Picks up gold medal against 27 other teams
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.