Spectators let out a cheer as dragonboats cross the finish line in the fifth annual Race the River regatta in Campbell River June 27.

Spectators let out a cheer as dragonboats cross the finish line in the fifth annual Race the River regatta in Campbell River June 27.

Dragons breathe drama into regatta

Contributor J.R. Rardon on a dramatic dragon boat race

In a race decided by just three-tenths of a second, the Dragon Riders of Comox edged top-seeded Namax’sala of Port Hardy to win the fifth annual Race the River dragon boat regatta in the Campbell River estuary June 27.

Seeded third in the final, the Dragon Riders, a youth team, posted the day’s fast time of 1:48.7 to claim the gold. Angels and Demons of Nanaimo placed third behind Namax’sala to earn the bronze.

In the women’s division, Nanaimo’s Chix with Stix won the gold. The Dragon Slayers of Port McNeill followed to win the silver, while Campbell River’s River Spirit team brought home bronze for the host club.

The regatta was run with a brisk northwest crosswind, which was exacerbated by an incoming tide from the same direction as the heats went on through the late morning. The starts of several races was delayed slightly as crews fought to hold their starting positions while being pushed off-line.

The event drew 19 crews from across Vancouver Island and Powell River.