By Donna Cochran
Spirit Point Dragons
Spirit Point Dragons earned a gold medal in the second division at the 2019 Victor Simonson Dragon Boat Races in Comox over the long weekend.
Sunday’s festival was part of Comox Nautical Days with 13 participating teams (six women’s and seven mixed).
The Comox marina venue in beautiful Comox Bay was the perfect setting for the festival. The dragon boats loaded from docks alongside pleasure boats and whale watchers. There were three 450-m races as well as a Fun Mystery Race that involved pool noodles, a stint of paddling with hands and a few dizzying 360-degree turns.
The round-robin format meant race times were tallied to determine the winners in the mixed and women’s teams. In the first race, Spirit Point raced their best time of 2:28, placing a solid first ahead of Phoenix Rising (2:30) and Jolly Dragons (2:31). They faced stiffer competition in the second race, coming second with (2:36) behind Mid Island Masters’ strong performance (2:11) and ahead of Jolly Dragons (2:42). The third race was the most competitive of the day with Spirit Point up against Mid Island Masters and Prevailing Wins, the top two teams who battled it out for first place in Div.1. Mid Island Masters prevailed with a one-second lead. Spirit Point kept pace with the two leaders and raced their second best time of 2:29, landing a gold in Div. 2.
Spirit Point paddlers for the races were Lorrhaine Ekelund, Donna Cochran, Serena Mellen, Robyn Huntley, Lynda Green, Mary Lou Cuddy, Wendy McEachern, Melynda Okulitch, Christa Wohlfahrt, Carmelle Labelle, Ann Marie Davidson, Chris Ortlepp, Shirley Julien, Lorenn Ekelund, Samantha Goddard, Susana Helgason, Lisa Coles, Andrew Okulitch, Janet Bright, Joni Devlin and Susan Ahn. Special thanks to guest paddler (and retired Spirit Point Dragon), Wendy Eggertson. Coach Mary Rowles kept up a furious pace of drumming and shouting encouragement to keep the team focused. Each race featured a different steersperson. Lorenn Ekelund, Sam Goddard and Tom McKeachie all expertly steered the boat through the days’ changing tides.