In what was initially misconstrued as a joke, Oxford Women’s Blue boat sunk their boat during a training session on Wednesday and had to be saved by the RNLI. Thankfully the crew were unharmed.
OUWBC will be racing on the Tideway for the first time in just over a week in a ground breaking step forward for women’s sport. The crew was announced two weeks ago alongside the men’s crews at a weigh-in event at the Royal Academy with Claire Balding. The crew was out for a routine training session when their boat took on too much water due to strong winds and was forced to stop. Fortunately the RNLI were on hand to save the day.
An RNLI spokesman said, “While passing through Putney on exercise the crew of the Chiswick RNLI Lifeboat noticed some unusual manoeuvrings on the water just beyond Fulham railway bridge. A few moments later they noticed that an eight had swamped and the coaches were in the process of removing athletes to a nearby barge.”
The accident could not have happened at a less convenient time, with all eyes on the women’s crew. Oxford had initially been seen as firm favourites for the race but the sinking may have up-ended preparations.
Christine Wilson, Chief Coach of the Oxford Women’s crew, said, “The Tideway can be tempestuous, fickle and a challenge for the most experienced navigators, which is why we regard the river as the other competitor in The Boat Race.
“I am pleased to confirm that all of the OUWBC athletes are safe and well, and that the whole situation was managed calmly, safely and competently. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my thanks to the Chiswick RNLI for their assistance and to say that we are 100% focused on our remaining preparations ahead of 11th April.”
Cherwell will be producing live coverage of the boat race on the 11th, as well as live coverage of the Henley Boat Races this Sunday the 5th of April.