Trial VIIIs are set for Sunday 11 December and Monday 12 December

They were first staged in 1859. These annual intra-club events are now a core part of The Boat Race season.

How Can I Watch Them?

You can watch all the action live on our YouTube Channel. Timetables are provisional and subject to change.

It’s just seat racing isn’t it?…

Not quite! Trial VIIIs are designed to test athletes and coxes.

The races will take place over the Championship Course. They are held on the same Tide as The Boat Race in March. These squad races are the only opportunity that Boat Race athletes have to race the full course under the watchful gaze of the official race umpires

In the weeks leading up to the race the coaches will have split the squads in two, with the aim of building evenly matched crews.

Why should I watch?

Trial VIIIs offer the coaches an opportunity to see how athletes perform side-by-side. If the crews are truly well matched, they will be travelling at similar speeds. These conditions create close, gripping races. Coxes will be under pressure to give their crew the winning edge.

Ultimately, Trial VIIIs offer athletes a chance to demonstrate how well they can perform under pressure. This weekend’s results will go a long way towards deciding the crews that will represent Oxford and Cambridge in the Blue Boats and Reserve Races on 26 March 2023.

Any thing else I should know?

Another feature of Trial VIIIs is the names given to the crews. Athletes select names for the crews, often drawing on key moments in history, or team dynamics.

Recent names have included Hurley v. Burly (Oxford Men 2019), Mr Sleepy v Burpees (Cambridge Men 2021), and Speed v Style (Oxford Women, 2022 Campaign)

How do I find out who is racing?

Crew lists and names will be issued on Thursday 9 December and are subject to change.

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