Moore recalled that he turned down a chance to cox for Magdalen College: "If you win you get tossed in the water. If you lose you get beaten up at 3 a.m. by eight burly blokes."
The Classic unfolded under ominous clouds, pushed along by a stiff tail wind. Cal, coming off a second-place finish to Penn in the San Diego Crew Classic, was the favorite. Oxford was the second choice and host UCLA was the outsider.
In the boathouse locker room, the Dark Blue crew gazed in wonder at an exhortation chalked on a blackboard: This is your energy—your power. It flows from the center of your body and forms an envelope around the boat. You are one with the boat. There is nothing else but you/boat, so how could you not flow with everyone else, because they are part of you.
After a long pause, Macdonald said, "Hey now! A horrid piece of logic, that."
"Hey now!" seconded Philp. "What a load of rubbish."
At the race's start, Oxford's you/boat bolted to a two-seat lead. But Cal's shell overtook it at 600 meters and moved sharply away from the Brits. "Start the outboards, boys," shouted Topolski from atop the boathouse. The Bears had all the energy-power, though, and won by two lengths. UCLA, coming from seven seats back, caught Oxford by the width of a teabag at the finish.
Oxford's fans took the loss gracefully. "It's been so long since I've been humiliated, it's almost refreshing," said Moore. "I shall now retreat into a small hole with my Union Jack for a couple of years and think about life and crew, though not necessarily in that order."