Friday, March 12th, 2004

The Diamond 44 Celebrations

A re-enactment to celebrate the Oxford and Cambridge boat race that took place on the Great River Ouse at Ely in 1944

Consuta was umpire boat for the 2004 celebrations

Web Link for details of the Diamond44

Consuta was taken to Ely by road on 25th February and launched - first outing this year. On Wednesday 25th we ran some tests to check out performance, something not possible on the Thames. Speed during our test was over 17mph with the engine running at 600 rpm, the boiler was steaming well with some good Welsh coal. We probably could have gone faster, but this wasn't really necessary.

On Friday we ran Consuta down the course for the event committee to check that we were capable of boat race speeds and for filming. Some people had doubted whether Consuta could keep up with racing eights. The course was reported as 1.8 miles long, Consuta ran the course taking 6 minutes 18 seconds, perhaps it wasn't 1.8 miles long! The initial acceleration was a bit too fierce, the exhaust blast lifted some coals off the fire, this gave fireman Mark Smith extra work to get the fire back into shape during the dash. We were told no problem with performance and that we would not have to run as fast as this to follow a race!

Saturday 28th was race day. There were a total of 7 races, Consuta carried the umpire for three races. The last race was the historic re-enactment between Oxford and Cambridge, boats crewed by senior oarsmen. The course was downwind and the river was quite rough at times. Weather was very cold with a strong Northerly wind and the occasional snow shower, despite conditions there were big crowds.


Consuta following the Oxford v Cambridge seniors race near the finish.

Oxford in frame, Cambridge off to the right won by about 3 lengths.

Shot taken by Alan Douglas at the end of the Navy v Army race during a snow shower.

More pictures on our picture page

Consuta is now back on the River Thames

If you would like to be involved with our historic project please contact Brian Smith Volunteers are always needed to help maintain and run Consuta. Why not give me a call on 01488 658795

For lots more about other steam launches see The Steam Boats Association of GB