Today marked the most stylish race of the year: the University of Cambridge Cardboard Boat Race. Having spent months locked in the library, students aren’t quite sure what to do with themselves once exams are over. Whilst some gingerly tiptoe back into the real world, and a minority head back to the library having developed ARDS (Acquired Revisionary Deficiency Syndrome), thousands gather to race in and watch the spectacle that is the cardboard boat race.
The rules are simple: you must build a boat using nothing more than cardboard, duct tape, and water-soluble PVA… these unorthodox vessels are then raced down the river Cam.
With more confidence than duct tape, we began strapping cardboard boxes together half an hour before the race was due to kick off. Meanwhile the competitors kept arriving, showboating their unsinkable ships to the torrents of crowds that were gathering… there was a giant 12-man shark vessel, a delicately decorated swan boat, and even a floating human hamster wheel. Were we phased? Pfhah!
The race began at 2pm. For some, the sea is in their blood… for Ross and I, sailing a calamitously top-heavy boat, the river was soon in our stomachs. Having heard stories about Weil’s disease and flesh eating bacteria, we were aware that the Cam wasn’t the cleanest river in the world… still, we were in a race, and we were British, damn it!
We continued to splash wildly, sprawled across our upturned boat… but with no scuba equipment, we were forced to withdraw from the race as our boat went submarine.
… maybe next year…