Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team Saturday results
It's the Vancouver Taiwanese Dragon Boat Races, on a beautiful sunny
labour day weekend. There are 36 teams jockeying for bragging
rights. They each have to race 5 races over 2 days, before they
are able to claim a medal on the podium.
There is a team from Chilliwack, and Salmon Arm. There is a team
from Calgary, Alberta. There is even a team from the Phillipines
– the Phillipine Youth Rowing Society. Yes, our friends that we
hosted at the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival have returned to dragon boat
again in Canada.
But how did Gung Haggis do today?
I am steering the team, this also allows me to watch the team's
performance during the race. If I am paddling, I really want to
keep my eyes on our lead strokes, and give the best strokes that I can
paddle. My girlfriend Deb is drumming for the team. She
constantly monitors the teams rate and performance, giving them
encouragement and direction. Ernest is captain for our team's
entry at this race. He is doing a good job keeping the team in
order and providing leadership and guidance.
Our first race was in Race 5 (aprox 11am) in a teak boat. We
raced our friends Saints Preserve Us, and Fort Langley Canoe
Club. It was an exciting race, as both Scotiabank 2 and Just
Dragon Along pulled ahead of us. But we were leading the rest of
the field, at least that's how it looked. Sometimes paddlers get
discouraged when they can see other boats get ahead and leave you
behind. I yelled to the team “We're in third” keep going.
It was tight all the way to the end. Naruwan beat us by 1.6
seconds for 3rd place. And we beat Saints Preserve us for 4th
place by .10 seconds. Ft. Langley came 6th,
Our 2nd race of the day was race 14 (aprox 2:15) in a Tawiwanese Flag
pulling boat. We got off to a good start. I was surprised
by how even most of the boats were for an early preliminary race.
We were solidly in 4th place, not too far behind the front 3. We
were in lane 2, with boat 1 close behind us. I could see their
dragon boat head creeping up beside me. Our drummer Deb, called a
power piece, and 18 paddles moved as one, deep stroke. “Use your
legs,” I yelled. “Kick it!” I screamed. And boat 1 was
farther behind us.
Deb called our third power piece, and Ashleigh rose from her crouching
position behind the dragon head. She had practiced climbing onto
the head in practice on Tuesday evening, but now she was going to grab
the flag for real. She pulled herself up onto the dragon boat
head, and locked her legs into place. I steered the boat straight
for flag 2, aiming so that the boat would be left of the flag, so that
Ashleigh could grab it with her right hand. We got closer, and
Ashleigh pulled herself farther up on the head, and reached out her
hand. The boat bounced a bit on the water, and we went straight
for the flag. Ashleigh grabbed the flag, and our boat went over
the flag pole.
“Finish!” yelled Deb, and the boat surged forward for the final 10
metres to the finish line. “Let it ride,” I called, after we
crossed over the line. Ashleigh waved the colourful flag in the
air before climbing off the head. I asked her how it was.
“It was easy, you steered right to it!” she happily exclaimed. We
were the 4th boat to cross the finish line, but we actually came in 3rd
because another boat missed their flag, and had to go back for
it. This was our best race of the day.
Our third race of the day was in a teak boat in race 20 at 4pm, as we
advanced to the mid qualifiers. This was our worst race of the
day. Giddy with having fun, we relaxed. Two of our paddlers
went off to help paddle on another boat. I went to check with the
Race commentators, as I would be doing commentating for Sunday.
We didn't pay as much attention to race preparation as we could
have. One paddler was missing while we were being
marshalled. I spied our paddler Wendy, who was being spared out
for this race, and called her over. We were the last boat, going
to the start line, so we had to hurry over. We backed in and
picked up the tether. The referee boat came buzzing over as we
lined up. The race was quickly called, and we paddled through the
residue wake of the referee boat. After a great 2nd race earlier
in the day, somehow we couldn't keep up with the pack and we fell
behind. Almost all the other boat finished ahead of us together,
and we came 6th about 10 seconds slower.
Our team stayed in the marshalling area for a quick debrief, then 12 of
us went back to the dock to try our hand at barrel racing – dragon boat
style. You have to go around 3 buoys, in a clover leaf pattern
similar to a rodeo style barrel race. It involves 3 turns.
Remember that dragon boats are designed to go straight. This
takes a lot of special effort to slow down the boat, and make the very
sharp turns. Only 10 paddlers are used to underpower the boat,
and keep it from moving too fast to turn. We all changed
positions for this race for a little more fun and variety. Julie
sat behind the drum. I became lead stroke. Jim sat behind
me, Steven Wong sat behind him. Drummer Deb was now
paddling. Dave steered and directed the team. It was fun
trying to go around the buoys… but we knew we didn't do so hot.
We finished the barrel race in 3:30. Fresh Off the Dragon Boat
made their attempt following our try. They did a good run, coming
in at about 2:30. On their return to the dock, we walked over,
gave them a round of applause and a cheer.
And that was it for paddling… Seven of us then went over to New India Buffet for some dinner.
Gung Haggis Fat Choy team races Sunday morning in race 25 at 10:30am in a teak dragon boat.
The team is meeting at 9:15 at the team tent at the far end of the
racer's village – just past the Azure restaurant near the performance
sport centre. We are on the south side with a great view of the finish
11:45 – Nogard Race (Dragon spelled backwards)
team paddles past the flag in a Taiwanese boat, then paddles backwards/
or turns around a paddles forward going backward – then the flag
grabber grabs the flag. Today somebody missed their flag.
If we finish 1, 2, 3, or 4 in Race 25 at 10:30am, then we will advance to the Rec D finals in Race 37 at 3pm.
If we finish 5 or 6, then we end up in Lower Consolation race #36.