The BCS Slow Boat to China does us proud!
Sunday 8:30 am on the 1st July saw a number of cold wet and tired strangers braving potential ridicule to come together as a staunch crew of Dragon Boaters under the BCS banner. It is a tale of passion, of bravery, and of sacrifice (I didn't get a lie-in)...
Of the seventeen carefully chosen crew members (chosen by virtue of having emailed first), an astonishing seventeen showed up on this blustery morning. After a bit of milling around, as we didn't have our own shelter, we naturally gravitated to the restaurant being set up in a marquee next to the Royal Albert Dock in London at this event that marked the tenth anniversary of Hong Kong being handed to China.
There, the crew donned their very own BCS Slow Boat to China t-shirts and were formed up in two rows. Passers by were astonished to hear the shouts of "ONE, TWO! ONE, TWO!" emanate from the restaurant as we practiced imaginary rowing. It was a sight to behold. As only four of us had ever been in a Dragon Boat before, we knew we were going to be up against it. Hong managed to talk a couple of the Typhoon Tigers Dragon Boat club into giving us a few pointers; this was all the preparation that the brave BCS crew were going to have.
After a seemingly endless wait, we finally heard our team name over the tannoy and raced to the preparation area - this was it! Getting into a boat proved to be a bit of a challenge itself, but it was eventually accomplished without even Gordon Chong falling in. Once out on the water, we realised that we in with a chance as we came first in the race! Sadly, the heats were to find the top six fastest times and, while we managed to come tenth out of nineteen non-club teams, that just didn't cut the mustard.
However, it was a mighty achievement for a group of people who didn't know each other or which way round a Dragon Boat was supposed to face, and the BCS is rightfully proud of their efforts. Not only that, but the only team that sank during the whole event was the eventual winning team from the Yi Ban sponsor restaurant, and not us - go, Slow Boat to China!!
A lot of interest has been received in making this at least a yearly event, and we would love to do it again - let us know if you're interested and we may even be able to organise a couple of training sessions...
John Cameron, Gordon Chong, Tess Lam, Sandra To, Jia Nee Seow, Howie Yoong, Billy Wong, Jung Wan, Savastin Ramandh, Paul Marsh, Alan Yau, Hui Huang, Luke Jackson, Rob Kirkham, Peter "Taff" Sgorlon, Wai Sing, and the Drummer: Alan Lau