Benedict Tufnell

World’s elite descend on Seattle for the 2018 Windermere Cup

by Benedict Tufnell

The Windermere Cup race sees the World’s fastest eights come together to race side-by-side over 2000m on the Montlake Cut in Seattle, Washington.

This Saturday men’s and women’s crews from the Dutch National Rowing Team, Oxford Brookes University, and the University of British Columbia along with hosts The University of Washington will be competing for the coveted prize.

… elite crews from all corners of the globe have accepted the invitation to Seattle, to take on the Huskies.

Now in it’s 32nd year the regatta takes place on the Washington Huskies’ home water. Hosted by the University of Washington and sponsors Windermere Real Estate, the event is held as part of Seattle’s opening day festivities; marking the start of the Seattle boating season.

This year’s regatta will include 23 races featuring athletes ages 14-70. More than 1000 rowers earn a spot to compete in this prestigious event, which culminates with the highly competitive women’s and men’s Windermere Cup races.

The event’s origins can be traced to a 1986 Seattle Times newspaper column by Blaine Newnham, who complained of a lack of high-level competition for Washington’s renowned rowing program.

A sponsor (John Jacobi, founder of Windermere Real Estate) stepped forward, and after much negotiation in 1987, men and women of the then Soviet Union were invited to race the Huskies in Seattle and so the world’s best rowers at the time came to compete in the inaugural Windermere Cup, the new centre piece of the city’s annual celebration of boating culture.

Since then, elite crews from all corners of the globe have accepted the invitation to Seattle, to take on the Huskies. Australia came in 1988, Italy in 1989 and China in 1990. Such was the quality of crews that came, it wasn’t until it’s fifth year that the hosts experienced their first men’s win against the then Czechoslovakia. The women won their first Cup in 1988 versus Australia.

VIDEO: Daily vlog from Oxford Brookes in Seattle for the 2018 Windermere Cup.

Oxford Brookes have headed to Seattle this year to race in the Windermere Cup for their first time, having established themselves as the strongest British university program currently. They will be the first British crew to participate since the Great Britain heavyweight men’s eight (the reigning world champions who would go onto win gold in Rio) won by just two seconds against Washington in 2014.

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