'A dragon’s whisker' is the measurement used by Chief Petty Officer Linda Eddington to describe the narrow margin between the HMAS Albatross team and the winners of the 2015 Nowra Dragon Boat Regatta.
The annual event provides the opportunity for community based teams and competing sports teams to race in 200m races and clubs come from Sydney and Canberra to race against local clubs while showcasing the sport of dragon boating on the spectacular Shoalhaven River.
“It’s very much a family fun day and this year’s excellent weather encouraged an even bigger and more enthusiastic range of both participants and spectators,” Chief Petty Officer Eddington said.
After a week of wet windy weather, calm water and sunshine greeted the twenty eager paddlers in the Albatross team as they arrived for an early morning start.
“The team comprised of a good cross section of the Albatross community with a number of team members new to the activity having never tried paddling before,” Chief Petty Officer Eddington said.
“The only pre-requisite to join the team was to be prepared to have fun, smile and be enthusiastic and open to trying something new.”
Eleven teams competed in the Community Section with Leading Seaman Rico Samon and Chief Petty Officer David Eddington taking charge of the Albatross team onboard while Leading Seaman Joanne Bullock led the support team and provided valuable encouragement from the side line.
After a shaky start and some trouble with timing and technique in the first race the team took a distant third place with a time of 1.21 seconds for the 200m.
The team then took time out to review their performance.
“We regrouped, shifted some positions around and reworked he engine room in the boat which had some very positive results,” coach, Chief Petty Officer David Eddington said.
“This definitely improved our technique and timing in the second race and Albatross produced the fastest time in the community section of the regatta by seven seconds which booked us a seat in the grand final."
The grand final of four boats was hotly contested with a very narrow margin of one second separating first to third place.
“We came second to the winning Crossfit team by a very fine dragons whisker," said Chief Petty Officer Linda Eddington.
HMAS Albatross has supported the regatta for the past three years and both Chief Petty Officers Eddington said they’ll definitely be back and going for gold in 2016.
“We were all very happy with our silver medal position but we also enjoyed being part of such a fantastic community event where fun and fitness are the real winners on the day.”