The Social Side

DCBC Pizza Night - Autumn Training Camp, 2021
DCBC Pizza Night – Autumn Training Camp, 2021

The social side of the DCBC ranges from post-training chilling at Spoons or the Boathouse, to Black Tie Boat Club Dinners after racing, and Pimm’s and Punting in May week. The Beauty of the Boat club is that there’s always something going on. If you have any questions about social at DCBC, please feel free to contact Max and Mireia, our Social Secretaries, at .


JER Dinner, 2021
June’s Eights Regatta Dinner, 2021

Every term, there is at least one formal dinner, held in the hall, exclusively for the Boat Club. These are always a great chance for everyone to relax with fantastic food and even better company.

In Michaelmas, we hold the Freshers’ Formal to get to know everyone at the start of term. All Fresher’s interested in trying out rowing are invited to this at a greatly subsidised price. Also at a subsidised price, a few weeks after the Fresher’s Formal, a Novice drinks event is held, allowing novices to get to know each other and the senior squad better.

The Senior Squad also have a University IVs dinner in late October, and at the end of term, Fairbairn’s dinner is held after racing the for both Novices and Seniors. Towards the end of Lent term, after four days of Lent Bumps, we have the Lent Bumps dinner.

Segreants Dinner, 2018

At the start of Easter Term, the Segreant’s dinner is held at the end of Segreant’s Day. Segreant’s day is an important day in the Boat Club calendar. Held in the sun of Easter Term, the college crews race the Head of the Cam in the morning, and then various alumni crews race in the afternoon. In the evening, everyone gathers for the Segreants dinner, celebrating the achievements of the Boat Club and thanking the Segreants for their continual support. The seating mixes up members old and new, so it’s a great chance to hear stories of the Boat Club from the past, and get to know some of our old members.

May Bumps Dinner, 2018
May Bumps Dinner, 2018

After exams, and at the end of the May Bumps, we have the May Bumps dinner. It’s the biggest dinner of them all, celebrating a year of rowing and the start of May Week.

Boat Club Social Societies

The Camenae, 2017

The Tribe and Camenae are the Men’s and Women’s Squad social societies respectively, and provide a large number of social events throughout the year. Lots of swaps are organised through these societies with other Boat Clubs. Swaps provide a way to people from other Boat Clubs, as well as getting to go out with members of your own wquad.

The Tribe, 2017

There are also a lot of informal meet-ups throughout the year, such as cocktails evenings, pub trips, and pizza nights.

Organised by the Tribe, a particular highlight of any rower’s calendar is the Tribal Barbecue, held during May week. This is the largest Garden Party in Cambridge and attracts over 1000 rowers, (and non-rowers!) coxes, and coaches from across the colleges. Expect an evening of Pimms, barbecue food, Ice cream, Doughnuts, boatie blazers, and the music of the Gypsy Kings. It’s definitely not to be missed! This event is followed by an after-party, organised by the Camenae.

The Tribal Chieftain in his blazer, photo by Nicholas Schulman.
The Tribal Chieftain in his blazer, 2014
The 2018 Tribe BBQ

Training Camp 

Every year, before the start of Lent Term, we run a winter training camp. In previous years, it has been in Seville and Banyoles and is generously subsidised by our alumni. After a training camp in Banyoles in 2019, last year’s training camp was in Cambridge, making the most of the Cambridge Rowing Tank. This year, the training camp is hopefully going to take place in Spain, but, if this is not possible due to the current state of the pandemic, we will be on the Cam, (more information to follow towards the end of Michaelmas term). Typically, the training camp in Banyoles takes place every two years. Please watch the video from the 2017 Training camp to Banyoles.

Winter Training Camp in Banyoles, 2019
Winter Training Camp in Banyoles, 2019

While it is obviously a great occasion to improve your rowing, the training camp brings the squad together. We always spend some time in mixed men’s and women’s crews, and make sure novices get the chance to row with seniors and really learn from them.

Aside from the organised events, many of our members find a lot of their closest friends within the club. Close bonds are made both within crews and within squads, and after spending a lot of time together on the water, we then choose to get together off it as well! In the madness of Cambridge life, having a community like the Boat Club to provide something different is really valuable.

On-the-Cam Training Camp, 2020
On-the-Cam Training Camp, 2020

This year, we’re looking forward to our 2022 Training Camp, (which we are hoping will again be in Spain!). More details on this will come out later in Michaelmas term. But, we are also having a Autumn Training Camp before the start of Michaelmas term! All current members of the boat club are invited, and we cannot wait for this week for training, as well as a lot of social time. Please get in touch with the Andreas, our current captain of boats, if you are interested, (you should’ve received an email to fill out a Google form – if you didn’t get an email, please get in touch with Joel, the current Communications Officer). This will be from the 26th September to the 2nd October – we can’t wait to get back to proper training on the Cam again!

For our next Autumn Training Camp in September 2022, we are also hoping to invite around 20 incoming students to Downing who are interested in rowing or coxing to the training camp. There will be more information on this next year! If you are interested in rowing or coxing at Downing College Boat Club, whether you have previous experience or not, this will be a great opportunity for you to come for an extra few days before your start to uni to get settled in and meet the various members of the boat club, as well as spend some days learning to row/cox! For anyone who comes, novice or senior, you will have to pay for an extra week of rent to use your college room. If you have any issues about this, please contact the captain of boats when you are informed about the event next year. For anyone who comes, it is not a binding contract that you must continue to row with us. Although we would love to invite those who are more than likely going to continue, if you find rowing/coxing isn’t for you, please don’t feel like you must. Alternatively, if you are interested in rowing/coxing, but aren’t able to come to the training camp, please don’t feel as if you have missed your opportunity to join the club! The training camp is by no means a requisite into joining our club – we usually have around 80 people who try out rowing in Michaelmas term, so you definitely won’t be alone, or feel as if you are behind those who do come, if you don’t come to the training camp! There will be many others in your shoes.

M3 - JER Dinner, 2021
M3 – JER Dinner, 2021
JER Dinner, 2021
JER Dinner, 2021

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