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Fall 400 Dragon Boat Races

September 09, 2007 @ 12:24 By: gordon Category: General

Congratulations to the organizers of the Fall 400 in Carleton Place!

For the second year in a row, I steered for the Singapore Slings at the dragonboat races yesterday in Carleton Place. The weather this year was better than last year and we had three good races. Our times were:

  • First race: 01:55.19
  • Second race: 02:00.35
  • Third race: 01:56.73
  • Best two combined: 03:51.92

The Fall 400 is a much more relaxed festival than the big festival held in Ottawa every June. Being a smaller festival, there aren’t as many teams racing, meaning everyone gets at least three races. The team area is much less structured than Ottawa’s and you aren’t shoehorned into a tiny little space. Everyone claims an area and spreads out. It’s not as revenue-oriented as Ottawa, with only a couple of food vendors and a small booth where you can buy show memorabilia. It’s held on the Mississippi River, which is much narrower than the Rideau River. Spectators can line up along the whole length of the course and at some points they’re only a few metres from the boats racing downstream.

From a steering perspective, it’s a little more challenging than Ottawa. The race is 400m, compared to 500m in Ottawa. Because of the shape of the river, it can feel like there’s a bit of a bend in the lanes, even though they are straight. The current plays much more of a role and I heard a lot of people say that boats in the third and fourth lanes tended to win heats more often than not. These are the lanes in the centre of the river where the current seems a little faster.

Overall, it was a good festival and I’m already looking forward to next year. I’ve been practicing with the team every Tuesday since the spring, so I’m going to have to find something to fill the void on Tuesday evenings.

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