The Rainbow Region Dragon Boat Club based at Lake Ainsworth, recently showed their strength at the inaugural Clarence Coast Dragon Boat Regatta at Lawrence.
The weather gods frowned and sent a wicked southerly river chop, but after last year’s regatta being cancelled twice because of floods, it was going to take more than a few whitecaps to dampen the competitors’ spirits.
Saturday saw clubs battling it out over a two-kilometre course with turns. The 20 second staggered starts saw the Rainbow Dragons second cab off the rank, then overtaking the home team Clarence Coast on the first turn to establish an early advantage.
The Rainbows held their line in difficult conditions with waves swamping the boat intermittently.
The 20 paddler crew which was propped up by five of the Urunga-based Titivators Dragon Boat Club paddlers, maintained the power for nearly 15 minutes to finish in the fastest time, one and a half minutes ahead of second place.
The favourites, Grafton, tried catching the Rainbows on the final turn, but capsized entering the home straight. This was definitely a race to test the skill of the steering sweeps.
Sunday morning saw more of the same wild and windy conditions.
The Rainbow Dragons took out the fastest time in the first mixed heats, as well as in the first women’s heat, when race officials stopped proceedings for safety reasons. Whilst disappointing for the regatta organisers, and the teams who did not get to race, the Rainbows are proud to have set this regatta’s records and look forward to defending them next year.
The club’s competitive focus now shifts to the Rainbow Warriors women’s team, which is training for the National Dragon Boat Championships to be held at Caloundra in April.
Due to the blue-green algae on Lake Ainsworth, you can now see the Rainbow Dragons training on Shaws Bay, East Ballina.