The Autumn Fours Rowing Races - Oxford Rowing Races

Visiting Oxford > Things to Do > Sports & Events

The Autumn Fours Rowing Races

The Autumn Fours Rowing Races is a side-by-side coxed rowing regatta that takes place in Oxford during the autumn (typically,  October or November). Because of availability, the regatta can also run as a knockout, as a round robin, or without repechage. Let me tell you more about them!

The Autumn Fours Rowing Races not only kick off the rowing season in Oxford but also serve as a testament to the rich tradition and history of rowing within the university. As one of the oldest and most prestigious rowing events in the collegiate calendar, the Autumn Fours embody the spirit of competition, teamwork, and sportsmanship that defines the sport of rowing.

The Autumn Fours is a series of rowing races involving coxless boats. Here’s a clarification based on the typical structure of these events:

  • Men’s coxed fours and Women’s coxed fours: These races involve boats with four rowers and a coxswain. The coxswain is responsible for steering the boat and coordinating the power and rhythm of the rowers.
  • Coxless fours [NOT a part of the Autumn Fours]: These races involve boats with four rowers but no coxswain. The rowers themselves are responsible for steering the boat, typically through the use of foot-operated steering mechanisms.

Do you want to learn everything there’s to know about rowing in Oxford? Check out this comprehensive guide.

What Are the Oxford Autumn Fours?

The Autumn Fours is a side-by-side regatta or rowing race. It runs upstream of Longbridges to the Cox Stone, and there are two groups: Men’s coxed fours and Women’s coxed fours

The Autumn Fours Rowing Races in Oxford are a beloved tradition that marks the beginning of the rowing season for many college crews affiliated with the University of Oxford. Held annually in early autumn, typically in October, this event attracts rowers, coaches, and spectators alike, all eager to witness the excitement and competition on the River Thames.

How Do the Autumn Fours Work?

The Autumn Fours consist of a series of rowing races between college crews, competing in fours. These races serve as an important opportunity for teams to gauge their early season form, as well as to identify talent and potential for the upcoming rowing year. For many rowers, it’s also a chance to showcase their skills and teamwork, setting the stage for the competitive rowing season ahead.

The races take place on a stretch of the River Thames known as the Isis, which runs through Oxford. The course typically starts near Donnington Bridge and finishes near the University College boathouse, covering a distance of approximately 1.2 kilometers (or 3/4 of a mile). The relatively short distance of the course, combined with the narrowness of the river, makes for intense and fast-paced racing, with crews vying for every inch of advantage.

How Can You Join the Autumn Fours?

Yes! Participation in the Autumn Fours is open to all college boat clubs affiliated with the University of Oxford, regardless of skill level or experience. This inclusivity fosters a sense of camaraderie and community within the Oxford rowing scene, as novices and seasoned rowers alike come together to celebrate their shared passion for the sport.

To join the Autumn Fours, you will need to make your entry online using the OURC system. Entries close by midday on the last Tuesday before the rowing event takes place. 

Spectators line the banks of the river, too, cheering on their respective college crews as they battle it out on the water. The atmosphere is lively and festive, with the sound of cheering and the sight of brightly colored rowing blades slicing through the water creating an electrifying ambiance.

Oxford Hotels: The Old Parsonage Hotel. How and When to Visit.

The Old Parsonage Hotel

The Old Parsonage Hotel is one of the best-ranked hotels in the city and dates back to the 17th century. Here’s how to visit.

Oxford Hotels: The Randolph Hotel. How to Visit, When to Stay

The Randolph Hotel

The Randolph Hotel, situated in the heart of Oxford, stands as a distinguished landmark of the city, attracting guests from around the world.

Oxford Museums & Art Galleries

Antiques on High - Oxford Museums, Art Galleries and Antiques Shops

Antiques on High

Antiques on High is an antiques and art shop from Oxford founded in 1997 and open seven days a week. It has won several awards.

Aidan Meller Gallery - Oxford Museums and Art Galleries

Aidan Meller Gallery

Aidan Meller Gallery is one of Oxford’s longest-established specialist art galleries. They showcase modern, contemporary and old masters.

Oxford Parks & Meadows

Punting on the Isis (River Thames) at Oxford.

The Isis (River Thames, Oxford)

The Isis is the name given to the part of the River Thames that flows through the city of Oxford, England. Here’s everything about it.

Shotover Country Park in Oxford

Shotover Country Park

Brasenose Wood is a woodland park featuring quiet walking paths and diverse flora. It’s also part of a larger nature reserve in Oxford.

Crocodiles of the World: The UK's Only Crocodile Zoo

Crocodiles of the World

Crocodiles of the World is a unique and fascinating attraction located in Oxfordshire and dedicated to crocodiles and their relatives.