Slaying the Dragon - Sherborne Country Fair - Dragon Boat Racing

Wednesday 31st May 2017

This Bank Holiday Monday saw a Gig Club team covertly take part in the Dragon Boat racing at the Sherborne Castle County Fair, where they both raised funds for our club and achieved a podium finish.

The Dragon Boat racing is an annual event at the Sherborne Fair and the 250m course is set in the large, calm, elegant lake designed by Capability Brown and set in beautiful gardens and below the Jacobean country house. This year Dragon Boat racing saw seventeen crews competing, many of whom were experienced in paddling these boats which have a crew of sixteen and a drummer. The Dragon Boats raced in pairs, against each other and the clock. Each crew raced three times and the four fastest boats raced in the final.

The Gig Club crew were entered into the competition as a Rowsell Roofing team, appropriately named the 'Dragon Slayers' and were kitted out in the company's kit. Whilst some members of the Gig Club crew had taken part in a practice Dragon Boat row in Exeter the previous week but for others this was their first race in these boats.

The experience of gig rowing, as a team, in time and with length and strength put the Rowsell Roofing team in a good position. The racing was fast and furious and Rowsell Roofing Team, until then unknown in the world of Dragon Boat racing won convincingly each of their three qualifying races. One of the crew from a soundly beaten competitor asked if the Rowsell team were professionals only to be told that we'd never raced before.

The final race saw the four fastest Dragon Boats line up, which included an Army crew from Bovington and the experienced Dragon Boat team that had consistently won the event over preceding years. The race was close and the Rowsell Roofing Team beat the Army boat bit were pipped on the line to finish a fantastic second overall (beaten by just 2 seconds by the experienced Dragon Boat). The crew members all received runner up medals. Watch the final race at https://youtu.be/RoiJL50xH4Y . The Dragon Slayers are in Dragon Boat 1 closest to the camera.

It was a memorable day, despite the rain and great example of how Lyme Regis Gig Club can have fun and excel in other sports. It was also a great fundraiser and I'd like to thank Pete Rowsell for sponsoring the Gig Club to take part and all the members who helped raise funds for the Club and the family and friends who came along to watch the event. A big thanks also to Bob and Shirley for their coaching and awesome exercises and drumming.

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