CHINANOW LSA THEME YEAR
Center for Chinese Studies
1st U-M Dragon Boat Challenge, Sept 30, 2007
Dragon Boats 101: What Every Participant Needs to Know
Each crew must have a maximum of 20 paddlers in the boat plus 1 drummer. (4 additional
names can be listed on the roster as spares.)
You must be ready for marshalling 40 minutes prior to your race. Guaranteed minimum 2 races
per crew. The 3rd race features the top 8 teams. Each race from boarding to disembarking lasts about
12 minutes. Paddling during the race is less than 3 minutes.
Race Day Schedule will be provided a week before the races for the 1st heat.
Mandatory 1-hour practice sessions at Gallup (Old Picnic Shelter):
Friday, Sept. 28th 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 29th 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Team captains sign up (first-come, first-serve). Introduction to dragon boats and racing techniques. Mark
your team practice time on the Individual Form and Waiver. If you cannot make your team time, select
times that you are available and you will practice with other participants. Arrive 20 minutes -1/2 hour
prior to practice. Your left-or right-handedness will determine the side of the boat on which you paddle.
Event T-shirts will be distributed at the practice sessions.
It is advisable to arrive at least one hour before your first race to meet your team and warm up.
Group Tai-chi will be offered at 9:00 am on the day of the race.
Transportation will be provided by U-M Bus Service (see Transportation for details). As this is a green
event, carpooling and bicycling are encouraged. Parking will be available at Huron High School and
Briarwood Mall (near Sears). Bike racks will be available at Gallup Park.
Meet your team at the designated "Team Tent" in Gallup Park (beyond the Old Picnic Shelter).
Consider bringing lawn chairs and water bottles. An extra change of clothes, shoes, and towel is
recommended. All personal belongings should be contained in a bag or back-pack and are the
responsibility of the owner.
Lunches will be provided for all team participants.
Wear clothing that resists moisture; do not wear flip flops—aquasocks are recommended.
Portajohns will be located throughout the park.
Race Distance and Judging:
Mixed division: 350-400 meters
Electronic finish with video replay
Race officials from Great White North (GWN) www.gwndragonboat.com
Equipment & Safety:
All necessary equipment is provided: paddles and boats for practices and races as well as CCG
approved PFDs (portable flotation devices).
For safety on the water, participants should follow the buddy rule.
Absolutely no alcohol while participating in the races. GWN is under liability and will stop the
races if they suspect any alcohol or drug use.
How fast should I paddle?
The start is everything—for the first 18 seconds of the race, paddle fiercely.
The entire crew paddles together, however, not one or two individuals. Think "synchronicity."
"Keep your head in the boat"—meaning focus when you are paddling. The actual paddling time for
racing is only about 2 ½-3 minutes.
How should I sit in the boat?
Walk down the center of the boat, never on the seats to get to your seat position.
You will be sitting in very close proximity to rowers around you.
Your Dragon Boat will barely skim above the water's surface. You will get wet.
The four calmest and coolest paddlers are best placed in the front of the Dragon.
The eight most powerful paddlers are best placed in the "engine," the middle.
The remaining four and skillful paddlers are best placed in the back.
Can I tell who is winning?
When watching the races and trying to predict the winner, be aware of the parallax effect – the
appearance that the boat on the inside lane is coming up faster than it actually is.
How can people recognize our team?
Build team spirit and make spectators easily root for your team with a group "look". Be creative -
select team colors, color t-shirts, arm bands, or other costuming profiles. Face painting opportunities
(Chinese characters, opera-style face patterns) will also be available at Gallup.
Who can paddle?
Racing is open to all men and women. You are allowed 26 people on your roster including the
steersperson provided by GWN, which gives you room for one drummer and 4 spare paddlers.
Do we need our own boat?
No, GWN supplies the dragon boats both for practices and for racing.
Do we need our own paddles and PDFs (lifejackets)?
No, GWN supplies paddles and PDFs at both practice sessions and at the race site.
Do we need our own steersperson?
No, GWN will assign a steersperson to your crew. This skilled position is an important part of your team.
They not only steer the boat but also assist the team and/or drummer in calling the race commands.
What should I wear for paddling?
Wear comfortable clothing that does not absorb or hold moisture. Tighter fitting clothes are more
appropriate than a baggy fit that will catch water and drag. Be as light as possible on the boat. Fabrics
such as Dryfit or Coolmax are recommended. Do not wear flip flops. Try aquasocks instead. Bringing a dry
change of clothes for after practice (and racing) is also recommended.