Great time at the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival – Gung Haggis team races for medals in E Championship,

Wonderful 3 days of Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival.

Saturday afternoon, we finished our last race, and we are still a happy bunch.  Of course, we recruited the “dragons” to join us for our team picture.

Friday: we take our 5 person parade dragon down for opening night

Saturday: host TSA Dragon Flyers from California, our Gung Haggis team welcomes rookie paddlers, returning paddlers and guest paddlers from Go Ju Go.

Sunday: we raced for a medal in E Championship, and witness steady improvement with our paddlers. Our guests TSA Dragon Flyers won Gold in Rec D Championship.

Lots of fun, new friends, old friends… simply wonderful.

We had a joint team dinner on Saturday night at Floata Restaurant in Vancouver Chinatown, where I had to simultaneously attend a banquet dinner for the Irish & Scottish Studies International Conference, organized by the Centre for Scottish Studies at Simon Fraser University. The conference featured a Gung Haggis Fat Choy-styled dinner, so I invited dragon boaters to help carry our 5 person dragon to help lead the procession of the haggis. California paddlers were very keen to help out.  In this picture l-r is Anthony, Laura, Steven (from Gung Haggis), Billie and Jose.

Sunday Morning – welcome to the Church of Dragon Boating – as first we lifted veteran paddler Keng into the air, then now in this picture we lift Albert – who is 2 times as heavy as Keng.

Before our final race, our team relaxes by doing a group circle massage.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy team raced for a medal in Rec E Championship, but while we came 1st in lane one last year for the Rec D Consolations, alas, we came 8th in 2013. While Geoff George of TSA had steered for us in our 3 earlier races, the TSA team had to race 22 min later in the D Final, so our guest steersperson was my friend Suzi Cloutier from Portland’s Wasabi Team Huge.  Suzi paddled in the Women’s A Final to come in 2nd place, then stayed on the dock to await our team. She took control of our boat, and gave us lots of encouragement, while drummer Deborah Gee give us the calls for our starts and power series.  Assistant Coach Debbie Poon gave Deborah prompts, while we both yelled out along with Deborah to give her more support.

Here are the final results for all teams in the Rec E Championship race. It was good to race against our friends O2P, Metro Van 44 Cheeks, and the Eh Team.  Congratulations to the medal winning team and especially O2P – nice to see them beat us this year, after we bet them twice in race consolation finals last year in Vancouver and Steveston.

  • 8th– 2:33.510  – Gung Haggis Fat Choy
  • 7th – 2:30.610 – KDBC LIFT WHAT’S DRAGGIN
  • 6th – 2:30.040 – Metro Vancouver 44 Cheeks
  • 5th – 2:29.070 – Kwantlen Sea-Eagles
  • 4th – 2:25.170 – O2P
  • 3rd – 2:23.640 –Red Eyes Paddling Club
  • 2nd – 2:20.940 – The EH Team
  • 1st – 2:19.170 – Concord Pacific Team Too

After we did a quick team debrief, we watched TSA Dragon Flyers won Gold in Rec D with a time of  2:15.990.  They had a good start, and pulled out ahead after their transition to race pace, from their start.  It was fun to watch them come down the course, while boat 2 was very close, and other boats weren’t too far away.  TSA had a strong finish and kept a steady surge to the finish line.

Here is a nice picture of both Gung Haggis Fat Choy and TSA Flying Dragons posing together for a joint team picture. There was a good feeling of camaraderie and mutual support, as teams cheered for each other during races, and also joined together for a joint dinner on Saturday night.  Gotta admit this team looks pretty good with rows of blue and red, bookended by kilts!

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