Gung Haggis paddles hard for 2nd place in Mixed C Championships Vernon Dragon Boat Race

Gung Haggis paddles hard for 2nd place in Mixed C Championships Vernon Dragon Boat Race

Gung Haggis group picture - photo Samis by you.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team: front row kneeling – Steven, Jane, Debbie, Todd, Marion, Julie, Tzhe, Stuart, Brooke; standing – Kristine, Pat (host), Jim, Ernest, Dave, Deb (host), Hillary, Wendy, Jonas (back), Ashleigh, Tony, Alissa, Richard (back), Gayle, Mary, Stephen (back), Raphael, Dan.

Winning vs Fun….  Vacation vs Serious Competition.

We put FUN first… and “WINNING at all costs” last, with Haggis somewhere in between…..

Jim Blatherwick and the team - photo Brooke Samis

Jim and Jonas warm up with the team.  Lots of kilts worn by team members Marion, Stuart, Todd, Tzhe and Jim! – photo Brooke Samis

Julie, Ashleigh and Brooke - photo Dave Samis

Drummer Julie, 3 year veteran Ashleigh, rookie initiate Brooke – all happy to be on the team and in Vernon – photo Dave Samis

Gung Haggis passing the swimming dock - photo Brooke Samis by you.

Haggis team paddling out past the dock, Todd steers dressed in kilt
with Julie as drummer dressed in Hawaiian style grass skirt. Our hosts,
Pat and Bill Martin's waterfront home where many of us stayed and where
we held team bbq Saturday night, is in the background  – photo Brooke

We were in C Championship semi-final… on Sunday morning.  We were boat #3.

It was exciting with all the wind swept waves in the tourquoise green waters of Kalamalka  Lake, like paddling in Hawaii.

“Hawaii 5-0 paddling,” I yelled out to the team.  “Lean out, paddle hard – just like outrigger paddling!”  We did a start piece and a power series.  We turned the boat around with our back to the wind to await being called to the start line.

Wind kicked up…. all boats called to start line…  Boat #2 turned sideways and was hit by
a broadside wave, and gently tipped over.  All paddlers in the water….  Chase
boats on scene.  All boats recalled to start line.  Races delayed for
an hour afterwards….

Races started up again at 12 noon, after winds died down.
I steered…  water is still bouncy….  can't hold the boat on
course.  Boat veering right.  Let it run… hold the boat.  Boat beside us narrowly passes us.  Gain control.  Start again… 
We are way behind 3 of the teams, but we still pass a team on far right.  We feel good about our finish, we recovered well.  I feel I made the right corrections for controlling these keel-less Dynasty boats from Calgary.  Despite the steering mishap, our time was a decent 2:45.25.  We are set for the next race.

Gung Haggis team recovers from steering mishap.  Todd is steering as the boat bounces across the tops of wave swells.  Drummer Julie gives the team directions to keep them going. – photo courtesy of  Ben Lee.

C Finals – we are boat #2 in Lane 1. (all teams are moved one lane over.)
Water not as bouncy.  We know we can do well.
good start.  Neck and neck with lane boat #3 in lane 2.  They are the
Red Hot Chili Peppers from Kelowna.  I know the drummer and steers from
the inaugural  Vernon races in 2005.

Still neck and neck…  Julie called a power series, and we moved up a
seat, just passing the team on our right.  Were we first? or second
now?  There was another team in the middle lane. I called a finish, and
the team dug deeper.  We called out our favorite cue word, “More, More
More” – inspiring us to reach more, dig deep more, give more power.  It
was close.   We crossed the finish line.  We we 1st?  Were we 2nd? 
Were we 3rd?

We headed to the beach.  We talked to our team mates who didn't paddle – but watched the race, and our friends. 
“2nd… unofficially,” they told us.  Team Rift Raft was 1st… but we were gaining on them… another 50 m, and we would have had them.

A good hard race.  The boat stayed straight.  We powered hard.  Our paddles were deep.  We got 2nd place in the C Championship with a time of 2:28.29, just 2.1 seconds behind the first place of 2:26.19 by Rift Raft.  Yay!

We were signed up for the 3rd annual demonstration water-ski pull.  The team that pulls a water skier up for the longest time… wins registration for next year's Greater Vernon Dragon Boat Race.  2 years ago, none of the successfully teams managed to pull their water skier – but our skier (Ashleigh) popped up the fastest before she lost control.  Last year we tried again, but no pop up for Ashleigh.

This year, the winds picked up again soon after the finish of the Mixed Adult A Championship.  We were standing in line, waiting for the water-ski pull meeting, when white cap waves accompanied gusty southerly winds.  The water ski pull was soon canceled.

We headed to the beer gardens for the medal ceremony.  The women's races were announced first.  Unfortunately, the C Finals didn't have medals, as race organizer Shawn Samol explained this would be rectified for next year.  B Finals and A Finals were next announced.  The Extreme Currents women's team from Kamloops were the top women's team for the 4th year in a row.  Mana Wahine, a 2 year old women's team from Chilliwack came 2nd.

Next the C Championships were being announced.  Several of our team members moved closer to the stage, as we were ready to accept our medals.  We made sure everybody wearing a kilt was there.  Shawn Samol again explained that they didn't have medals for the C Finals and that it would be rectified for next year.  They did announce the winners.  3rd was Red Hot Chili Paddlers from Kelowna who were DQ.  2nd was Gung Haggis Fat Choy.  1st was Team Rift Raft.

Mixed B Finals were won by Calgary Racing Club, Fluid Motion was 2nd, with SDR – Shaggin' Dragons Reloaded coming 3rd.

The A Finals were very exciting and very close.  Sudden Impact Black came first by a micro-second of  2:09.47 vs. 2:09.61 for Pacific Reach 2 (winners for previous 3 years in Vernon).  Extreme Currents from Kamloops beat out Topmade Fusion with a time of 2:14.50 vs 2:14.88

Gung Haggis paddlers all had lots of fun.  That's what counts.  We paddled 3 races + the 1000m demonstration race where we came first after passing 3 teams.  Today we were on the water 3 times, where our 1st race was cancelled because of high winds, after a team tipped into the water after being hit broadside by a wave.  Our 2nd race where I lost control of the boat in windy conditions that made it hard steering with the waves, but regained control for a good finish… and our 3rd race where we went neck and neck to the finish line with Red Hot Chili Paddlers on our right, passing them but coming a very close 2nd place to the boat in lane 4.

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