Having said farewell to a number of our experienced paddlers last year, this season promised to be challenging. Kevin Kelly took over as coach and was ably supported by Maaike Van Dijk and Ant Said in terms of organization of training and events. We welcomed many new faces to the team and under Kevin’s insightful, focused but fun training style began the process of building the skills, fitness and team spirit, all required to compete successfully throughout a dragon boat season.
DEEP WATER BAY REGATTA, 17TH APRILOur racing season began with a bang at Deep Water Bay where the VRC Paddle Club host one of the largest dragon boat regattas in Hong Kong. Almost 70 teams were out in force representing clubs across Hong Kong. LBC entered mixed, women’s and men’s teams and were up against some strong opposition in the form of the Yacht Club, VRC, Team Mushu, Stormies and Buzz Dragons. Following a hard mornings racing, all three LBC teams had
qualified for the Plate finals of their respective categories and were in with a chance of coming away with some silverware. The three Plate finals were back-to-back which was not ideal but LBC dug deep. In the Mixed Plate final a good start, solid chug and final push secured victory with a winning time faster than two of the teams in the Cup Final. The Ladies finished 4th in their plate final and the Men 6th. Overall a good day for LBC providing race experience for new paddlers against strong opposition.
LAMMA 500, 1st MAYThis is always one of our favorite events due to the warm hospitality of our friends on Lamma and the excellent organization. It has also grown over the years into a huge event with a strong field and has the added attraction of a 1000m event in addition to the 500m courses. In the 500m races, the Mixed team continued their development and qualified for the Gold Cup Final where they finished 7th. The Ladies qualified for the Plate Final which they won in style. The Men showed good form to reach the Gold Cup Final where they finished a creditable 4th. We are proud of our record in the 1000m and this year we also performed well with the Ladies finishing 3rd and the men 4th which was very encouraging in such a large field.
MUI WO, 29TH MAYThe Mui Wo Race offers a more traditional atmosphere and a chance to race in teak dragon boats. Half the fleet were brand new and it is gratifying to know that timber boats are still being constructed and raced in Hong Kong. Our results represented something of a reversal of our usual strengths. The Mixed team missed out on qualifying for the Gold Cup and struggled to a 4th place finish in the Plate Final. Our Ladies, normally so strong finished 6th and the men finished a creditable 4th in their respective finals. It was all valuable racing experience and good preparation for the final event of the season.
DISCOVERY BAY DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL, 9TH JUNEAs always LBC were keen to race well in our home waters. We entered two mixed teams, a Ladies and a Men’s team resulting in a full days paddling for all. The Mixed teams paced themselves throughout the day and we were delighted that both the Red and the Green Teams qualified for the Gold Cup Final. The Ladies paddled strongly in their first two heats to set up and excitin final race which they won by a whisker making them champions on the day.
The men had also shown good form in their heats and finished strongly in the final to finish second. The Mixed Final was won comfortably by Mushu and our friends and neigbouring team the German Dragons finished a magnificent second. Our Mixed Green team came in a close third and Mixed Red finished 6th.
Photo: James Branch
All in all we have had a great season and built some strong foundations for next year. Many thanks to our coach Kevin, our organisers Maaike and Ant, everyone who helped behind the scenes and to all who trained hard, participated and represented LBC so well throughout the season.
- Leam Murphy /Tim Osborne