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Rain fails to capsize Nanaimo dragon boaters

Lorraine Jeffries, of the Mid-Island Masters Dragon Boat team, right, and her teammates give a cheer after one of their races on Saturday afternoon at Maffeo Sutton Park. - KARL YU/The News Bulletin
Lorraine Jeffries, of the Mid-Island Masters Dragon Boat team, right, and her teammates give a cheer after one of their races on Saturday afternoon at Maffeo Sutton Park.
— image credit: KARL YU/The News Bulletin

Rain did not seem to deter the festivities at the 12th annual Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival at Maffeo Sutton Park this weekend.

Jan Hastings, festival volunteer coordinator, said things went well despite the liquid sunshine.

“Well the rain wasn’t invited and the mayor [John Ruttan] did tell us that he took care of the rain for us, but I guess it just has to be a little bit wetter,” Hastings said.

“I hear the water [was] calm and beautiful [Saturday], so that’s one thing the rain does, it makes for calm waters, so the racers are happy,” she said.

The festival provided the perfect opportunity for the defending B.C. Seniors Games’ women’s 55-plus dragon boat racing champions, the Nanaimo-based Mid-Island Masters, to fine tune for the 2014 Games at Langley in September.

Coach Lesley Heavey said she liked what she saw from her team at the festival on Saturday.

“The first race was OK but I just watched the second race and it was superb,” said Heavey. “Their timing was great, their strength was great, they were awesome in their second race. I’m so proud of them.”

The Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival is considered one of city’s biggest events and centres on the fight to end breast cancer.

“The reason we put on the festival every year is to raise funds for the hospital foundation for breast cancer research and also for hospice in Nanaimo,” Hastings said.

There were 72 teams taking part this year, she said.

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