In a season where almost every rowing race has been cancelled, the City of Cambridge Rowing Club (CCRC) celebrated the post-lockdown period with festive fun at its annual Christmas Head on Saturday 5 December.

Race organisers at CCRC put in place a host of measures to provide more than 500 competitors in some 120 crews with a safe opportunity to don their wackiest fancy dress and race down the river in an event that has been a Christmas season highlight in the Cambridge rowing calendar for decades.

City President Tony Nelder said: “We have worked very hard during lockdown with British Rowing, the Cambridgeshire Rowing Association and other Cambridge authorities to make this much-loved part of the rowing calendar safe and fun for all the athletes from ages 13 to 75, who have been desperate to get out on the river for weeks.”

Usually very popular with town supporters stood along stretch of river in front of the boathouses, this year’s race was moved to a course just outside the centre of town that runs from Plough Reach to just before Green Dragon footbridge to discourage clusters of onlookers.

The fastest crew on the day was City of Cambridge’s own men’s eight in a time of 6 minutes 52 seconds. Cantabrigian women fielded the fastest Women’s crew in a time of 7 minutes 32 seconds. Cambridge 99’s Will Young was the fastest sculler with City of Cambridge’s Jess Halliday was the fastest women’s sculler.

Cantabrigian Rowing Club won the best fancy dress prize while a double scull from Jesus College won the best corner round Ditton Corner prize.

The club was also been fortunate to partner with Droplet one of Cambridge’s technology companies to run the race entry system as they start to launch their club management app.

Claire: “Just been told by our Bursar that one of his friends had a daughter rowing in Saturday’s race, and the friend went to watch and burst into tears when her daughter’s crew went past, at the sight of something “normal” happening amongst all the grimness of a global pandemic.”