Universities share honours at inaugural boat races

The University of Fort Hare men's eight celebrate their win in the inaugural Buffalo City Universities Boat Race over the past weekend.
HAPPY WITH WIN: The University of Fort Hare men's eight celebrate their win in the inaugural Buffalo City Universities Boat Race over the past weekend.
Image: Supplied

It was even honours between University rivals Walter Sisulu University (WSU) and the University of Fort Hare (UFH) at the inaugural Buffalo City Universities Boat Race over the past weekend.

It was a historic moment for the two varsities who decided to start an annual race reminiscent of the famous Oxford/Cambridge Boat Race, and the day proved to be an enjoyable one with everyone heading home feeling satisfied with how things turned out.

It was the WSU women's eight that triumphed in their race, while the UFH men's eight powered to the win on their side, making sure both varsities would have a winner.

“The Buffalo River race started just above the stone column, Pompies Pillar, after a sharp right-hand bend it follows a straight line for 2.5km, went through the West Bank arch of the Steve Biko Bridge, followed by the middle arch of the Old Railway Bridge to finish alongside Latimer's landing with a total race distance of 4km,” explained race organiser Kate Godfrey. “There was just one change in each of the winning crews.”

In the ladies race it was a clean start, with both crews staying even for the first 300m.

It was then that WSU on the east bank overcame the advantage that UFH had on the first bend at Green Point and started to pull away.

After another 1,000m WSU had a clear lead, but with about 1,200m to go, a breakage in the WSU boat slowed them up somewhat, but they managed to get back on track to maintain their lead to win by six boat lengths.

The men's race saw both crews get off to a fast start and UFH on the east bank managed to get a narrow lead despite their disadvantage of being on the outside of the first bend.

Coming out of the corner at Green Point, UFH had half a length lead and capitalised on it with a solid push, which despite the WSU crew pushing hard, grew to about three boat lengths early on.

Going through “Old Man’s Nose,” about half way, WSU put in a massive push and clawed back some of the deficit.

However that was as good as it got for them as the lead that UFH had built up was more than WSU could close and UFH held on to win by a solid five boat lengths

A men's and women's B race was also meant to be battled out by the universities, but due to not having enough rowers a mixed race was held instead.

“We were hoping to have both a ladies and a men's B race but had people missing from both crews so in the end we threw everyone together and had mixed eights with people from both universities and both sexes, which turned out to be a fun race over 1km which the east bank crew won.”

rossr@dispatch.co.za

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