Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team at the start line for 5th Annual Vernon Dragon Boat Races.
Vernon Dragon Boat Races are one of our favorite races of the year. We love the hot weather, lots of sun, the beach and the clean clear cooling water of Kalamalka Lake. This was our 4th visit to these waters.
Our first race was a 200m sprint. We finished in 53 seconds…. and some of our stronger paddlers weren't even in the boat. I videoed the race on my camera.
were loaded in the boat for our 2nd race of the day. We had already
posted a 53 second 200m spint… and we were ready for the 500m.
The winds picked up. Two other teams were already out on the water….
The race was post-poned. We were told to wait it out on land. But the wind started to blow all the tents away. We were told to go look after our stuff.
We saw the band stand tent nearly getting blown off the stage.
The races were being post-poned for about 40 minutes.
saw the big wave action at the beach, with lots of white caps, and
encouraged the team to come “wave jumping” with me. I took two paddlers
into the lake with me – and we tried body surfing.
Then the rain started…. Somebody said there was hail.
Jimmy B. reported that the races were being canceled for the day. Our
500m race would rescheduled for 9am first race of the day….
The 1000m race was canceled 🙁
packed up the tents and equipment, loaded up our cars in a downpour,
then went to Deb's parents' lakeside home, where we were hosting the
We have a picture of 13 people in the hot tub… as the sun was coming out.
5:46pm I received a phone message, “This is Vernon Dragon Boat Races,
We are live… There is sunshine on the beach. Come down to the beer
garden and help save the festival.”
But we were already relaxed, and preparing our traditional bbq at Martin's Nest – childhood home of my girlfriend Deb Martin, former paddler/drummer/steers for the team.. Some of our paddlers went canoeing and kayaking…. at the private dock.
We were in the first race heat on Sunday morning, rescheduled from Saturday afternoon. It was an easy 500m race. I (Todd) steered. I think we came 2nd. After we got off the boat, I was quickly pulled over to steer for another team, then another team. I had to take a break after being on the water for about an hour in the heat.
raced our Semi-final around noon, but we spun out, after steers Dave
Samis lost control. We clipped another boat – but finished under
was right after, I had steered a boat for DRAGNUM…. and hit boat
waves… losing control of the boat. DRAGNUM had posted a 2:12 quarter-final time, and was a top seed… but because
of the spin-out, narrowly missing another boat, they got bumped down to
B Final instead of A final.
Because of our spin out, Gung Haggis was bumped to D Final instead of C Final.
We had a good race final finishing 2nd with a time of 2:25.
Then I (Todd) steered again for the Kelowna Blazing Saddles. The team had a strong race finishing 2nd, after catching up and passing a boat that had been neck and neck with us. Final time 2:16.
Time for the beer gardens Gung Haggis team got the dancing going in the beer garden on
Sunday with a “revised lyrics” version of 500 Miles. eg. “I WOULD
PADDLE 500 MILES”. Lethal Weapon – we will have to teach your teams
for improved DB spirit! We even put a kilt on a Calgary paddler, known
to this forum.
Calgary Teams ruled the fastest times along with Kamloops' Extreme Currents, and Extreme Curves women's team.
to all teams that participated and contributed to the truly friendly
atmosphere, and willingly volunteered to help make these races run
smoothly, in the wake of so many challenges (eg. Dynasty Boats ugh!)
Gung Haggis Fat Choy Team Captain Jim Blatherwick pointed out that:
1) Fastest 200m by GHFC at Vernon at 53 seconds.
Our 2nd place time in our final (2:25) was 1 second behind the Bronze
medal time of the A Final. It was also our 2nd fastest time in Vernon
ever for the 500m.
3) Our steerers raced with countless other
teams. Todd, Steven, and Dave are to be congratulated as it seemed like
they were somehow involved in every other race.
4) During our
unfortunate collision of the semi-final, everyone followed instructions
and Dave was able to keep his wits about so that we only clipped the
other boat and didn't hit it in the middle. Bruised egos are better
than bruised people and as a group we did well.