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Our seventh season, news for June, July and August 2014

Gorgeous weather and conditions for the last August paddle for this year. 31st. August, 2014

John helms LUcy at Low Wood
On a mirror-like Windermere with John helming the morning crew tried to remember all the important things from the coaching sessions last week. Check the video and see if they managed it!
Paddling August 31st, 2014 from Paddlers for Life on Vimeo.

In the afternoon the wind had sprung up a little and Diet helmed while Rob videoed our race starts and 200m paddles. You can see one here.
Paddling 31st August 2014 from Paddlers for Life on Vimeo.

Some paddlers ended the afternoon jumping into Windermere in a variant of the 'Ice bucket challenge', this in lieu of the capsize trial which had to be postponed.
Some photos in the gallery.

Two hard working coaching sessions with Keni.
24th. August, 2014

Bad weather postponed this coaching session from earlier in the month but the weather was finally more settled and Keni certainly put the crews through their paces as some of them prepare for the International Festival in Sarasota. In the process Sarah got signed off as a helm and did so skillfully as Keni coached us through various activities including techniques to improve paddling skills, race starts and 200m and 500m race routines.

Coaching, 24th. August, 2014 from Paddlers for Life on Vimeo.

August continues with its rain while Paddlers for Life is filmed.
10th. August, 2014

As the remains of hurricane Bertha dropped copious amounts of Atlantic water as rain into Windermere Judy's daughter Sian and three friends filmed paddlers as they went through one of their regular training sessions. There were interviews for some members and both boats, helmed by Chris and Peter, were filmed going through their paces. Maybe the final product will be used to promote the activities of Paddlers for Life, Windermere.
Sian films Paddlers for Life

Welcome to August
with its rain and winds...

Peter helmed Artemis Phyllis with his usual skill and confidence while a crew of stalwart paddlers braved the wet and windy conditions with him. With clear explanations and instructions he took the crew through some stroke 'skill building' and 'stamina pyramids' followed by exercises around different race start options such as a 'rolling' race start. Paddlers also practiced boat manouvering for the race start moving the boat forwards and backwards and drawing left and right to maintain a race start position on the line. The session finished with a couple of 500 metre set pieces. Peter had to work hard to find calmer water but as we came into the slipway to finish the wind dropped and the rain stopped.

BBC invite back Paddlers for Life Windermere
to Re-unite with Participants from the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Pageant,
13th. and 14th. July, 2014

The BBC announced an invitation to Paddlers for Life Windermere to re-unite with participants from the 3 June 2012 Queen's Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames. They predicted some mysterious features to the 13-14 July 2014 visit to London, not giving much away.

The interviews filmed on day one covered breast cancer survivors paddling, the logistics needed to launch the dragon boats on the River Thames and, of course, that royal salute which was worked on so conscientiously! Talking about the weather was a highlight, too. Remember the cats and dogs it rained! Curiously, none of the other interviewees and participants was anywhere to be seen. I was told to wait… until the following day.

The invitation appeared totally out of the blue and was an immense opportunity. I was shocked and surprised to discover that Paddlers for Life were one of just four Pageant vessels chosen out of over a thousand to be interviewed. Never posing a risk that the audience will be disappointed, we always tell a great story! 

On day two I was re-united with Pageant participants, Geoff, Mark and George. Charged emotions, joy, compassion and awe rose as they retold their astonishing stories. The glorious warm and sunny day presented a boat trip next on the itinerary - not just any boat trip.

The Havengore, selected to carry members of the Royal Family as part of jubilee celebrations in the flotilla, welcomed us aboard. Members of the Royal Family who embarked on the Havengore for the Thames pageant were The Duke of York, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, The Earl and Countess of Wessex, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. If that wasn't enough, Rebecca, from the famous, very drenched (remember, it rained cats and dogs) jubilee choir, sang 'Land of Hope and Glory' as the Havengore sailed beneath Tower Bridge. The visiting crowds above roared and cheered their approval, just like on the day of the Pageant.

It was like being taken back in time. I could feel the lump in my throat. The movement of the boat, views of London's landmarks and the cheering crowds made the Pageant experience all so very real once again.

The TV director asked me what is the legacy, today, for Paddlers for Life two years since the 2012 Diamond Jubilee Pageant? I said we aim to improve access to the unique experience of dragon boating, after facing breast cancer, to as many people as possible across the UK. Our message is, "Yes, you can do this, too."
Report from Louisa.

