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Sydney University Vice Chancellor, Dr Michael Spence christened the new Boat Club Eight in a ceremony in the Main Quad in the late afternoon of 3rd April. The new eight is an Empacher R86 mould and is named after Dr Spence’s late wife, Beth Spence. Beth, who was a keen rower, passed away after a short illness in December 2012 and the Boat Club felt that this was an appropriate way to remember Beth and to continue with the policy of naming our flagship boat in a way that shows clearly that we are representing our university.

The “Beth Spence” was delivered in late November 2013 and has already had success in four major races. In December 2013 the University eight won the Riverview Gold Cup in its first race – this was the sixth win in a row in this event for Sydney University.  In mid-February the “Beth Spence” was again in action in the Men’s Champion Eights of New South Wales, winning this event and making it the tenth year running that Sydney University has won this title.

The next major race for this boat was the U23 Men’s Eight Championship of Australia – Sydney University won by over 5 seconds making it three years in a row in this event. Two days later the boat was back in action again – this time being used by the New South Wales Eight in the King’s Cup – the men’s interstate eights championship. Six of the nine crew members were SUBC rowers – this time the crew notched up their seventh consecutive win and the fourth for the “Beth Spence”.

After a hectic few months this beautiful new eight is resting over winter and will be back in action most probably in The Australian Boat Race in October this year.

This boat replaces the “Gavin Brown”- an identical Empacher eight named after the university’s previous Vice Chancellor  – which has had a successful run as the club’s top boat from 2008 to 2013. The “Gavin Brown” will now be used for the U21 and U23 development squad.

Funds for this boat will come from the Boat Club Division of the University of Sydney Sports Foundation. This division is supported by donations from the alumni and friends of Sydney University Boat Club.

The club raises funds to purchase its equipment – if you would like to assist by making a donation please call Chris Noel (0410 406 790) or email



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