April 17th, 2016
And so the dragon boat season begins for the BGC Stormy Dragons. At the Deep Water Bay 500m Regatta this year we entered the Women’s, Men’s, and Mixed events. Here’s the recap of the day from our own Holly Campbell and Darren Fender…
After warming up for the first race the women were full of nervous excitement as one never knows what to expect from the water in Deep Water Bay. As the team walked across the beach to load the boats everyone was focusing on different aspects of the 500m that lay ahead, many going through the start sequence in their heads. In true Stormy’s style everyone instilled confidence in each other and gave words of calming encouragement whilst reiterating how much they wanted to win!
What a first race!! We flew through the finish line with a good margin and erupted with cheers. The joy of winning combined with the relief of getting the first race out of the way was wonderful.
We were a little less nervous for the second race though it was equally as important to end strong. Our focus paid off and we gained another win!
For the final race, whilst everyone was still just as nervous and eager to cross the line first we all relaxed for a moment on the jetty singing along to our team song – Justin Bieber “Stormys!” Is it too late now to say Stormys (or ‘Sorry’ to those of you not in the know!)
Everyone knew this race was going to be tough, we’d all been checking the race times throughout the day and eagerly watching the other heats from the shore. We came again together to stay calm while knowing what had to be done and loaded the boats for the last time… It was a very tough race, but we claimed the GOLD!!!
Another eruption from the team, the girls couldn’t congratulate each other enough on the boat until Captain Vicki had to remind us to actually paddle the boat back to the jetty! Veuve! Veuve! Veuve! Veuve!
The first race for the mixed team was always going to be a little tough because it was straight after the women’s first heat! Talk about back-to-back! Luckily our training prepares us for this and after switching sides and letting the boys paddle the boat up to the starting line everyone was ready to go.
The first race was incredibly close, with our boat coming second by a smidgen of a second. So while it felt strong, our competitor Buzz nipped us to the post!
Luckily no more back-to-backs for the rest of the day and by the second race the Mixed team took a confidence-building first place. The chug felt great, strong, and powerful and the boat sailed along. Lots of slaps on the backs and bear hugs to say well done!
The tough thing about the final race was that we hadn’t yet come up against most of the teams in our prior heats so we knew it was going to be a challenge. And it was. We gave it everything, left nothing behind and it was close between all six teams. Although we wanted to win, fourth place is a great line in the sand for the next regatta. Watch this space.
The Stormy men approached this race with a squad of just 12 paddlers and were fortunately buoyed by 4 friends of the team (in the shape of Iain, Darrin, Gus, and John from the South Lantau Buffaloes). While this still left us 4 men short of a full boat, we were all eager to get some racing experience for the crew and 4 of the Stormy women graced the boat with their presence to fill the seats.
The first heat was daunting, being against 3 of the best men’s teams attending the regatta, namely our hosts VRC, RHKYC, and Buzz. The instructions were simple: run our own race and see where we fall in the mix. This mentality secured us a respectable 4th place finish, providing us with an idea of how the boat was running.
During the 2nd heats for the various men’s crews, VRC, RHKYC, and Buzz all won their respective rounds. Placing 2nd behind VRC, we ran a controlled race with our 4 borrowed boys and 4 girls. Fortunately or unfortunately as the case may be, our 4th place from the first heat meant that we would be competing in the 2nd tier Open Plate Final despite recording the 4th fastest men’s heat of the day.
The Final: Whilst trying to protect the girls for their pig seeking final,we managed to borrow 3 more men from our friends at the Tai Tam Tigers so we could run with 19 guys and 1 brave Stormy woman, Justyna, in the final. We ran a great race, completing the 500m in 2’08, a time which would have taken 4th in the Gold Cup Final, but placed us first in our respective Open Plate Final. Taken together, this finish was a very satisfying result considering we had only 12 Stormy men on the roster.
Well done gents! TIME to RECRUIT!