Fans celebrate a heat race win from shore during the annual Race the River dragon boat regatta on Campbell River Saturday

Dragons breathe drama into regatta final

Comox Valley's Dragon Riders shade Port Hardy crew by three-tenths of a second to win fifth annual Race the River

In a race decided by just three-tenths of a second, the Dragon Riders of Comox edged top-seeded Namax’sala of Port Hardy to win the fifth annual Race the River dragon boat regatta in the Campbell River estuary Saturday.

Seeded third in the final, the Dragon Riders, a youth team, posted the day’s fast time of 1:48.7 to claim the gold. Angels and Demons of Nanaimo placed third behind Namax’sala to earn the bronze.

In the women’s division, Nanaimo’s Chix with Stix won the gold. The Dragon Slayers of Port McNeill followed to win the silver, while Campbell River’s River Spirit team brought home bronze for the host club.

The regatta was run with a brisk northwest crosswind, which was exacerbated by an incoming tide from the same direction as the heats went on through the late morning. The starts of several races was delayed slightly as crews fought to hold their starting positions while being pushed off-line.

The event drew 19 crews from across Vancouver Island and Powell River.

 

Members of the Comox Valley’s Dragonflies dragon boat team, foreground, backpaddle after winning a heat race in the annual Race the River dragon boat regatta Saturday, June 27, 2015. — J.R. Rardon/Campbell River Mirror