IN TO WIN: Grafton Dragon Boat Club show off its new Gen 4 boat.
IN TO WIN: Grafton Dragon Boat Club show off its new Gen 4 boat. Contributed

Dragon boat invasion on river for Jacaranda weeekend

DRAGON BOATS: THERE will be an invasion of dragon boats on the Clarence River at Grafton this weekend, with two days of racing planned for the Jacaranda Festival.

Today the serious paddlers will be out in force with seven or eight boats from around NSW here for the annual Round Peanut Island 7km marathon.

Grafton Dragon Boat Club spokeswoman Angela Crompton said this was racing for the serious dragon boat crews.

This is a Dragonboats NSW event with teams coming from Port Macquarie, Kempsey, Coffs Harbour, Ballina (two), Tweed Heads and Mount Warning.

"It's a full-on race," Crompton said. "We race for 7km against the clock.

"Individual boats leave at 20-second intervals around a course taking in Peanut Island, the small island at the western end of Susan Island. The fastest time wins."

She said the club had hosted the race for four or five years and it was growing in importance.

"Last year was the biggest year yet, but this time we have a conflict with the Pan Pacific Games in a couple of weeks, which has kept a couple of teams away," Crompton said.

There is a cash prize for the winning team from sponsor the Crown Hotel, adding some spice to the racing.

Tomorrow is the turn of the community racers with nearly 30 teams registered for the Jacaranda Dragon Boat Regatta.

Crompton said there were 13-14 community teams, five teams from local schools and 10 sports teams.

"This has become a fixture on the calendar for a lot of teams," she said. "Each year we have the same teams."

Racing begins at 8.15am tomorrow with the first junior event at 9am.

The finals are scheduled to begin at 1.15pm with the juniors racing at 1.45pm, the community final at 2.30pm and the sports mixed final at 2.45pm.

The presentations will begin at 3pm.

Crompton said there would be plenty of food and drinks throughout the day.

"The Grafton Rowing Club does a great job for us providing food and drinks," she said.

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