Teams are invited to apply for the Dragon Boat Festival on 8 September
Fancy taking on an ancient Chinese tradition? Being part of the fastest-growing – not to mention fun – water activity in the country?
Full of colour and beats (well, drumming), the county’s most exuberant boating event, the Cambridge Dragon Boat Festival, returns on 8 September, and you can become part of it and raise funds for charity too.
Teams across the region are starting to sign up for the day, which is now in its 14th year. Crews of up to ten people, each in 30-foot boats, will be taking part.
Complete with a drummer at the front, and a helm at the back to steer, you need plenty of team spirit, but no previous boating experience is required, as the crews battle it out along a 200-metre stretch of the River Cam out in Fen Ditton, cheered on by hundreds of spectators.
Each year the event – in terms of competitors – sells out in advance, with more than 40 crews taking part and more than £20,000 raised for charity, so don’t delay your entry.
Teams are made up of companies, organisations, clubs and groups of friends, all competing in a nail-biting river race to see who will take home the crown. Each team is guaranteed at least three races and there are trophies and medals for the top three teams.It’s all in aid of a fantastic local cause: Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT), which is the only charity dedicated to making a difference for patients at Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie hospitals
Whether it’s treatment for an emergency, acute condition, pregnancy or long-term illness, they believe that every patient deserves the highest quality of care available.
The aim of the charity is to continue to support the hospitals by raising funds for cutting-edge technology, additional specialist services, vital research and extra comforts for patients over and above what would be possible through NHS funding alone.
As well as all the action taking place on the river, there’s plenty to enjoy on the banks of the Cam, including Chinese lion dancing, children’s activities and funfair rides.
And there’s no need to decide whether to go before or after lunch if you’re planning to watch the action, as there will be a wide variety of hot and cold food and drink available, including burgers, hot drinks and ice cream.
There’s a bar too, though strictly for spectators only until the competitors have finished their races!
And to give you an incentive to be top dog not only on the water but also in terms of raising money, there’s a prize for the team that raises the most, in the shape of a sushi-making extravaganza.
The charity trophy winners will receive a private group masterclass at Cambridge Cookery, an award-winning cookery school and café. Hosted by their sushi chef, it comes complete with sake shots, wine and boxes full of delicious treats to take home.
If you fancy getting involved, visit dragonboatfestivals.co.uk/cambridge to download an entry form.
Gold and silver entry categories are available to give additional benefits compared to standard entries, and include a guaranteed team entry, and room for a slightly larger number in your team.
If you fancy getting involved, visit this link to download an entry form.
What you need to know
- Crews are up to ten paddlers, plus a drummer. Squads can be larger, up to 15 people.
- Boats can be crewed by all male, female or mixed teams.
- All crew members must be confident in cold water conditions and in moving water, wearing light clothing.
- The minimum age is 16. No prior experience required.
- Qualified helms, buoyancy aids and water safety cover are provided.
- Trophies for the top three crews, plus best mixed crew, best-dressed crew and the squad that raises the most funds.
- Standard entry is £650 plus VAT per team.
- Entries on a first come, first served basis.
- Entry fees go towards the running of the event. ACT only benefits from sponsorship in addition to standard fees.