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Calday Grange Grammar School and the Rotary Club of Mid Wirral - Dragon Boat Regatta

In aid of Bob Champion’s Cancer Charity & Calday Grange Grammar School

West Kirkby Marine Lake, Wirral - 26th April 2008

For an event so early in the year the weather Gods smiled down on 21 enthusiastic teams who raced for Bob Champions Cancer Charity and Calday Grange Grammar School.

Thanks to an extremely efficient Peter Joyce, from the Rotary Club of Mid Wirral and a partner of Weightman Bullen Architects in Liverpool, the high level of administrative preparation for the event ensured the day went like clockwork. This enabled the team registration and briefings to be completed in a record time and the races throughout the day either starting spot on time or in advance enabling an additional 'minor final' to be raced.


The day started with teams having lots of fun and getting into the swing of things only for that monster called 'competitive spirit' to arrive faster than water off a paddle blade. 


Some teams had laid down the gauntlet early on with excellent times being posted by Chiefs Challengers (Merseyside Police), Well Oiled Cogs (Church of the Good Shepherd) and a particularly fast Upper 6th form from Calday Grange. This leading pack was closely followed by Titanic, (Griffiths & Armour), Nudgers Nomads (Paul Moy Associates), Curtins Consulting Engineers (complete with Ian Smeatham and his own beautiful Ash dragon boat paddle designed for children) and Feltons Flyers (Felton Construction).


The head wind that had been pushing against the competitors during the first half of the morning died down suitably to allow the race course to be switched to run South-North rather than North-South. This favoured the teams with a slight tail wind pushing them along. Inevitably race times came tumbling down.


Calday Grange Upper 6th form had the undefeatable confidence of youth on their side and didn’t need (or want) any coaching but consistently produced poorly disciplined yet exceptional fast times. It was so unfair!!


Though the 6th formers had been performing well all day the benchmark was set by Chief’s Challengers who managed to pull the fastest recorded time. This team of high ranking Merseyside Police Officers was ably assisted by a significant GB water polo champion (who really knows how to use a paddle) and balancing good fun with a ruthless sporting efficiency, it was no wonder they were favourites to win.


In between races we had some fun with the ‘Cane Game’ and challenged both Curtins Consulting Engineers and Chiefs Challengers. The results clearly proved that engineers should stick to the 'limit state' theory and high ranking Police Officers are ridiculously tenacious. (If you want to know what the ‘cane game’ is you will have to attend one of our events.)


After some very fast times in the later rounds and with a superior power to weight advantage Calday Lower 6th form managed to scrape into the major final just ahead of Well Oiled Cogs.


The final saw a very close race between Calday Upper 6th form, Calday Lower 6th form and a well briefed Chiefs Challengers.


It was a close win for Calday Upper 6th form and a second place for Calday Lower 6th form ensuring bragging rights by the more senior of the scholars on Monday morning. Chiefs Challenge came in a very close third in what was one of the closest races of the day. Both Calday Lower 6th form and Chiefs Challengers teams were magnanimous and applauded the winning team through the boat marshalling area.


Though being a slick operation all day the event was not without its drama at the end. The information provided to the presenter of the awards showed 3rd place as winners and the winners as 3rd place. Fortunately this glitch was identified very quickly and the rightful winners celebrated in some style.


Each team was presented with an award by the Rotary Club of Mid Wirral for being the first to compete in a dragon boat race at the West Kirkby Marine Lake and for partaking in the fundraising event.


The event was extremely well organised by the good folk of the Rotary Club of Mid Wirral and the racing facilities and safety boat support provided by Simon Smith's team at the West Kirby Marine Lake was excellent and we would like to thank them all for their massive contribution to the day.


For those who participated keep your eye on the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo and Wirral TV. Both of whom had been at the event.


During the race day a paddler from Penkeths asked if they held the record for the slowest Dragon Boat on the Marine Lake. We have searched the dragon boating archives and we can now confirm that Penkeths are now officially recorded as holding this record. Congratulations! Lets see if we can speed you up for next years event!!  


The final postings of the regatta are as folows:


Finals                                                                                                                                                                     Final Time                    (Total Heats)

Major Final


1. Calday Grammar School – Upper 6th            1.10.25                               (3.33.59)


2. Calday Grammar School – Lower 6th            1.10.66                               (3.44.64)


3. Merseyside Police - Chiefs Challengers        1.11.65                              (3.36.31)


Minor Final


4. Well Oiled Cogs                                                1.12.94                              (3.45.70)


5. Griffiths & Armour – Titantic                             1.13.33                              (3.45.56)


6. PMA – Nudgers Nomads                                 1.13.97                              (3.48.71)




7. Curtins                                                                                                           (3.49.07)


8. West Kirby Residential School –                                                                (3.49.54)


9. Weightman & Bullen – Weightman Water Rats                                        (3.49.65)


10. Rok – Don’t Rok the Boat                                                                         (3.53.91)


11. Hoylake & West Kirby Round Table                                                         (3.59.97)


12. Calday Grammar School – The No Hopers                                            (4.00.89)


13. Glencairn Dental Practice – Glencairn Gnashers                                  (4.03.48)


14. Lock & Keymaster – Locks & Quays                                                      (4.05.48)


15. Maxwell Hodge – Marvellous Maxwells                                                   (4.08.58)


16. Felton Construction – Felton Flyers                                                         (4.10.67)


17. Griffiths & Armour – G&A Dragons                                                          (4.12.99)


18. Calday Grammar School – The Magic Dragon                                      (4.15.51)


19. Calday Grammar School - A Grand Legacy                                           (4.15.59)


20. Penkeths                                                                                                     (4.33.20)


21. Calday Rugby Club – Fleggies Finest                     (only took part in two heats)


Well done to all teams and please do keep that charity money rolling in!


