Dragon Boat Charleston

Not really a race recap, but kind of...

This past Saturday, I spent the day at the Charleston Dragon Boat Festival.  My boss sponsored a team, Law & OARder - I work for the prosecutors office (Law & OARder, get it!)

Over sixty people from my office came out for the festival (twenty of us were rowers).  It was a really cool event.

There were tents set up all over the place, people in costumes, food, drinks and a real family friendly atmosphere.

From the web site:
We offer cancer survivor's the opportunity to 'hit the restart button' after a cancer diagnosis by participating in this fabulous wellness program.  Whether you are a competitive racer or a 'Saturday morning paddler' - life is better on the water.

The Dragon Boat Festival:

It is a full day of fun on the water with friends, family and co-workers - paddling together in 250m races.  The goal is for paddlers to move in unison, combining strength with teamwork in a boat whose elaborate design originates in ancient China. Dragon boats are the world's largest flat water racing canoes, propelled by a crew of 20 plus a drummer and a steersperson, provided by the Festival. Teamwork is everything in dragon boat racing. Synchronicity is more important than strength. 

We started at around 8:30am with our first heat of the day.

Twenty one of us lined up in our spots and headed out for our paddles and life jackets.  We suited up and were lead out to our 41 foot dragon boat!

Two other teams were setting up the same way to race us.

The boat and a person to steer were provided.  We just needed rowers and a drummer.  After loading the boat we paddled out to the starting line (three docks) and lined up. The horn blew and we were off.  The race only lasted about one minute.

It is a crazy minute!

The drummer was yelling out as she pounded her drum and all us were trying to stay in a furious rhythm as we raced down the Ashley River.  We were neck and neck with one of the teams as we approached the finish line.  We all dug as deep as we could and somehow we actually came in first!

In fact, we were in the lead for the entire first round (there were about twenty - thirty teams total).  We walked back to our tent feeling pretty good, maybe too good.  Our team was really strong, but it was made up of a bunch of people in the legal field and only a few us run or workout on a regular basis.  Our first race would be our best race.

We raced again two more times (12:30pm and 3:10pm).  I was wiped out after spending the day out there and went home to relax as soon as the third race was over.

I still don't know how we did overall.  We may not have done as well as our first race, but we sure had fun...


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