Weather conditions force cancellation of Torpids day two

The senior umpires said they "cannot remember conditions as bad as this"

Crews train on the Isis on a much calmer day (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Freezing temperatures and extreme conditions have caused the second day of Torpids to be cancelled.

Oxford University Rowing Clubs (OURCs) and its senior umpires made a unanimous decision to call off Thursday’s racing.

The decision also puts Friday and Saturday’s racing in doubt, with high winds, colder temperatures and more snow forecast across Oxford.

In an email seen by Cherwell, senior umpire David Locke said: “The weather forecast tomorrow [Thursday] has worsened considerably over the past day or so… with wind chill, we anticipate temperatures down to -10 [℃] or below.

“The speed of change of conditions today was astonishing. This makes it very difficult to predict what to do to mitigate conditions,” he said

“We are concerned that… any incidents that occur may be made too severe too quickly for our mitigation measures to be effective enough. The towpath is likely to be very difficult to keep safe tomorrow.”

In 2014, the whole of Torpids was cancelled after high levels of rainfall. Racing was rendered unsafe, and the Isis’ water level was deemed too high to move the houseboats moored on the river.

However, Locke and the senior umpires claimed that they “cannot remember conditions as bad as this for Torpids,” having run the regatta for 20 years between them.

“We all want to run racing, and we are making every effort to ensure that this is possible again on Friday and Saturday,” he said.

On the first day of Torpids, Oriel and Pembroke remained heads of the river in the women’s and men’s competitions respectively.

In the top women’s division, Oriel saw off the challenge of second-placed Wadham, while Pembroke’s men clung on despite heavy pressure from a strong Oriel crew.

Lower down the divisions, St Hugh’s M2 were the biggest losers of the first day: they fell ten places to footship after crashing into the bank.

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St Hilda’s M1, Exeter M1, St Edmund Hall M1, Magdalen W1, New College W1 and St Peter’s W1 were among the boats to move up two spots after a strong performance on the first day of racing.

Cambridge’s equivalent of Torpids, Lent Bumps, has also been affected by the adverse weather conditions: Wednesday’s racing was curtailed on account of high winds and freezing temperatures.

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