The Boat Race is always umpired by an "Old Blue". The individual races will alternate between an ex-Oxford an an ex-Cambridge Umpire each year. The Race Umpire is there to ensure safe and fair racing for the crews and are supported by a panel who assist with duties including aligning the crews at the start.
In 2021, the Men's Boat Race will be umpired by a female umpire for the first time. Sarah Winckless rowed for Cambridge in 1995, 1996 and 1997, winning all 3 times. She was CUWBC President for her final race in 1997. Sarah is a familiar face to rowers across the country having been a British Rowing Umpire for 9 years. In 2016, Sarah was the first female to umpire a race at Henley Royal Regatta.
For the Women's Race, Judith Packer will be in charge of the flags. Judith is also a familiar face on the National regatta circuit having been a British Rowing umpire since 2001. She progressed to become a World Rowing umpire in 2009 and has officiated at international regattas around the world since. Judith learned to row whilst studying Engineering at Oxford University.