The SASRU Schools Boat Race takes place in response to the “Boat Race Challenge”
The SASRU BOAT RACE takes place on a suitable Saturday as close to the first weekend, as possible in December. This falls early in the school holidays of all provincial and independent schools – towards the middle of the South African rowing season when schools’ should be nearing the end of the endurance-training and strength-training part of the season, before the 2000m sprints season which culminates in the Schools’ Rowing Championships in March.
When the BOAT RACE started in 2000 there were ten South African schools that rowed eights. All but one of these participated in the inaugural BOAT RACE in Cape Town in 2000. The Girls race was introduced in 2001.
Entries are confined to each school’s First VIII and First Quad. Composite crews are not permitted, however Schools that do not normally row eights/quads are nevertheless invited to put together an eight/quad for the SA SCHOOLS BOAT RACE. The Challenge is an event for schools only.
As for the annual SA Universities Boat Race, the race takes the form of a head-race, to determine “pairings” (with the two fastest crews going to the A-Final; the next two to the B-Final etc). Once “pairings” have been determined, the Challenges are issued by the Captains and two-boat racing over the same course and distance determines the winner and final rankings.
The original idea was that the SA Schools Boat Race should be hosted in turn by the four main rowing provinces at a local provincial venue selected by the host province. However, after the first SA Schools Boat Race in Cape Town, the second in Port Alfred was so successful, that it is was believed the race should alternate between these two venues. Currently the BOAT RACE takes place at Port Alfred each year, this venue has become the traditional Boat Race venue since 2001.
Four magnificent Boat Race Floating Trophies have been provided: