Paddlers’ on form for local regatta

PORT HARDY-Tri-Port Dragon Boat Society teams set their sights on annual regatta; volunteers sought.

Tri-Port Dragon Boat Society teams continued a strong month of competition in last weekend’s Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival. Now they’ll set their sights on their own regatta, the fourth annual Tri-Port Dragon Boat Regatta in Hardy Bay July 20.

In qualifying Saturday that was cut short due to high wind and waves, the Pussycats earned a spot in the Platinum A final and went on to place fourth overall in the event.

Two more Tri-Port teams, the Warriors and the Dragon Slayers, each qualified into the Jade division and came home with top-2 finishes in their class. The Dragon Slayers took silver in the Jade A final, while the Warriors were first in the Jade B final.

One week earlier, three North Island entries ran the table at the Race the River Regatta in Campbell River, finishing 1-2 in the women’s finals and also claiming the mixed team victory.

Port Hardy-based Na’max’sala won the mixed category finals. The Dragon Slayers were the women’s champs and were closely followed by the Warriors in second place.

Campbell River’s River Spirit claimed bronze.

In late June, the Pussycats traveled to Vancouver to compete in the Rio Tinto Alcan Regatta, the second-largest Dragon Boat festival in the world with nearly 170 teams. Placed in the Ladies Rec B/C/D division following preliminary heats, the Pussycats claimed bronze medals for the division in the finals.

They also qualified in the top 10 of 42 ladies teams overall to compete in the “Guts and Glory”, a 2,000-metre, 10-boat showdown.

The Tri-Port Regatta will take place during the height of Filomi Days activities in Port Hardy, in full view of revellers at Carrot Park on the waterfront.

Volunteers are sought to help, and society co-founder Cora Nelson said the local regatta is a great opportunity for those thinking about trying the sport to find out what it’s all about.

Heat racing begins at 9 a.m. and continues into the afternoon for finals, tentatively set for 2 p.m. Also featured is a fund-raising silent auction of paddles decorated by area artists and donated to the society. The paddles will be auctioned individually throughout the day.