Watch Australia’s greatest aquatic rivalry duke it out in Sydney

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Prepare for Sydney’s Running Festival at The Macleay Hotel
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Men rowing down the Sydney Harbour passing The Macleay Hotel

Learn all about the incredible sport that is rowing.


Heads up!

If you hear this and don’t duck fast enough at the Australian Boat Race, you could be knocked in the noggin by an oncoming racing boat being carried down to the docks. And trust us, a bump like that could send you back to your room at The Macleay Hotel. While that does sound cosy, you don’t want to miss out on all the racing fun!

So let’s reiterate, if you hear ‘heads up!’, duck and move out of the way so you can enjoy one of Australia’s biggest rivalries on the water. The Australian Boat Race has two of the country’s biggest universities – Sydney and Melbourne – duking it out in front of hundreds of spectators. Let’s learn some more about the sport and the history of this event.

A bit about rowing

Rowing is an underrated sport that many don’t know too many specifics about, so before we get into the race itself, let’s spend a moment to explain how the sport works. There are several types of boats that accommodate different crew sizes. They range from singles, to doubles, up to fours and eights. There are various race lengths as well, and depending on the season they’re done by time or head to head. The latter is typically the more exciting race and it just so happens to be the race you get to watch! Cheer on as eight of the strongest rowers in the South Pacific take to their oars.

Here’s a rowing myth that needs to be debunked: Rowing is not all upper body strength. Seats in the boat are on tracks, and rowers use their legs to pull themselves up to the top, where they will then square the oar’s blade perpendicular to the water, drop it in and pull back to finish the stroke. Now you know why the next subhead is clever.

The pain is real. New snaps of #ausboatrace found. Tell ya mates. #sydneyuni #melbourneuni @rowingperks

A photo posted by Australian Boat Race (@australian_boatrace) on

Sunday October 23: Be there oar be squared

The race alternates home courses between the Yarra River and Sydney Harbour. This year, on Sunday October 23, the race will be held on Sydney’s home turf, right in the harbour – 4.2 kilometres of head to head battling.     

The rivalry was born in 1860 when the two universities first competed on the Yarra River – that’s 150 years of competition! Over the years, however, both teams have produced incredibly successful athletes both on and off the water.

The Australian Boat Race was formalised only just in 2010, however it was raced at 6.9 km. The next year it was shortened to the length it is today, 4.2 km.

While you might be able to catch the race from your harbour facing room at The Macleay, step out of your suite, if only for this race. You won’t be disappointed. Instead, you’ll be engulfed by an immense spirit of an old rivalry between two cities and universities.

Winners are grinners @melbunisport #ausboatrace

A photo posted by Australian Boat Race (@australian_boatrace) on

The Australian Boat Race standings 

The men race for the coveted Edmund Barton Trophy, and the women for the Bella Guerin Trophy. As of right now, The University of Melbourne’s men’s team holds one win, whereas their women’s team goes undefeated against The University of Sydney’s females. Sydney’s men’s team however is nearly, but not quite undefeated with five wins.

You know what that means: These teams are out for victory. One doesn’t want to lose their reign while the other wants nothing more than to dethrone them, so you’re in for a real treat.

If you haven’t scheduled your stay, book a room today so you can get in on all the action! If you don’t have an affiliation with either team, perhaps it’s safer to go with Sydney given your location. And don’t forget, heads up!