Picks up gold medal against 27 other teams

The Amherst News - - SPORTS -

In Au­gust, the lo­cal Cum­ber­land Dragon Boat Team Y NOT raced in the Saint John Dragon Boat Fes­ti­val held on the Ken­nebe­ca­sis River in Rothe­say N.B.

Com­pet­ing against 27 Teams, they won Sec­tion A and over­all gold.

The team was formed on a whim in 2013 to race in the Pug­wash Har­bourFest and, with ab­so­lutely no ex­pe­ri­ence and re­ly­ing only on over­all fit­ness, the 21-per­son team won sil­ver.

Since then the Team has been very suc­cess­ful, com­ing away with three gold, four sil­ver and one bronze medal in nine race fes­ti­vals.

A dragon boat team con­sists of 20 pad­dlers, a drum­mer who dic­tates race strat­egy and a steer­per­son. Be­tween eight and 12 of the pad­dlers are re­quired to be fe­male. A race is 200 me­tres in length and the pad­dlers move their 40-foot, 500-plus pound boat from a stand­ing start. Mem­bers of the Cum­ber­land Dragon Boat Team Y Not in­clude: (front, from left) Drum­mer Laura Far­row, Cather­ine Collins, Jes­sica Atkin­son, Terry Gil­roy, Brenna Ward, coach Pam Bow­man, Alexa Gaudet, Dave Suther­land, Rose­mary Atkin­son, John Greer, (stand­ing, from left) John Ros­song, Sean Cal­laghan, Dan Anger, Shawn Pick­er­ing, Lisa M. Cole, Jeff MacNeil, Mea­gan Cormier, Chris Van­der­wiel, Ch­eryl Morel and Sarah Dionne.

For the ca­sual At­lantic Prov­inces teams, con­sid­er­ing min­i­mal prac­tice time and de­pend­ing on weather con­di­tions, a race-time less than 60 sec­onds is con­sid­ered ex­cel­lent. At Rothe­say,

Team Y NOT won their two heats each in less than 60 sec­onds, and the fi­nal in 54.42 sec­onds.

This past July, at the Race On The River Fes­ti­val in New Glas­gow, Team Y NOT won sil­ver in the fes­ti­val’s quick­est sec­tion, los­ing the day’s fastest race to peren­nial ri­vals, the Dragonbeasts from Lake Banook in Dart­mouth by 0.26 sec­onds.

The main fo­cus of drag­onboat­ing in Canada is to raise money for can­cer-fighting and other health-re­lated char­i­ties.

Twenty-five of the teams at Saint John had sub­stan­tial spon­sor­ship, and the fes­ti­val raised in ex­cess of $150,000.

Al­though Team Y NOT is an in­de­pen­dent non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion and does not have a spon­sor, through gen­er­ous lo­cal support of their an­nual fundrais­ers, to date they have raised $6,500 in en­try fees, most of which goes to the char­i­ties, plus in ex­cess of $4,000 in di­rect char­i­ta­ble do­na­tions.

As well, in or­der for the team to sur­vive fi­nan­cially, all team mem­bers con­trib­ute per­sonal monies as re­quired.

In 2015 at sub­stan­tial cost, the team ac­quired a used dragon boat with all ac­ces­sories, set of 20 pad­dles, per­sonal flota­tion de­vices, team shirts and more.

They prac­tice weekly on Blair Lake, stor­ing their boat at and launch­ing from Loch Lomond RV Park.

This year they ac­quired the vol­un­teer ser­vices of a coach from Sackville, N.B., who is very ac­com­plished and holds her Dragon Boat Canada Level 2 cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Team Y NOT is try­ing to grow the sport lo­cally and their long range goal is to ex­pand to two Cum­ber­land County teams.

The unique as­pect of their in­tense sport is that, since the pad­dling mo­tion is so tech­ni­cal, as­sum­ing a rea­son­able fit­ness level pad­dlers can re­main com­pet­i­tive into their 70s.

Should any­body be in­ter­ested in join­ing the team, or even ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the power, rush and team­work as­pect of the sport, con­tact Sean Cal­laghan at 902669-0347, or Laura Ash­ley Far­row at 902-667-9112.

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