Brew and crew
Annual beer-fueled boat race set for 29 April.
Aarhus University’s annual boat race, Kapsejladsen, will be held this year on 29 April in the University Park.
Originally a spoof on the annual boat race between Oxford and Cambridge, Kapsejladsen – which translates to “competition voyage” in English – was conceived in 1990 when the medical school and dental school set sail on the lake in inflatable rafts.
Since then, however, it has evolved into the biggest event at AU. Henrik Hansen, a med student and organiser of Kapsejladsen, estimates that there were 17,000 people in attendance last year – that’s more than half the student body.
“The faculties, they call ahead and ask, ‘What’s the date, because we don’t want to have any exams,’” Hansen says. “They know that if they have classes that day, no one will show up.”
Along with the caveat that the boats must be inflatable, there are a few other nuances that would prevent anyone from mistaking Kapsejladsen with the Oxford-Cambridge affair.
Between each lap across the lake, the rower must leap out of the boat, sprint a few metres up the hill and, under the watchful eye of an official, chug a beer. After downing the beer – the foam must be below the label or a penalty beer will be enforced – the rower must then spin in circles, charge back down the hill and leap into the boat.
Every team has five members, and the first team to have all five row, drink, spin and row back wins the grand prize: Det Gyldne Bækken (“The Golden Bedpan”).
And hoisting the bedpan is no small feat.
“It was by far the best sports accomplishment that I’ve achieved in my whole life,” says Victoria Gunmalm, a competitive basketball player from Sweden who was on the winning medical school team last year. “This beat it all.”
The medical school has won nine of the 11 races since 2000. Economics won in 2009.