SYNOPSIS ON CAMBRIDGE ROWING – February 2015
1843 Town Rowing started
1892 CRA became a County Organisation and called the Cambridgeshire Rowing Association
1926 Town Bumps recorded a crowd of 4,000 – in those days umpires followed the crews on horseback, a health and Safety nightmare today!
1971 Town Bumps had 31 entries of which 6 were college crews and of course in those days it was a male preserve.
2015 This year the Town Bumps had a record entry of 105 crews (City of Cambridge entered 28 alone).
There are now 20 clubs affiliated to the CRA and the colleges are no longer accepted.
Two delegates from each club attend regular CRA meetings to handle local rowing affairs.
Of course with so many crews in the Association coupled with the large CUCBC contingent events solely for local rowers/scullers are a held regularly.
A number of events are however also included within the British Rowing calendar.
All CRA events whether open or closed are run in accordance with British Rowing rules of racing and follow BR safety guide lines. Local BR registered umpires also employed.
I maintain a comprehensive radio communication and safety kit which is used at all events (radios on our own licensed frequencies), loudhailers, throw lines, exposure blankets, fluorescent tabards, stop watches and bank starting numbers.
The river is often heavily congested, particularly in term time and Colleges have to operate to strict time table slots for training outings and marshals are in place as early as 6am to ensure college crews comply.
At weekends they are not allowed to row before 11am which is reserved for town clubs only.
All CRA clubs are very active and many concentrate on bringing on juniors, often from local schools. Apart from the Cantabs who have always had an association with Hills Road Sixth Form College and the Leys School there are no established school rowing clubs in Cambridge.
There is a serious shortage of racking space on the Cam.
The Cantabs are replacing their original boathouse and the CRA in conjunction with the Combined Colleges have planning permission to build a new boathouse at Logan's Way which will compliment the present CRA boathouse. The new boathouse is being developed in partnership with Camrowers recreational club. I believe the City of Cambridge have plans to replace their present boathouse.
During the rebuilding of the Combined College boathouse followed by the construction of the CRA boathouse the ground beside the present building in Logan's Way will not be available for visiting clubs for around 2 years.
Living with other river users has its problems and regular meetings take place.
A number of local rowers are observers of the quarterly Cam Conservators meetings.
Meetings are held between the CUCBC, CRA and Cam Conservators.
The Cam River Users Group comprises representatives from all river users and riparian owners and also Animal Activists. Main problem is the spring and protection of young ducks and swans . There are now over 40 swans on the river with numbers rising rapidly which could become a problem in the future local animal rights activists have to be passivated.
The aggressive swan known locally as Asbo was moved to a new location in the south of England two years ago.
The river has been controlled by the Conservators of the River Cam for over 300 years.
The registration fee for an eight is over £60 and each participant of any local event is charge 40p
Their new River Manager has bought along with him a wealth of experience in river management and has proved a valuable asset to the rowing and river users in general.
I hope this has given a useful background and perhaps sorted out a few myths.
President, Cambridgeshire Association