May 14th, 2016
Between back-to-back races in 5 categories and broken paddles, BGC Stormy Dragon Andy Bancroft recounts the events for the crew at the Sun Life Stanley Warm Up Race, the first in a series of three race days to be hosted at the venue over the next few weeks…
The morning was windswept and blustery, ominous clouds loomed overhead, but Stormys was ready to compete in the Stanley Warm Up Races! The conditions during the morning heats were challenging, with a significant amount of chop splashing water into the boats. Thankfully the sun came out in the afternoon to make the semi finals and finals more enjoyable for paddlers and spectators alike.
Our mixed standard boat was the first to compete, recording the fastest time of the day and a first place finish, securing us a place in the semi finals. We saw another first place finish in the semis, putting us straight into the Gold Cup Final against the Seagods, two V Power crews, and an experiences HSBC corporate team. We had a great start off the line and led from the start, holding this first place position across the line to take the Gold Cup, beating 112 teams in the process.
The ladies standard boat also got off to an excellent start, finishing first and holding off challenges from the AWA Globe Paddlers and the French Froggies. This first place finish was repeated in the next heat, with the AWA Globe Paddlers and the Sea Cucumbers following close behind. In their final race of the day, the Stormy ladies fought hard, coming in 3rd place behind the Globe Paddlers and the Sea Cucumbers who were looking for revenge from the first two races. However, this finish was enough to secure first place overall as the results are based on points from all three races. Ladies Gold Cup Champions!
Both the ladies mini boat and the mixed mini boat categories brought us more success, with a bronze for the ladies and 5th for the mixed crews in the Gold Cup Finals. This really was a great achievement as many of the paddlers in these crews were racing in their first races ever!
The Stormy men were also in action in the mini boat category. They ran a great first race, but were guilty of giving away the lead to the Liechtenstein Navy and finished second place. However, our time got us (and 8 other teams) into the Gold Cup Final. The men were fired up for the final and were confident they could reverse the results from the first heat. We go out to a great start and were in a commanding lead when our right point man Fred Schlomann snapped his paddle. However, Fred with the utmost cool, managed to pick up the spare paddle he had placed at the front of the boat, rejoin the race (missing only 3 strokes!), and help us paddle to victory! Click here to check out Fred’s famous paddle breaking/recovery skills.