Dragon Boat Races, Diggin’ Rot Out

Last year in Grenada we had the Grenada Sailing Festival.  Oriental has its own boating festival – the Dragon Boat Races.  This annual event starts with the Dragon Dance.

Native Oriental ritual known as the Dragon Dance

The dancers perform an intricate dance that threatens to tie the dragon into a knot.  A drummer provides the beat.

Dragon Dance Drummer

They then weave their way down the street to lead the Dragon Boat Parade.   (they seem to be big on parades here) The eighteen teams followed one by one.

Dragon Festival Parade

You can see much of the parade on YouTube Dragon Boat Parade  Watch carefully and y0u will see someone familiar walk by at about 47 seconds into the movie.

The dragon boats are long, narrow, tippy, and have little freeboard.  They were to have a practice the evening before the race, but there was too much wind and chop on the river, so everyone sat in the boats on the beach and practiced paddling.  Many paddlers left for the race without ever having been in one of the boats on the water.

Dragon boats on the beach waiting for launch

Each boat has twenty paddlers, a drummer sitting in the bow (and facing aft) to provide a beat for the paddlers to follow, and helmsman in the stern.  The first race began and one boat pulled out to a lead.  The boat’s dragon tail fell off soon after the start. 

Dragon boats racing. Boat on left going faster after it shed its tail

Then the tail fell off the other boat and it moved into the lead.

Retrieving a dragon tail

The races went on all day.  By the afternoon the wind and waves kicked up, so four paddlers were removed from each boat to increase bouyancy and freeboard.  Team Raleigh Dragons paddle together regularly and unsurprisingly took first place. The PCS Fossil Floaters finished second and Pirates for PAWS came in third.  You can see some video of a race on YouTube.  Dragon Boat Race


But it’s not all play here, the boat work continues.  The port side of the aft cabin has been glassed and sanded.  There is more work to do to prep the cockpit coaming, but it’s nearly ready for priming.

Port side is glassed and ready for sanding and priming

The starboard side also leaks, so it has been taken apart and there are a few spots with rot.  There was a board at the aft end of the cockpit coaming that literally crumbled as I tried to remove it.

Pile of pulp in foreground is the remains of a board

The fairing block is also shows rot and the leak seems to have gone past it.

Fairing block is rotted on the top and left (aft) edge

The good news is that this side of the boat is much better.  Part of the side of the house needs to come out, but at least the front part of the cabin is OK.  The bad news is that because it is in better shape and has been repaired before, it’s a lot harder to get apart.

Next: Road Trip

2 Responses to “Dragon Boat Races, Diggin’ Rot Out”

  1. Susan French Says:

    Hi Jackie and Eric,
    I’ve been following your posts, and it’s nice to see you are on land again, except for that Hurricane Irene! I hope you are able to protect the boat in some way.
    Take care,
    Susan F.

  2. felt roofing newburyport ma Says:

    honest regards ;-D

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: