Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team braved the white cap waves of Sunday's UBC Day of the Long Boats

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team braved the white cap waves of Sunday's UBC Day of the Long Boats

It's a wild start as 9 teams take off from the beach at the same time, jostling and hitting each other.  The Gung Haggis Fat Choy mixed team (center), gets a good start heading to open water… but nobody realized there was a yellow rope trailing from the canoe creating drag until steersperson Todd Wong couldn't figure out why the boat wasn't turning. – photo Dave Samis.

Boats were capsizing off Jericho Beach for Saturday's UBC Day of the Long Boats, so Sunday's community teams were limited to one race per team.

Our Community Mixed Race was rescheduled to 11:20am.  Our Gung Haggis Braveheart Warriors Mens team was rescheduled to 12:00 noon.

Our teams had fun, there were smiles on people's faces after each race.  Nobody capsized…

But during our Community MIXED race, I
was steering the boat, and it wouldn't turn right.  We bumped into a
number of boats resulting in cussing, and jostled humours, as we kept
heading away from the 1st pylon marker, towards the North Shore

Imagine my surprise,
when I discovered there was a long yellow rope dragging behind our
boat, acting as an anchor drag, restricting our turning abilities.  I
managed to turn our boat back on course… and reach over and pull the
long yellow rope into the boat.  We found ourselves in last place, and
worked hard to catch up to the other teams.  After picking up our
baton, we passed some more boats in the turn, passed another boat on
the long stretch – but could not catch the 1st place team False Creek
“What's the Catch?”

Gung Haggis Fat Choy mixed team struggles to pull away from the pack.  You can see the yellow rope trailing from our stern.  Todd Wong steers, while Kristine Shum is in lead stroke at the front. – photo Dave Samis.

Our Men's race was equally challenging.  Instead of 10 men, we raced our 10 most veteran paddlers including 2 women.  We jostled and bumped our way against other men's teams, went off course a bit on the baton pick up as another boat hit us.  We grabbed our baton, then took some teams on the turn.  We tried our best to catch up to TD Lightning Men… but not quite good enough.  It was a fun, race and we congratulated them, as we landed on the beach beside them.

After the races, I headed down to Word on the Street Book and Magazine Fair + the Word on the Strike enhanced picket line for CUPE 391, Vancouver Library workers union. 

Our dragon boat paddlers reconvened at 5pm for a farewell party for rookie paddler Emilie Quevillon.  She joined the dragon boat team after bumping into me at the finish of the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival.  She joined the team for our annual after-party at Doolin's Irish Pub, and paddled the summer with us.  Emilie was often away in her job as a flight attendant but finally paddled with us for the Vancouver Taiwanese Dragon Boat races.  Emilie was an enthusiastic and upbeat contribution to the team, bringing Montreal flair to our gatherings.  She has now returned to Montreal to re-join her musical theatre group.  No doubt team members will have a new friend to visit in Montreal for dragon boat races in August next year.

see pictures on Flickr


Next Race:
Saturday Oct 6th
Fort Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe Regatta.
20 teams only
3 races.

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