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ashby villagers on board
Story by Steve Scholl, Ashby Village Member Volunteer
A dragon boat is a long, slender, paddle-powered craft. Stepping from the dock at Berkeley Marina into such a boat caused a brief flashback to a long-ago canoe adventure. Someone (not me) foolishly stood up abruptly in mid-stream. We were all dunked. The 27 Ashby Village volunteers and friends, ranging in age from 13 to 79, who showed up on August 26 at the marina for a dragon boat experience were in far better hands. Members of DragonMax, a local club, provided equipment and an introduction to the sport. Personal Flotation Devices, aka life vests, were distributed along with paddles of suitable length. We novices learned a few commands (paddles up! take it away! hold the boat!). Following directions ensures that everyone’s efforts work toward the same goal: a smooth, efficient, and safe glide on the waters of the bay.
Speed can also be a goal. The two Ashby Village boats, with the help of a few experienced high schoolers and DragonMax members, engaged in a couple of short races. Each boat won one heat (but not by much). The Ashby Village craft also took on a dragon boat powered by UC and high school students. Despite a head start, the Villagers managed to eke out a loss. Although we lacked skill, we made up for it with zeal. Nothing stood in the way of enjoying a fine morning on the water followed by a lazy picnic on the grass. An excellent time was had by all. Many thanks to Pat Carvalho for organizing and to the DragonMax boaters and friends.