Dragons Abreast Northern Tasmania Inc (DANTI) aka DA Launceston, are invited to St Helens on the east coast of Tasmania each Australia Day weekend to participate in their Regatta. We normally take our one 20 seater boat, and do demonstration paddles around Georges Bay, as well as taking out any members of the public who would like to “come and try”. In 2016 however, we were offered the use of two ten seater boats that had been made by the Deloraine Dragon Boat Club, the Deloraine Flames.
This became a great opportunity to take out a lot more of the public and over the course of the day we managed to cater for over 30 new paddlers in the boats. As a result, a committee has been formed in St.Helens to start a Dragon Boat Club. While this will be a community club, not a DA club, the committee have indicated that any breast cancer survivors who wish to join will be warmly welcomed and will be encouraged to join DAA as individuals.
With two boats on the water, of course, the challenge was thrown out to RACE. The organisers of the Regatta very quickly jumped in and announced “the first ever dragon boat race on Georges Bay. Come down to the foreshore and cheer them on”. It was a close race and I have to say I was quite pleased to be in the winning boat.
St. Helens is a beautiful part of Tasmania, and it was a treat to be out on the water of the bay with the sounds of the Regatta floating out from the beach and foreshore, and surrounded by wooded hills overlooking the bay on a sunny day, in two hand built dragon boats.
Our sweeps did a fantastic job as both Paul and Peter (sounds rather biblical doesn’t it) were suffering from injuries, but with the assistance of trainee sweep Neil, they managed to go out onto the bay around ten times during the day. Peter and Neil are Deloraine Flames and it was Neil who masterminded the building of the two boats. Many thanks to the Flames on all counts.
Jenny from our Club offered to take the raffle tickets around the crowds and as Jenny is rather hyper active and great fun, she sold the whole lot in three hours. Guess what her role in the club is now.
Our DA stall attracted a lot of attention, as we are also known as the Tamar Tittilaters. We had four or five of our newer Club members at the Regatta and they all jumped into the excitement of the event, helping and organizing and have become a wonderful asset to the Club. All of our Club members are superb when it comes to working on the day of an event, many thanks to them all.
On the following morning, Sunday, the remaining Club members jumped into one boat and paddled right around the edge of the coastline to Stieglitz and back across the open waters of the bay to finish off a superb weekend of camaraderie and fun.
We are now hoping that the St.Helens Dragon Boat Club will be on the water next January to contend for the Regatta Dragon Boat Race.
DAA Co-ordinator, DANTI (DA Launceston)