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I may have mentioned this on here before, but the name comes from the May Bumps in Cambridge - a series of races in June. Unlike a regatta, crews start rowing from ranked staging points, so each college is chasing another. If you catch up to the crew in front of you, you 'bump' them. Then, in the next race you switch positions. You can also be bumped by the crew chasing you (meaning you slip down a rank), or 'row over' meaning you row the entire course without being bumped (no position change).

The bumps chart was invented as a way of keeping track of which crew was to start at which staging point (i.e. who had bumped who in the last race). The original one (as far as I know) is hanging in the Cambridge University Student Union Society building.

Here's a video of the race: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKOGzRrEzc8


Jegar: Thanks for the note. Yes, I first came across this chart while at Cambridge. In the early days of this blog, I did a series of posts about it: here, here, and here.

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