What is Dragon Boat Racing?
Dragon Boat Racing is a fast and exciting sport that is taking the
The brightly painted fibre-glass boats are approximately 40ft long and decorated with a dragons head and tail. Each boat holds up to 20 paddlers sitting side-by-side. There is a helm who steers the boat and the paddlers are kept in time by drummer who beats a large drum.
Regattas are often held on multi-lane courses, which can result in very exciting (and very loud) racing.
Normal race distances are 200m (short race) and 500m (standard race), although there are some events with races of 1km and more. Crews are divided into various classes including premier, standard, mixed, ladies, junior and charity.
As a club we race nationally in the British Dragon Boat Association Premier league and at other events. Several of our members paddle in the Great Britain Dragon Boat teams.
The Legend of Dragon Boat racing
Dragon Boat racing is one of the fastest growing and most popular sports in the world and yet its history can allegedly be traced back over 2000 years. Legend has it that a minister in the
Ch’u Yuan underestimated the strength of his popularity amongst the local fishermen who saw his struggles in the river and raced to help. The fishermen took to their boats and raced as fast as they could to the spot where Ch’u Yuan was last seen. They beat their drums and splashed their paddles in the water in grief and in an attempt to keep the river dragons away from Ch’u Yuans body.
Quite why or how a sport evolved from these rather sad and confused events is unknown, the ancient Chinese writings are rather sketchy on this point. For all of us involved in the sport we remain ever thankful to the late Ch’u Yuan for his selfless sacrifice and the subsequent evolution of our sport.
Modern Dragon Boat festivals often reenact these events although splashing of paddles in the water is generally considered to be poor technique by the more hard core Dragon Boat teams.
Dragon Boating has been extremely popular in the Far East for many years but it is only relatively recently that the sport has surged in popularity in