Norfolk Skiff Club members Dan Windham, Adrian Hodge and Bill Horncastle row Cherub near Pull's Ferry as they prepare to join a fleet of 19 traditional rowing boats which will take part in the annual Carrow Cup Race.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Historic boat race returns to Norwich

Thursday, December 13, 2012
6.30 AM

Boats from the Queen’s Jubilee Pageant are set to visit Norwich this weekend as rowers race along the city’s rivers in what is believed to be one of the oldest boat races in the world.

The 199th annual Carrow Cup Race will be held this Saturday.

The historic event, which was first held in 1813, will see dozens of rowers from across England don Christmas-themed fancy dress outfits as they race along the River Wensum and Yare from Pull’s Ferry to Broadland Boat Club.

Scullers, pairs and teams of four will be taking part in the race. The prize is a silver cup which was first awarded in 1823. As part of the invitation-only competition, hosted by Norwich Rowing Club, there will also be a fleet of 17 traditional rowing boats, some of which took part in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee flotilla on the River Thames in June.

Those boats include Bembridge, a four-oared Solent galley belonging to the Langstone Cutters Rowing Club in Hayling Island, near Portsmouth, and Cherub, a 120-year-old Thames skiff belonging to a member of the Norfolk Skiff Club.

Members of the public are invited to head to Norwich’s rivers to watch the morning of racing from 10am.

David Ashcroft, from Norwich Rowing Club, said: “It’s a very unusual race because it’s through the city centre – it’s a bit like the Monaco Grand Prix of rowing and is hugely demanding because it is so tight with all the bends.

“There are so many bridges where people can stand and watch which is very unusual. There will be rowers in fancy dress and we’ve got people who have recently learnt to row taking part for the first time.”

The traditional rowing boats will set off from 12.30pm and include teams from the south coast.

Adrian Hodge, 64, from North Elmham, near Dereham, who owns Cherub, said: “It will be interesting for people to see. Boat-racing through the city was a tradition in Norwich which has almost died out.”