CROWDS gathered by the banks of Chichester Canal at the weekend to witness the city’s second dragon boat race – and competition was fierce.
A number of rounds and races throughout the day saw eight different teams taking part from the area and all were seeking to attain the glorious position of race-day winners.
Ultimately the accolade went to Chichester-based publishing company, John Wiley and Sons Ltd.
Dragon boat captain Tim Man said he was stunned after their win.
“It’s a real mismatch of a team,” he said after collecting his winner’s medal from new Chichester mayor Alan Chaplin.
“At the last minute we managed to get a team together and got a few family and friends.”
“I’m still in shock,” he added.
When asked if they would be back to defend their crown next year, his answer was definite.
“Yes. I think we have to. We might be a bit more organised, but we’ve got a strong core and you don’t have to be butch and burly guys to win.”
The race was organised by the Rotary Club of Chichester Priory, in conjunction with local charity Cancerwise and the Chichester Ship Canal Trust. The money raised this year by the race is yet to be counted, but the event last year raised around £11,000.
John Watkins, of the rotary club, said he had already received numerous calls from people saying how well the event had gone and enquiring about entering teams for next year.
“That’s really pleasing,” he said.
“Working with Cancerwise as our partner is fantastic because it’s nice to actually physically work with a charity and give them money.
“It’s been a real team effort because the canal trust has been superb to work with.”
The Chichester Ship Canal Trust entered its own team into the race – The Ugly Ducklings.
“It’s a real community event,” Mr Watkins added, and praised the number of companies from the city who entered teams. The junior section of the race saw a final battle between the 1st Barnham Scouts and the 2nd Bognor Boy Scouts, with Barnham narrowly triumphing and claiming the junior medal.
For more information about the dragon boat race and to enter a team for next year visit www.chichesterdragonboats.org.uk