We have titled this article ‘Oxford Blues’ for a number of reasons: If you race for Oxford you get a ‘Blue’ and the first boats are called ‘Blue Boats’ the reserve boats get a ‘Half Blue’. Kavia had our 2K Bow Ball coloured strengthened core matched to the Oxford Blue, Pantone 282 to be precise. But Kavia has the blues because right at the end we didn’t get our product onto the blue boats racing on Sunday 31st March, Iain Hill from Kavia went to Putney in London and the Westminster School Boathouse on Wednesday 27th to fit the bow ball with the OUBC Boatman.
What we found when we removed the existing bow ball (that was already degrading) revealed two fixing holes that would remain exposed with the new Kavia 2k bow ball fitted. Additionally the new Empacher 2012/13 (the distinctly yellow rowing race boats manufactured in Germany) bow profile has significantly changed. We tried a few work arounds but in the end the boatman was not happy with the fitting. Kavia are very disappointed at this late stage not to get on the race boats but certainly haven’t given up on our promise to supply the complete Oxford squad fleet of boats so have plans to go to Oxford and fit our bow balls there where we will have better resources to fit and adapt the boats.
The challenge we face is there are a number of boat manufactures around the world with all different bow profiles that we have to accommodate in the one design. There are probably less than 3 in the world that are continuously developing their hull and bow profiles and these tend to be the companies selling into the international racing markets. We also have a fleet order for Leander Boat Club to fulfil so now our focus is get into production and ready for summer regatta sales as this is the time when Umpires are inspecting bow balls before crews boat to race.
Finally, congratulations to the Oxford crews that raced on the 24th March (Women’s 1st & reserve, Women’s and Men’s Lightweights) and on 31st March Men’s 1st and Reserves making a clean sweep of 6 wins. The Boat Race itself was an excellent display of close racing for the full length of the course with Cambridge finishing within 1½ lengths of Oxford displaying tremendous endurance. Link to BBC summary 3 minute video here.