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August 11, 2012
The Third Annual Dragon Boat Festival has drawn 21 teams to compete in Saturday’s races, but plans to practice in the river on Friday were thwarted by the weather. Conditions proved to be too much for the long skinny dragon boats. Even in the best of conditions, the low freeboard can make for a wet ride.Some teams did venture out on to the Neuse Friday, but those that did soon found their boats swamped. That’s why the practices Friday evening took place on land.(Jerry Dasson Photo)
At least two teams did venture out on Friday, only to have the rollicking waves swamp their boats.
Because of that, the organizers beached the boats at the Oriental Town Beach and had the teams practice there rather than in the water. That made for a lot of simulation, and anticipation for the real thing, in the water, on Saturday.
Some scenes from the Friday night dry run.Half a dozen teams are made up entirely of Marines from Cherry Point. This team is called The Immortals. They practiced on the beach, flipping their paddles upside-down as they simulated paddling water.While there will be 6 teams made up entirely of Cherry Point Marines, there were also Marines filling out other team rosters. Here, the Neuse Riverkeeper’s team, with a few “embedded” Marines, practice paddling Friday evening. It wasn’t water they were pushing with their paddles (as a wider view of the boat will show…)The Neuse Riverkeeper team.Robert Romano, of Pan Am, the company facilitating the race, leads the team from Potash, Corp through the paces. Which, in Friday’s circumstances, meant pushing sand rather than water with teh paddles.Drummer, facing her 20 crewmates on the Potash Corp team.Jan Montero, who works with Pan Am company which provides the dragon boats for competitions such as this, starts to coach another team at Oriental’s Town Beach Friday night. .Aft end of a dragon boat that was on the Oriental Town Beach. In background, the lively Neuse. The wind and chop forced the Friday night practice on to the beach.