The Boat Race

Rowers will check wind speed and direction before taking to the water

The Boat Race is one of the oldest sporting events in the world and takes place between the Oxford and Cambridge University rowing teams. The race is watched by thousands of people who line the route, as well as an estimated 100 million global television audience.

This year's event takes place on Sunday 27 March when Oxford will be hoping to make it four wins in a row.

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27 March - Will 2016 be the year for Oxford or Cambridge? Check the London weather forecast.

The men's Boat Race was first held in 1829 and this year sees the 162nd running of the race which takes place on the 4.2 mile stretch of the River Thames between Putney and Mortlake. The reserves' and women's race will take place on the same afternoon.

The crews

The men's Boat Race is an annual race between the Oxford University 'Dark Blues' team and the Cambridge University 'Light Blues' team. Cambridge currently leads with 81 victories against Oxford's 79. The boats row side-by-side along the 6.8 km Championship Course on the River Thames between Putney and Mortlake. This has been the course for the men's race since 1864. The reserve race is held between Oxford's 'Isis' team and Cambridge's 'Goldie' team.

The course record is 16 minutes 19 seconds which was achieved by Cambridge in 1998. In 2003 Oxford won by just 1 foot and this remains the closest finish on the Championship Course.

The women's Boat Race was first held in 1927 and currently Cambridge leads with 41 victories to Oxford's 29. Last year was the first time the women raced on the same course as the men.

More than 250,000 people line the course to cheer on the rowing eights, while millions more watch it on the television. Two Boat Race in the Park events have also been set up in Bishop's Park, Fulham and Furnivall Gardens, Hammersmith for spectators to watch the whole event. Both locations are alongside the race's Tideway course, making for great spectator locations.

Check the official Boat Race website for up-to-date team information. 

The Boat Race and the weather

Extreme weather can have a serious affect on the race and the history of The Boat Race has seen six boats sink. If very strong winds and high tides coincide it can make for 'treacherous' conditions. In 1912 both boats filled with water and the race was stopped; in 1951 Oxford sank and the race was rescheduled two days later; in 1978 the Cambridge boat took on water and eventually sank. In 1984 Cambridge sank even before the race began but this was more to do with the fact that they hit a barge than anything to do with the weather!

Will the rowers and spectators be bathed in sunshine or will one of the teams take a dunk in the Thames? Check the London weather forecast to find out. You can check the weather forecast for other events through the events calendar.

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