Don’t panic, just fall out naturally!
A dragon boat falling over with a team of Barracudas in had never happened until a brisk evening on our little Yorkshire reservoir!
Why did we do it you say?
Dragon boats in general very rarely fall over, they are pretty stable beasts who like to glide over the water as opposed to be swimming in it and that generally is the same for its crew.
BUT it does happen and it happens fast. It can be mere seconds and the dragon and 22 of its crew are deposited into the murky depths.
Let’s also be honest we are not in the Mediterranean most of the bodies of water in the UK are cold in particular up North where “Winter is always coming” and southerners have to go out and buy “A big coat” before crossing the border.
Bradford Barracudas are also a new crew and for most, their only experience of immersion in water is the local swimming baths and that relaxing one they have when they get home from a hard sessions training.
Capsizing a dragon boat in my opinion is probably the most dangerous part of the sport, cold water shock, entrapment under the boat are just some of the risks.
Talking through the drill and watching videos is all well and good, but the team are not out of their comfort zone watching a video and listening to coach say this is what you will do. They are when they experience it.
I can guarantee every person in that dragon never experienced water as cold as what they did that brisk Tuesday evening. I imagine some had never experienced anything like that at all.
We did all the prep as a team; we went over the plan several times, key people where positioned in the boat where they needed to be, coach with her ever watchful eye was on the safety boat.
Ok one more practise of numbers and over we go!!
It was fast, it was cold but every single person in that dragon pulled together they found their buddy they stayed with the boat, they numbered off LOUD and they safely got our 'Betty' and her crew to the side.
Is Bradford Barracudas now a more experienced team than before? Hell yes and not just in the way that they have experienced a capsize, but they have experienced first-hand that even when the everyone in the team is completely out of their comfort zone they have each other’s backs!
Well done team
Louise (Bradford Barracuda's Coach)
WATCH THE CAPSIZE DRILL HERE>>>