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Fun, frolics and fancy dress on the river at popular Cambridge Head Race

Christmas Head rowing races on the Cam. Picture: Keith Heppell. (5872972)
Christmas Head rowing races on the Cam. Picture: Keith Heppell. (5872972)

With almost 200 crews taking to the River Cam, most of whom were in fancy dress, the annual Christmas Head Race was a sight to behold.

Taking place on Saturday, December 8, this light-hearted event - organised by the City of Cambridge Rowing Club - sees crews race from the former Penny Ferry pub down to the Goldie Boat House in Cambridge.

Racers are encouraged to get into the festive spirit by racing in unusual fancy dress, with a prize awarded for the best attired boat. Spectators and house boat owners lined the course to cheer along the various crews as they came down the River Cam.

More than 1,000 participants were involved racing in three divisions throughout the day, from single scullers to boats of eight rowers.

The fastest crew on the day was the men’s crew from Downing College, who completed the course in 6 minutes 44 seconds. City of Cambridge Rowing Club women’s coxed four put in a very strong performance to claim victory as the fastest 4+ by a convincing margin of over 32 seconds.

The crew was coxed by Colm Murphy, who steered tight lines around Green Dragon saving valuable seconds.

Commenting women’s captain and stroke of the crew, Sarah Large, said: “Our women’s squad is growing in strength and depth as we continue our preparations for next years women’s head of the river.”

City’s Men were also able to win the coxed four category, as well as the masters men’s eight category. For the master’s crew this was their second win in a row.

The fastest women’s eight was the Cantabs J18 girls crew and the fastest women’s masters eight was from X-Press Boat Club. A special prize was awarded to the team that steered the best line under the Green Dragon footbridge, with Cantabs Junior quad collecting the honour.

Christmas Head rowing races on the Cam. Picture: Keith Heppell. (5872937)
Christmas Head rowing races on the Cam. Picture: Keith Heppell. (5872937)

Cantabs men's crew won best fancy dress fielding a crew of eight stormtroopers ably coxed by none other than Darth Vader.

Honourable mentions went to crews appearing as Vikings, YMCA and a Hugh’s Hall crew who raced only in swimming hats and trunks despite the chilly December weather.

Other teams hitting the water included those dressed as pineapples, Christmas puddings and pigs in blankets. The club’s next event is the Winter Head to Head on January 26, 2019.

Full results from the day can be viewed at rowclock.com/Results/Time?raceId=54&scrolling=False.


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