The 29th of March was a big day for us. That is the day we finally returned to the river after our third enforced break in a year. During the latest period of restrictions, the coaches have been working the squads hard, maximising access to ergs (the Linacre maintenance van has been busy, sharing gym ergs out around the squads) and thinking up ever more fiendish ways to maintain fitness. The slight easing of the restrictions surrounding group gatherings has allowed the teams to train on land in small groups outdoors – among other things weekly coached erg-sessions on the rooftop of the boathouse overlooking the river.

We were very happy to find out that a bumps regatta has been planned for Trinity term – it will not be Summer Eights as we know it, but it will be bumps. Assuming the lockdown restrictions lift as planned, and the various safety authorities are happy, then bumps returns in 7th week. That is a two-week delay to give colleges a tiny bit more training, and it will run using both Torpids rules and the Torpids bumps charts – the idea being that Torpids rules are a tiny bit safer with only one boat having to drop out after a bump in the context of the limited training available to clubs this year. It is likely the divisions will be a bit smaller too, but since this is the first bumps since Eights 2019, it is definitely something we all very much looking forward to.

The squads are now working hard and we expect to enter at least two, but hopefully four, boats into bumps. The women’s top crew will be racing in the brand-new 8+ boat which had its first trip down the Isis just before the last lockdown. Both the men’s and women’s side have a good amount of rowers back in Oxford already and more are planning to return for Trinity term.

The event will be semi-closed – the University is asking spectators to stay away, but are hoping to set up a professional standard live stream instead. We will make sure to send you the link and hope that you will enjoy watching the racing wherever you are in the world. This does mean that our launch event and boat naming is delayed, yet again, but with the restrictions slowly lifting, we are looking forward to seeing you soon.

Overall, it has been a difficult year for the club but we are increasingly hopeful that we will be back on the river for good now. We have developed our training support a little, now benefiting from some additional ergs at the boathouse after an agreement was reached to share them and the club room with LMH and Trinity. Our boat fleet is in good health, our other equipment perhaps a little less so, but we have a keen membership base to rebuild the club to be larger and more successful in future years.

We look forward to sharing more upbeat newsletters filled with news of our actual rowing exploits over the next few terms.

Sarah Clifford (Boat Club President) and David Seale (Finance Bursar and Senior Member of LBC)