A special thanks goes out to those from each of the international teams that help organised this event. From the British team we should thank Lynne and Alastair. I would also like to thank all those who helped on the day especially Karen, Vicky and Clare.
To find out more information about the race have a look at some of the pictures from this excellent day. With out any further delay I hand over to:
“What could be better than an invitation to the pub on a Saturday night to share fish ‘n chips and a pint with a group of your mates and some groovy live music? Only catch is, you have to spend the afternoon with bunch of loonies on a scorching hot day on a beach at Kallang rowing like mad things from one bridge to another first. Call it the small print.
Yes. That was St Patrick’s day 2003 a la British dragon boat racing club. Over 200 members of the British, Australian, Canadian, German and Japanese teams met on speedboat beach for an afternoon of paddling, clapping, cheering, chanting and giggling. And believe me, speedboat beach by name, certainly not by nature. The Guinness tattoos, St Paddy hats and shamrock green hair seemed like a good idea in the shade of the trees, but unrelenting sunshine and eau de Kallang quickly made participants look like something resembling the incredible hulk.
Teams were split into four: Kilkenny, Limerick, Tralee and Gallway. (Apparently they’re places in Ireland.) Each team raced four times and although there was some confusion over where the starting line began and the finishing line ended, each team tried a tactic of cheering loudly and saying “well done” to each other, in a bid to convince the judges they were winners. A few even adopted a Steve Redgrave-style slump over their paddle but none were heard saying “shoot me if I ever go near a boat again.”
A moment’s lack of concentration in the first race, resulted in some tut-tutting from coach Anthony who looked like he was trying to parallel park along the beach, in a space already earmarked by Sugarpuff. No damage to either party; just the tail of one of the dragons left floating in the water as evidence of a mis-managed rudder.
Much debate centred around the different terminology used by the Australian coxes. While us Brits say “paddles up!” and “Go”, the Aussies say “Put your guts into it” and “AWAS” which is Malay for “You lazy British slobs – go quicker.”
What Tralee was lacking in speed, they made up for in style, with one of their male Japanese team members dressed as a swan (think Bjork at the Oscars 2002). Galway, sporting orange ties, tried valiantly to pip Limerick at the proverbial post but to no avail. Kilkenny blamed their pathetic performance on their drummer who was German and didn’t understand his team’s requests for a slower beat. Limerick 4, the rest of the teams try harder next time please.
Aching limbs, a crippled back and a sore arse (is this normal?) was quickly forgotten when beer sponsors Brewerks arrived and opened the taps of their golden ale. Grown men and women, shuffling their way up the beach head in hands, turned into Olympic athletes in the race to get in line for a pint of gentleman’s brew.
And so to the evening’s celebrations. Blame it on the heat, dehydration or the Irish, but the Guinness and cider turned paddlers into madsters as moshing – an activity previously confined to the dance floor of the student union – saw the floor of Penny Black’s creak and Jade and confused reach for their insurance documents. Boat Quay became home to the post-victory revellery of Limerick while Kilkenny, Galway and Tralee sought solace from the bottom of their beer glasses. Question is….what happened to the swan?
And on that note, in honour of the winners, I leave you with a limerick of my own:
When the St Paddy’s day boat teams raced,
they tried to go at great haste.
The sun was hot, they sweated a lot
and afterwards they all got laced. ”
“Racing on the ‘other’ side
The event began much as any other, until Ms Sugarpuff (AKA Clare ) produced 3 cans of green hair spray. From then on, the British team began to distinguish themselves from their comrades with Green stripes, Mohicans, eye brows, chest hair (using a cunning four leaf clover template) and even some rather attractive sideburns. As the Guinness transfers and face paint came out, it became clear that the British squad was going to leave their mark on the day (as well as each others hair, arms, faces etc.). The only thing funnier was the patented racing swan/tutu kit (there has to be a story behind that) ably modelled by a member of the Japanese team.
The competitors were separated into four teams: Limerick, Kilkenny, Galway and Tralee. Within minutes there was chaos as former friends separated and made snide remarks about the colour of others team’s colours. The Brits joined Canadians, Australians, Japanese and Germans and helped (err-hum!) carry the boats down to the water. The racing (7 races in all) was terrific. Everybody took part in at least 3 races after which there was a final voluntary race for those that hadn’t noticed that the beer from Brewerkz had arrived.
The first race was marred by a contentious crash just after the start, which left everyone wandering whether the coxes had started drinking earlier than the rest of us – they were duly rewarded later. After that, the racing was pretty fierce with all boats putting up a good fight in each round. At the end of it all, Kilkenny won the day. We owed our victory to the excellent pacesetting of Geoff and Vicky, sterling drumming and coxing by our Japanese team-mates and, of course, the subtle vocal support of Maurice..!
The day finished up with us taking over Penny black’s and a top performance from Jade and Confused although a few stragglers made it for early morning Roti Prata at River valley road…
In summary, a good time was had by all. We all got greener and more sunburnt than we had been in a while and learned a good deal about racing on the wrong side, as well as basic steering in Japanese.”