The origins of Dragon Boat Racing can be traced to events that took place in southern China over 2,000 years ago. Dragon boat racing, within the context of a festival, became much more important in Chinese culture with the tragic events surrounding Qu Yuan (pronounced Chu Yuan) around 277 B.C.
Qu Yuan was a statesman and poet in the feudal kingdom and as a man of wisdom and integrity, he provided truthful advice to the King. This advice angered his political rivals and as a result, they persuaded the King to banish him. Despondent over his exile and the subsequent decline of the government, Qu put stones in his pocket and drowned himself in the Mi Lo River. When local fishermen raced out to rescue him, they beat their drums and splashed with their paddles to scare the fish and water dragons away from Qu Yuan's body.
To commemorate their beloved Qu Yuan, the people of southern China staged Dragon Boat races to remember the day when they raced into the river in an attempt to save him. From this point on, Dragon Boat races became an annual event. Preceding the actual races, some festivals still practice the ancient ritual of "Awakening the Dragon." An eye-dotting ceremony awakens the dragon and brings out its fire, which gives the boats and their crews the strength of the dragon.
Did You Know...
There will be 19 seeded heats with 8 boats of 4 lanes.
Over 6 hours of racing per day.
Low tide at 2.77 ft happens at 11:28 amÂ on Saturday and 2.61ft at 12:02 pm Sunday
All dragon boats are provided by Forging Gorge to ensure a set standard
Each 45 ft long dragon boat is made of high-density foam filled fibreglass and weighs 360 kilo.
A 20 person boat is standard for racing in North America
Exit /entry of dragon boat is always made on the left side to avoid capsizing
Paddlers sit in pairs and the drummer sets the rhythm
Seat one-is the stroke position and sets rhythm and pace
Seat two-is the secondary stroke position and works with and motivates seat one
Seat three to seven are the engine room. They keep in time with seat directly in front and keeps seat in front and to the right motivated
Seat eight- is the steerer and steers direction of boat while paddling. As well, the steerer is the captain of dragon boat and takes responsibility for all aspects of team
Sample of steererâ€™s calls (steerer is in control of the dragon boat) - Paddles Behind-go; Go: start. All blades hit the water together; Set yourself: lock yourself in with your partner; Paddles Flat: paddles flat on the water to stabilize boat in rough water