The Port McNeill Dragon Slayers were among the dragonboat teams competing Saturday afternoon at the Nanaimo Save-On-Foods Dragonboat Festival at Maffeo Sutton Park and Newcastle Channel. (KARL YU/The News Bulletin)

Dragonboat racers set the pace in Nanaimo harbour

The Nanaimo Save-On-Foods Dragonboat Festival was held Friday through Sunday at Maffeo Sutton Park

That roaring sound coming from Nanaimo harbour was more than 70 dragonboat teams making their presence felt and their voices heard.

The Nanaimo Save-On-Foods Dragonboat Festival was held Friday through Sunday at Maffeo Sutton Park and Newcastle Channel.

The fastest race was the mixed platinum final, which saw Victoria’s Latitude 48 team set a torrid pace. Event emcee Greg Peacock said, “You could waterski behind that boat today.”

James Hill, team captain, said Latitude 48 tried to work on little improvements here and there after its heats.

“And I think we put our best foot forward in the final and that was our best race, we were really happy with it,” he said.

He said his team, which is on its way to nationals in Welland, Ont., likes coming to Nanaimo and called it “probably the most fun race on the circuit” with a really good vibe.

“You can tell there’s a lot of effort from the city put in and it’s got a good energy about it,” Hill said.

Winning the women’s platinum final was Victoria’s Gorging Dragons 55-plus team.

“I was proud of our team this weekend. We’ve been working really hard…” said Patti Cross, team captain. “It’s always really nice to come off the water knowing you gave 100 per cent.”

She said the Gorging Dragons, also heading to nationals, were glad to get in “a really good last race in B.C.” and said Nanaimo put on a fabulous event.

“It’s always been a focus festival for us and one of my favourite festivals,” Cross said. “It’s very well organized, the volunteers do a fabulous job … the City of Nanaimo, and as you can hear by the cheering in the background, it’s a fan favourite. It’s a great time.”

For a photo gallery, click here.

Winners from the weekend include:

Mixed – platinum A, Latitude 48, 1:57.8; platinum B, Rebel Alliance, 2:07.1; diamond A, Prevailing Wins, 2:13.9; diamond B, Red Solo Cups, 2:11.3; jade A, Paddlers of the Fifth Moon, 2:19.4; jade B, Spirit Point, 2:32.1; gold A, Angels and Demons, 2:34.6.

Women’s – platinum A, Gorging Dragons 50-plus, 2:09.7; platinum B, Gorging Dragons 60-plus, 2:19.9; diamond A, Team Chawanda, 2:26.4; diamond B, River Spirit, 2:29.7; jade A, Cultus Lake Dragon Flyers, 2:32.0; jade B, Let Her Run, 2:35.0; gold A, Port McNeill Dragon Slayers, 2:38.9; gold B, FLCC Dragon Spirit, 2:43.0; silver A, Abreast Deas Divas, 2:36.8; silver B, Sproat Ness Dragons, 2:43.9; bronze A, FGPC Vic Vixens, 2:43.5; bronze B, Nusa’lon Dragons, 2:33.3.

Breast cancer survivors – A, Abreast with FORT-itude, 2:31.5; B, Bust’N Loose, 2:45.1; C, The Unsinkables, 2:47.8.

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