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Local dragon boaterss heading to Lake Banook

AMHERST – Two local dragon boat teams who did not get to compete at HarbourFest in Pugwash this summer will soon have their chance at Lake Banook.

The Believers, showing off their team T-shirts at HarbourFest in Pugwash last month, will be one of two Cumberland County teams traveling to Lake Banook in Dartmouth on Sept. 20 for a day of friendly dragon boat competition with The Dragon Beasts.

Both The Believers and Team Y Not will travel to the Dartmouth paddling centre for a friendly showdown with the Dragon Beasts, a Dartmouth-based team that had served as supporters and suppliers, and were also slated to compete at HarbourFest.

The Dragon Beasts represent Dragon Boat East, the company which was hired to supply the boats, set the course, provide the equipment and manpower for the Pugwash. Together with the YMCA, which was the community partner for the event, they decided the weather was to unsafe to hold the event on the Aug. 9 weekend.

“We decided between them and us that cancellation was our only option, however they did invite any teams that were supposed to participate in that event, to Lake Banook on Sept. 20,” said Laura Coleman, member of Team Y Not. “There were quite a few teams that still wanted to paddle despite the event in Pugwash, so it was really nice that they offered to do that.”

Only two teams answered the challenge: Team Y Not, comprised of Cumberland YMCA members, and The Believers, made up of cancer survivors, family and friends. Both teams will travel to Dartmouth on Sept. 20 for a day of friendly competition and fun on the water.

Whereas the Pugwash event had been a fundraiser for the YMCA, this day will just be for fun.

“Canceling Pugwash was certainly disappointing, but we definitely felt it was well received all around, and everyone understood,” said Coleman. “Part of the point of it as well as to be in the community, outreach and bring awareness to the Pugwash harbour, which we felt it did even though we weren’t actually able to compete.”

While hoping for nice weather, Coleman said she expects the conditions on the lake will be less likely to force cancellation than on the ocean

The teams were well practiced, read and excited for Pugwash, and have since had to carry on and maintain that momentum for six additional weeks. They have competed at other regattas this year, but will have their work cut out for them against the Dragon Beasts, who practice three times a week.

“This makeup day is just for fun,” she said. “It’s just three teams playing on the water together. It’s not so much a competition but is just all about paddling and having a good time with the team, supporting each other. That’s what paddling is all about.”

Twitter: @ADNandrew

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