margin, with Oxford's cox sitting consistently on Cambridge's 2-3 seats.

Then, one decisive moment. Just after Chiswick Eyot, Oskar called a big push to break away while they still had the bend in their advantage. Henry called a retaliatory push, but somehow it turned out to be a bad call -  most of a length down and feeling their race slip away, Cambridge panicked and for about 10 strokes they lost rhythm and their bladework went all wonky. By the time Henry had calmed them down again, Oxford were half a length clear and the boats were line astern. We all know what happened after that.

By far the more interesting race was Isis-Goldie, with 4-5 lead changes and a lighter crew rowing around the outside of the heavier one on the final bend for victory. Unfortunately we have only a vague race report and twitter accounts to analyse. Being in front may have a psychological advantage, but clearly nobody's told Isis. Behind at Hammersmith, then ahead when I saw them at Furnivall, behind again at Barnes only to win at TSS.

Cambridge's start technique was interesting. Very quick up the slide, trying to over-rate Oxford and jump a lead off the start to gain the first advantage, but then immediately dropped back and Oxford had the first meaningful lead.