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Vancouver Oxford & Cambridge Society - 5th Annual 2015 Boat Race Breakfast

While the Vancouver Oxford & Cambridge Society (VOCS) held the first recorded Boat Race Dinner in North America in 1929, it was not until 2011 that, based on the example of the Portland, Oregon equivalent society, VOCS held its first Boat Race Breakfast (BRB). 

The first BRB has become somewhat legendary as it started at 6am due to when the tide was right on the Thames, a continent and an ocean away. It was held in a local pub with a television feed to the Boat Race and the audience, driven by strong coffee, eggs, bacon, sausage, fried potatoes, fried tomato and toast,(as well as some moderate dark/light blue competitive spirit), was enthusiastic if not numerous.

Subsequently, the tide on the Thames has been more cooperative for West Coasters with 8.30am to 9am being the usual time to roll into the pub to order the “full English breakfast” and wait for the race.

Memorable was the race in which a deranged Australian with now established LSE connections almost did mortal damage to himself and others by trying to join the race without a boat. Presciently, a BRB attendee muttered, “Probably LSE”. 

Numbers in attendance at BRBs have progressively risen. This year’s fifth BRB was held in a larger pub and attracted a record crowd of 55 alumni and guests, some wearing the rag-tag ends of long-treasured college or university kit.  The splendid dark blue victories were greeted with short, well-mannered applause from all. 

A blimpish light blue alumnus was heard to mutter, “There is something wrong with our ****** boats today”.  All very well for him to misquote Admiral Beatty, no one has seen him half-naked and bare-foot in freezing drizzle by the Cam at dawn lately.

In Vancouver, we hope for a tide on the Thames for the return race in 2016 that does not require a 5am alarm.

Tony Knox - President, Vancouver Oxford & Cambridge Society