Thanks to all and we hope to see you all next year!!!!



                   Curtins Consulting Engineers Dragon Boat Event

in aid of Clare House Childrens Hospice

Liverpool Water Sports Centre 15th July 2007

Race report:


Sixteen teams of construction industry related professionals and families from across Liverpool descended on the Liverpool Water Sports Centre for a day of Dragon Boat Racing and side attractions including face painting, clown/magician/balloon sculptor, giant buzz wire and witnessing the amazing never ending queue at the ‘scran van’.


Sponsored by Curtins Consulting Engineers a select collection of Liverpool’s finest Architects, Engineers, Contractors, Accountants, Solicitors, Project Managers, Insurance Brokers, Bankers and Housing Association braved the potential torrential rain and thundery showers, which thankfully never arrived, to raise funds for Clare House Children’s Hospice.  


Each team arrived full of excitement and enthusiasm to sample the oriental delight that is Dragon Boat Racing. It is always a pleasure for 4 Dragons to provide racing to teams full of  fun and energy.


We could tell the crews were entering into the spirit of the day when a team Captain was overheard providing a history lesson to his team on the origins of Dragon Boat Racing. Serious stuff indeed! It turned out so was the competitive nature of most teams.


Many of the participants were from the construction industry, a dynamic and determined world of idealists, realists, dreamers or chancers (you can make your own mind up who goes where), but like all professionals what they all share in common is an innate competitiveness and yen for continuous improvement.


It was clear from very early on that each team had a dogged determination to go faster and faster. It is testament to the teams and each individual member that this was well balanced with the fun side of the event. By the second round of racing teams were requesting private coaching consultations in between racing. Serious stuff indeed!


Dragon Boat Racing is a social event and the racing element is normally punctuated by periods of ‘active rest’ and ‘socialising’ in between. Evidently the attraction of the ‘scran van’ queue tended to be the preferred choice of ‘active rest’ in between races. A hungry lot are construction professionals. Curtins showed amazing foresight (and generosity) here to offer a bacon sandwich to all competitors at the start of the event.


As the day progressed teams developed into well oiled machines and race times came tumbling with fastest times being posted and broken again nearly every other race. It transpired that positions for the minor final and major final depended upon the last few races of the third round.  


The overall points score saw a very disappointed team from SEP miss out by a fraction of a second to make seventh place and miss out on a place in the minor final. Given their excellent racing during the day it was shame they missed out by just enough to feel like it was being rubbed in every time someone mentioned it.


The minor final contained winners The Riverside Group (Riverside Roof Raisers), ROK ('Don't Rok the Boat') in second and  Brock Carmichael ('Norfolk and Chance') in third place.


The major final contained Markham David Kirby, Curtins Consulting Engineers and Laing O’Rourke. Each and every person determined to win. Psyched up by ‘We’re gonna fly now’ from the Rocky soundtrack each paddler from each team knew they had the potential to win this final and they were damned if they were going to lose!  


This race lived up to a major final status and was really close all the way. Flying down the course to Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ and a dodgy race commentary every spectator could see the effort and tenacity in the face of each weary armed paddler. The paddlers had all worked so hard but were all still neck and neck with no clear winner evident throughout the duration of the race; it was  definitely a head game as much as muscle mass.


The last fifty metres showed that this race was so tight the winner would be decided by which team pulled on their paddle at the right time to edge them over the finish line first.


That team was Laing O’Rourke in a record time of 1.44, some six seconds faster than their previous fastest time. Second place was awarded to Curtins Consulting Engineers (or ‘Curtins Trusted Rafters’ as they were known) in another amazing time of 1:45, again six seconds faster than their previously posted times. In third place was Markhams David Kirby with a time of 1.46, yup some six seconds faster than their previous fastest posted time.


Determined effort from all teams in the final had ensured amazing times that would have put two clear boat lengths between them and the fastest times posted earlier in the day.


Curtins provided glass trophies for each participating team and a special winners trophy with medals for the winning team.


Well done to all teams!


Curtin's Consulting Engineers - 'Curtins Trusted Rafters'

Griffiths & Armour - 'The Jolly Rogers'

ROK Group - 'Don't ROK the Boat'

SB&P - 'Sinking Boats and Paddles'

Weightman and Bullen - 'Weightman Water Rats'

Markhams and David Kirby Architects - 'Markhams David Kirby '


Felton Construction - 'Felton'

Hill Dickinson - 'The Row So Solid Crew'

Hill Dickinson - 'Dragonbehind'

HSBC - 'Shanghai Express'

The Riverside Group - 'Riverside Roof Raisers'

Laing O'Rourke - 'Laing O'Rourke'

Bluestone Construction - 'Bluestone Splashers'

Ainsley Gommon Architects - 'Ainsley Gommon Architects'

Brock Carmichael Associates - 'Norfork 'n Chance'

Our sincere thanks go to Curtins Consulting Engineers and Rob Melling for having the foresight and generosity to sponsor this event and to all of the teams for making the day such a pleasurable and fun event!


Specific thanks also go to Emma, Paula and John of Curtins Consulting Engineers who helped put the event together.  


Pledges for Clare House Childrens Hospice are still being collated and the delightful Emma Davies from Curtins Consulting Engineers would appreciate any and all donations asap.


We hope you all enjoyed the day as much as we did and we would love to see you back at one of our events in the future!


Syd, Barb, Mal and Dave - 4 Dragons

15th July 2007

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