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Dragon Boat Victoria WTC Wharf Cup

20 Nov 2012

Dragon Boat Victoria WTC Wharf Cup Image

By Melissa O’Brien

Spectators were treated to a great day of dragon boat racing for the annual WTC Wharf Cup on Sunday, November 18. 11 Victorian clubs competed with a chilly southerly along the river and a rare bend in the racecourse, making for some spectacular racing conditions.

All race events were held over the 200 metre sprint distance, which made for fast and furious action.  While a curved racecourse made for some interesting challenges for sweeps who steer these two tonne dragons, it just added to the drama for the crowd that watched.

Perched on the banks of the Yarra River and located in Melbourne’s most recently developed waterfront precinct, the WTC Wharf Hotel provided an impressive backdrop for team colours to be displayed along the riverbank. Hotel patrons were able to enjoy a unique style of entertainment from the outdoor deck area.

The origins of Dragon Boat racing dates back over 2000 years, when poet Qu Yuan is believed to have drowned himself in the Mei Lo river to protest against a corrupt government. Legend has it that the town’s people raced to the river in their fishing boats and beat the water with paddles to ward off evil spirits and so that the fish would stay away from Qu Yuan’s body.

The modern sport of dragon boat racing is the fastest growing in Australia.  A dragon boat crew consists of 10-20 paddlers seated in pairs, along with a sweep who steers from the stern of the boat and a drummer who from their position perched on the bow, beats a drum to the paddlers’ strokes. A dragon boat is eight metres long, adorned with a dragon’s head and tail for racing and weighs up to 2.5 tonnes when fully loaded.

Dragon Boat Victoria is the governing body for the sport in Victoria, with Melbourne based clubs predominately training from Shed 2, North Wharf Rd, Docklands.  During peak season you can see dragon boats training on Victoria Harbour most days.  If you’re interested in joining a team, check out the website at

This year the WTC Wharf Hotel perpetual trophy was presented to the Melbourne Flames.  Following the presentation, sponsor the Wharf Hotel treated very appreciative paddlers to complimentary drinks.

The next event at the WTC Wharf is the Annual Chinese New Year regatta on February 17, 2013. 

Check out the website for more information, including the dates and locations of all 2012/13 Victorian dragon boat racing regattas.

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