Monday, April 15, 2024
April 15, 2024

Thrilling end to Spirit Point Dragons season


DRIFTWOOD contributor

Spirit Point Dragons placed first in Jade division at the Penticton Dragon Boat Festival last weekend in a thrilling final.

Their division win earned them ribbons, not medals, for their efforts but they performed the best times of their whole season — pure gold!

The venue was Skaha Lake Park on beautiful Skaha Lake. There were 80 women’s/mixed teams racing four 500-metre races, two each on Saturday and Sunday. The Saturday race times placed each team in Jade, Diamond or Platinum semis and finals on Sunday.

The Sunday semi-final saw Spirit Point grab second place (2:25) against first-place Silver Dips (2:19) and third-place CBC Wave Catchers (2:29). The Sunday final was the most competitive race and Spirit Point was nose to nose with CBC Wave Catchers down the course. But our dragons roared in a final 10-metre surge and crossed the line in first place with a record time of 2:23.28, ahead of CBC’s 2:23.70, a photo finish win of 4/100ths of a second.

Paddlers for the festival were Lohrainne Ekelund, Donna Cochran, Mary Lou Cuddy, Robyn Huntley, Wendy McEachern, Serena Mellen, Melynda Okulitch, Jeanne Delparte, Carmelle Labelle, Leslie Grott, Chris Ortlepp, Ann Marie Davidson, Shirley Julien, Lisa Owens, Lorenn Ekelund, Sam Goddard, Susan Ahn, Lynda Green, Andrew Okulitch, Joni Develin and Brian Campbell. Coach Mary Rowles was in fine form, particularly in the final race when she used an expletive to get the team to leave it all in the boat for the last 10-metre surge over the finish line. 

The “most valuable team member” award has to go to our brilliant steersperson Tom McKeachie. For the Saturday afternoon race, the predicted high winds blew in across the lake, making racing conditions very difficult. Early in the race, McKeachie had to fall to his knees to avoid falling overboard while fighting with all his strength to hold the tiller steady and keep the boat moving ahead. In later races, two steerspersons did go overboard! McKeachie says he was very proud of the team’s efforts to keep paddling through the high waves hitting the boat broadside because that provided the stability to prevent capsizing. 

The team gives a “paddles up” thank you to Lynda Green, our official assistant coach this year, to our multi-talented team manager Barry Green, and to Jean Davis for providing our new home on St. Mary Lake.

Sign up for our newsletter and stay informed

Receive news headlines every week with our free email newsletter.

Other stories you might like

Dragons finish year on high note 

Last races with team for founding coach Mary Rowles  by Donna Cochran Salt Spring’s dragon boat team brought home a bronze medal in the top grand...

Dragons take gold at Guts and Glory event

By Donna Cochran SPECIAL TO THE DRIFTWOOD  Spirit Point Dragons teamed up with Fairway Gorge Maximus Power on Sept. 17 in their final festival of the...

Dragonboat group plants tribute to Christensen family

by DONNA COCHRAN Spirit Point Dragons Salt Spring’s dragon boat members wanted to show our love and respect for Nils and Sheila Christensen who sponsored the...

Paddlers need spot to park boat

After 14 years with the same home base, Salt Spring’s dragonboat team is looking for a new spot to keep its boat. When the...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Salt Spring Island
broken clouds
5.2 ° C
6.8 °
4 °
83 %
75 %
7 °
8 °
8 °
11 °
11 °