Sunday, October 2, 2016

5th Annual Cape May Dragon Boat Race 2016 #capemay #dragonboatrace @letsmove #paddle

Hooked on Paddling!
Cape May Dragon Boat Race 2016 

Back in the day, I enjoyed paddling at Boat House Row in Philly and racing my Sunfish sail boat at Cooper River Yacht Club and in the International Sunfish Class Association races. Dragon boat racing is a whole new ball game that depends on timing, technique and teamwork sync and coordination. It's all about the team vs a solo venture. I knew when I got an email of a team forming at work, this was something I wanted to try. 

Inspira Health Network took home 2 medals for 1st and 3rd at Cape May's annual Dragon Boat Festival, which was held September 24th. Traveling teams came from all over, including the University of Maryland and the Philadelphia Police Dragon Boat Team, who won 1st place overall.

Inspira entered two dragon boats with 3 heats (races) planned. And, it just so happened it was my birthday weekend!
We decided to stay overnight and took Mom with us.
Dragon boats have a drummer who sits up front to set the pace and a helmsman who steers. This year was unusual - boat captains were given special instructions: 1) to forgo the traditional, festive dragon boat heads and tails; 2) to not use a drummer and 3) to reduce boat weight even further by cutting back to 16 people vs the usual 18 to 20 people per boat. 
Weather conditions were less than ideal. We experienced heavy winds, which made the harbor choppy, splashing water up over the sides and into the long boats. The Coast Guard assisted in bailing water out of our boats just before launching us off the beach.  

As my team stood on the beach waiting our turn watching the end of the previous race, we were surprised to watch a boat fill with water and sink below the water surface! That team managed to stick together, holding on to their boat as they drifted back to shore. 

We got in our boat and set off as waves washed over the gunnels. Luckily, the water was warm. After our winning race, it was disappointing, but not a surprise, that the 24-mph winds caused a race delay followed by cancellation of the remaining races
The conditions reminded me of the overcast, windy, rough bay with white caps at the Sunfish North American Championships with Derrick Fries on a megaphone shouting directions when I raced at Rehoboth Bay Sailing Association in Delaware back in 1987. Nothing like dating myself... but, I'll never forget it. I never sailed so fast in all my life! I was on a high for days after that event. 

Now, I'm hooked on paddling and am proud that I was able to participate and be part of Inspira Dragons. 

Harry made the above video that features Inspira Dragon's 2nd wet practice at Harbor View Marina and our boat taking first place! We wore blue T-shirts - I was in the last seat in the back right of boat #3.
The wheelchair we snagged at a yard sale came just in time to give Mom a tour around Cape May. 

On our way home we visited Cape May Lighthouse. I loved spotting a few migrating monarch butterflies, and Mom loved the Lighthouse; but I'm sure 'Ole Barney' is still her favorite.  

We also traveled to Cape May Point. Harry guided Mom to a bench on Sunset Beach while he reminisced of family visits to look at the concrete ship USS Atlantis. I remembered when my Dad was alive and my sister and I were kids collecting Cape May Diamonds...

See you again soon Cape May!

Related Links
Cape May Dragon Boat Festival
Dragon Boat History
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