Still Swaying


I'm sitting at home now, about two hours after getting home from a long day in Stanley. It was a very successful day for the Scott Wilson Sea Dogs. We placed second in the Expatriate Men's Category A Plate Final. That's a bloody brilliant result, and we were on excellent form all day. We placed seventh in the Stanley Combined Bowl Final, but we were severely outclassed.

Competitions in Hong Kong generally have four competitions: Cup, Plate, Bowl and Shield. This is basically so that you don't end up competing with people who are vastly better than you or vastly worse. There is no fun in competing when you're coming last by a huge margin, and there's not much value to a win you didn't even have to work for. This is further refined in Stanley Dragon Boating by having A-class and B-class divisions, where the B-class are guys who do it for fun (like us normally) and the A-class are guys who take it really seriously. These divisions mean that the optimum strategy is to get in there and paddle your heart out. This is exactly what you want in a race - none of this 'strategic placing' nonsense. We were bumped up to the A-class after the organizers decided that we've had strong teams for many years now. So coming second in the Plate final is a stunning achievement.

And we did it with a perfect race. A tight start - four long deep strokes to get the boat moving forward, followed by twelve short, fast strokes to accelerate the boat up to racing speed, and then into a racing stroke with a rate of about three strokes per two seconds all the way to the finish line. Our timing was sharp across the boat and from front to back, which is the absolutely critical skill for paddling a dragon boat. You can have all the power in the world, but if you're not paddling together, you're wasting your time. We had a tight crew of well trained paddlers, most with many years of experience, and all with the will to go hell for leather and damn the torpedoes.

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This page contains a single entry by dave published on June 4, 2003 9:56 PM.

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