An annual tradition, Trial Eights provides some of the most thrilling racing of the season.

It’s a dress rehearsal for the rowers, coxes, coaches and umpires and is the only time during a Boat Race season that the clubs will race the complete Championship Course from Putney to Mortlake.

December 13th – Cambridge Trial Eights

Head Coaches Paddy Ryan (Women) and Rob Baker (Men) will pitch their two crews against one another on Wednesday 13th December.

Live streaming will start approximately 11:50am on 13th December 2023.

  • Women’s Race – 12:10
  • Men’s Race – 13:10

Browse the full crew lists here

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Cambridge Men's Squads 'Youth' and 'Experience' raft up together after Trial Eights on 12 December 2022

December 15th – Oxford Trial Eights

Head Coaches Allan French (Women) and Sean Bowden (Men) will unleash their squads on themselves on the 15th December 2023.

Live streaming will start approximately 13:00 on 15th December 2023.

  • Women’s Race – 13:20
  • Men’s Race – 14:30

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Oxford Women's Crew cool off after Trial Eights 11 December 2022

How does it work?

Each coach takes the top 16 rowers and top 2 coxes and splits them into two evenly matched crews who will then race one another.

For about a week before the race they’ll train and bond as a crew with laser focus on beating the other crew in a bid to earn the all important bragging rights for the rest of the season.

What’s the point of a club racing itself?

There are lots of benefits to the coach in seeing how well the athletes bond and contribute to building a strong team and in particular how well the coxes cope with the pressure of an official Boat Race Umpire judging their steering.

And for the viewer, it’s some of the tightest racing action you’ll see all year because the coaches have gone out of their way to match the crews (sometimes swapping athletes the days before if one crew starts going faster than the other).

Where can I watch?

If you’re in London, then the best place to watch is in Putney. London Rowing Club, Putney will be playing host to spectators looking for a fantastic vantage point on the balcony overlooking the start as well as a warm fire, refreshments and a big screen with the live stream.

Yep, that’s right, there’s also a live stream of the action that can be watched free from anywhere in the world.