Thursday, 31 March 2011

Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race 2011

On a not so sunny spring Saturday morning, I went to the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. As Hackett is the official supplier of clothing to the Boat Race and sponsor of the London Rowing Club, the captain of the 155 year old club Steve O’Connor very generously gave over their historic dining room for us to entertain our guests. The room was decorated in typical club style, with panelled walls and mahogany cabinets overflowing with cups and trophies from past victories.

There were rowing paintings dating from the Victorian age through to the 1930s, and portraits of long-gone members kitted out in London Rowing Club blazers, with navy and white striped lapels and matching rowing caps (former World Champion racing driver Graham Hill was a member and painted the colours of the club on his racing helmet, as did his son Damon), combined with navy and white horizontal striped knitted ties much the same as the members wear today - and in fact quite similar to a range of ties we stock in our shops.

French doors opened onto a balcony and gave us a commanding view of the race. We really had the best seats in the house and it gave me the opportunity to shoot pictures from a vantage point with a different perspective. Thrilling as the Boat Race is, once the teams had passed by the boat house my interest turned to the crowd - and what a motley crew it was, made up mostly of people wearing outerwear jackets and jeans, though I did manage to photograph a few guys that captured the spirit of the day.  

Dan Pring, along with his spaniel Benji, looked the part, while the guy in jacket, tie, rolled-up trousers, boat shoes and sunglasses looked a little bit ‘mod’, with (like an actor out of a sixties French movie) a girl alongside him dressed in similar fashion. The chap in the pink shirt, cream trousers, suede shoes and carrying a boating blazer looked as if he had stepped straight out of Hackett, and the group of boys in cricket sweaters all appeared as if they had been given the day off from their boarding school to watch the race.

At the end of an arduous day of entertaining, I strolled down the waterfront and despite having enjoyed a jolly good lunch, I couldn’t resist buying a home made cupcake decorated with the RNLI logo from a stall - I hope my purchase went to the cause.

By the way, Oxford won.

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