Sunday 25th June 2017 is the date for the next annual Chester Dragon Boat Festival, which will be held on the River Dee at Sandy Lane (CH3 5UL) where in 2016, seventeen teams raised over £22,000 for local and regional charities.
For those new to dragon boating, it is a team building event that is quick to pick up, progressive in nature and ideal for both experienced crews and novices alike. It is one of the reasons why so may people who watch those Racing The Dragon, realise that it is one of those events ... that is just far too much fun to simply watch!
A dragon boat team is made up of between 13 - 20 team members, although a maximum sixteen paddlers and a drummer will be allowed to compete in any one race. The extra members are because each team will have several races during the day. if you are a small team and down on numbers, the drummer (even another paddler) can always be borrowed from another team.
Racing is over a course of 200 meters and each team will have a minimum three timed races where their single fastest time only will count for Grand Final qualification. What this means is, even if two of your races are both disasters, one great time is still all you need to be in with a good chance of going through to the Grand Final race.
Before each team's first race, teams will be given a safety briefing and also instruction on the technique used. One person paddling a canoe - simple. Up to sixteen people paddling a dragon boat together ... not so simple.
Team work is vital if a fast time is going to be achieved and for this reason, the instructors will also give 'on the water' training to help with technique. Over the distance we race, fitness is not a key factor - technique however is. So it does not matter if your team is made up of just 12 paddlers or the full 16, because it's a team sprint where team work and timing is everything. What you will be aiming to achieve is an opportunity to compete in the last race of the day ... the Grand Final. This is a race where all the dragon boats that can be safely raced together will race one last time and first across will be declared: Dragon Boat Champions of Chester 2017.
The event will finish with our award ceremony where team trophies will be awarded to the Captain's of the top three teams and Winner's Meadals to each member of the winning team. It's a brilliant day out.