Barcelona International Dragon Boat Festival

17-19th May 2024

The team managers report following our trip to compete in the 5th edition of the Barcelona International Dragon Boat Festival.
On the Friday we had practice in 2x 10 man boats.We ran through some race starts and drills before paddling down to the 500m start line …it looked a long way to the finish line from there! It was interesting that the boats were very new and the seats still had shiny varnish on them which made them made them slippery to sit on! We had to anchor ourselves really well to our seats so as not to rock the boat.

On Friday evening we had the opening ceremony for the 900 competitors taking part from 40 teams and 15 different nationalities. There were 26 breast cancer survivor teams. This festival has grown each year.

The parade was in the Olympic stands and the dragon they used this time was even bigger than last year complete with fireworks attached. Allen, our helm and Angie as team manager were the flag bearers.

The next morning we had our first race 500m women’s master race scheduled for 8:10 am (which was actually 7:10 back in the UK!!). A bit of a shock to the system but in true Pink Champagne style we rose to the challenge.

All races were timed and the fastest times after 2 races went through to the finals the next day. Race conditions were pretty wet…actually it was pouring down as we got into the boats and we got soaked…strangely it made us relax as we saw the funny side…it felt like home from home except the rain and water were warm!

The race was challenging but we kept a good pace and timing was pretty good too.

Our next race was at 10:10 and the rain has stopped by then.But the wind was picking up and the helms were starting to have problems lining up.

There was a capsize but luckily not us…well done to our helms for keeping us upright!

Race 1…2:51 :54. We were 4th in our heat… a very respectable time….winning time was 2:29:12

Race 2…2:56:85. We were 2nd in our heat….winning time was then the conditions had changed and it was windy.

There were 9 teams in the masters ladies 500m category and after our 2 races we qualified for the final the next day after coming 5th overall. 6 teams went through to the final.

After a short lunch break we were in the 200m of the masters women races 12db. There were 18 crews in this category.
The fastest time from both rounds qualified teams for the finals. Neither of our teams qualified for the final but both gave a good account of themselves and gave it their all. The start conditions were very tricky and our newer ladies who haven’t been to a competition before saw just how difficult things can get.

Sunday was BCS racing in the morning. There were 5 rounds of racing and 26 teams entered. PC 1 qualified for the final with the second fastest time of the day behind Lusa Rosa. Pink Champagne 2 came 9th and narrowly missed qualifying for the bcs consolation race which was a disappointment.

Our team PC1 came second in the final 200m race, earning a silver medal. A very proud moment to do this well out of the 26 team taking part in that race.

We finished our racing by being in the final of the master women’s 500m which had been run the previous day. It was a great race and a fitting end to our racing weekend. We romped in at the back but pipped another BCS team 3 seconds ahead of them to make 5th place.

Following the racing on the Sunday was the flower ceremony. Always an emotional time to remember those lost to this devastating disease. Karen was invited to speak with another paddler who was Spanish. Karen spoke very eloquently and did us proud! A truly moving and poignant reminder that for all the pettiness and disagreements that occur in the world of competitive sport this is what binds us all together and also puts life into perspective.