St Andrew’s College looks forward to welcoming rowers, coaches, parents and supporters to the 16th South African Schools’ Boat Race in Port Alfred on 4 and 5 December 2015. The Standard Bank South African Schools’ Boat Race is one of the most prestigious events on the rowing calendar and takes place in response to the the Boat Race Challenge:
“That once each year, the gentlemanly pride of each of South African’s leading schools convene at an agreed venue in a trial of strength and wits, to participate in a race for eight-oared boats over a distance of six-and-one-third kilometres” or “That once each year representative ladies from South Africa’s leading schools convene at an agreed venue in a trial of strength and wits, to participate in a Quadruple Sculls race over a distance of four-and-one half kilometres.”
The Boat Race is seen as the most gruelling rowing event in South Africa. The format of the race is modelled on the Oxford/Cambridge Boat Race where a time trail heads race takes place on the Friday afternoon and on the Saturday the finals are raced side-by-side as crews are then paired off based on the times achieved on the Friday. The tital and serpentive Kowie River provides for a unique and exciting racing experience as crews deal with varying weather conditions and rising and subsiding sandbanks as they battle it out for the shortest possible line to the finish at the Port Alfred River Ski Boat Club.
Entries are limited to each school’s Junior Men’s’ First VIII and Junior Women’s First Quad. This year there are 23 schools competing for the four magnificent Boat Race Floating Trophies which are awarded to the winning school’s VIII and Quad and runners up.
The South African Schools’ Boat Race started in 2000 at Misverstandt Dam in the Cape, when only 10 schools participated. It was originally decided that the Schools’ Boat Race would be hosted by the four main rowing provinces, however the event on the Kowie River in 2001 proved so successful that the South African Schools Rowing Union decided to continue to hold the regatta in Port Alfred.