Visitors to Paddlers for Life, Windermere.
27th. July, 2014
Two full boats were out with visitors from Paddlers for Life, Manchester getting some extra training prior to their visit tio Sarasota in October. We also had two paddlers from Preston getting some tips and training for a dragon boat event at Preston Dock and a visitor who used to paddle with Pink Champagne in Dorset. Diet and Peter coped well with some blustery NW winds which made for interesting helming and paddling. This did not stop paddlers from practicing stroke technique, stamina building and race start practices.

Paddlers for Life meet the public at a Brockhole 'Come and Try' day.
13th. July, 2014
BrockholeCome and Try Day
Sue P-J organised the third visit by Paddlers for Life, Windermere to our neighbours on Windermere at Brockhole, the Lake District Visitor Centre. John and Peter helmed Artemis Phyllis for three sessions with members of the public fitting into the crews and learning the basics of paddling as well as a bit of practice at race starts.

A sunny July paddle 6th. July, 2014

It was a gorgeous summery July day and two boats out on the calm morning Windermere water. Just the day for a trip north to the Wateredge Inn for refreshments with Chris and Peter helming. In the afternoon there were again enough paddlers for two boats and a chance for a couple of newer paddlers to begin to develop their skills.

Windermere Solstice Paddle, 21st June, 2014

In a change from recent solstice events, Windermere looked like a mid-summer solstice should be with balmy temperatures, sunshine and calm conditions with a light NW wind. With Barbara drumming, Peter helming and Rob in the support boat a crew of sixteen paddlers set off from the start at Wateredge at 11-00 am.

Following a mile paddle to the start and guided by Peter we set off for the 10.5 mile paddle down to Fell Foot at the southern tip of Windermere. Our steady rhythmic paddling carried us down past White Cross Bay, Bowness, Belle Isle and beyond crossing the ferry path to the southern reaches of Windermere.
Peter's sequential rests for Paddlers interspersed with active pushes of 80%, 90% and 100% in bursts of 20, 30, 40 then 50 stroke sequences saw us approach the finishing line with a final 750 metre push. A last effort of a 100 metre dash at full power and we crossed the line at 1 hour and 59 minutes with the aid of a few 'Jelly Babies' and 'Bon Bons' along the way.

Rob towed Phyllis back to Low Wood Bay with the help of a small group of paddlers.
Paddlers felt this was a very satisfying result on a very enjoyable day on Windermere.

The Grand Dragons borrowed 'Lucy' to complete the paddle in a record 1 hour and 14 minutes and then paddled her back to Low Wood!

Paddlers for Life paddlers and family members success in Great North Swim
14th. June, 2014

Congratulations to Rowena and Jonathan, Vicky and Scott, Steve and Andrew. They successfully completed the Great North Swim 2014 1 mile event at Low Wood Bay, Windermere.
Conditions were a warm 17.5 degrees and relatively calm allowing some swimmers to significantly improve previous times.
Successful Great North Swim swimmers 2014

'Dotting the Eyes' of 'Artemis Phyllis' and 'Lucy at Low Wood', 1st June, 2014
In our seventh season, here we are again performing this traditional ceremony to awaken our dragons so they can watch over us. Lynn explained some of the early history of dragon boats and the origins of the ceremony. Roz and Barbara (on behalf of Eunice) painted the eyes of our dragons with Bill throwing buckwheat on the water and Peter burning 'hell money'. These are all parts of this tradition described here.
Barbara ddots the eyes of Lucy at Low Wood dragon boat.
Barbara 'dots the eyes' of Lucy at Low Wood.

Roz 'dots the eyes' of Artemis Phyllis

Roz performed the honours for Artemis Phyllis

Bill throws buckwheat on the water.

Bill threw buckwheat on the water to distract the fish from eating Qu Yuan.

Peter burns the 'Hell Money'.

Peter burnt 'Hell Money' to provide for the afterlife by appeasing the spirits.

Beating the water in the dragon boat eye dotting ceremony.

After the ceremony our two dragon boats raced towards the shore and beat the water with their paddles calling "Awaken, Awaken, Awaken!

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Dragon Bay Dragon Boat Regatta website

This event is co-hosted by Paddlers for Life, UK and English Lakes Hotels.
The 2014 event report is here.

Brockhole try-it session
Brockhole 'Come and Try' photos

July Paddle

Solstice Paddle

Great North Swim

Eye Dotting Ceremony

Phyllis and Lucy dragon heads
'Dotting the eyes' Photos



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