The sun was shining and the water calm for the sixth annual Victor Simonson Dragon Boat Regatta.
Twelve teams from all over Vancouver Island and the Mainland competed for the women’s, open and breast cancer survivors division titles during Nautical Days.
The sound of the beating drum drew crowds onto the pier at the Comox Marina to watch dragon boat teams power to the finish line.
This year, the Aquaholics from Nanaimo took home the Open Division Title with an accumulative time of 5:08.65. The Dragon Flies from the Comox Valley came second with an accumulative time of 5:20.87.
In a close-fought women’s division, the Flying Dragons edged River Spirit to take top spot with a total time of 5:36.06.
In an emotional moment during the day, breast cancer teams and onlookers who lined the pier honoured those who have battled or are battling breast cancer, with a carnation ceremony. Dragon boating has become popular with breast cancer survivors as a way to get exercise and meet people who have had similar experiences.
The ceremony was preluded by a breast cancer survivor race that was won by Hope Afloat and some additional paddlers from other teams.
Although all the teams were battling for first place in their divisions, there was a real community feel amongst all the paddlers, and the camaraderie was evident throughout the entire day. The teams set up a tent village on the parking lot of Marina Park, and they had a great time with costumes and team cheers and chants.
The winner of the most spirited team this year was Prevailing Wins and Blazing Paddles with a Fun in the Sun theme.
— Victor Simonson Dragon Boat Regatta