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York Rotary Dragon Boat Challenge 2023

Updated: Jul 18, 2023



The York Dragon Boat Challenge took place on Sunday 9th July. The day started a bit misty, but it ended up being a lovely day, not too hot and fortunately we avoided rain.


A full compliment of 36 teams all arrived on time to enable the racing to start on schedule. All teams paddled three heats of three boat races and some heats resulted in very close finishes, on many others there were larger differences in times. Many of the teams entered into the spirit of the event with fancy dress, the Ged Bell prize for the best dressed team was won by York Steiner School team “Steiner’s Cool”



As well as the racing there was a gala of 21 stalls on the north bank, those added to the atmosphere. Some years ago Diana Naish started the York Rotary tea tent on the north bank, this has always been a very successful feature. This year the tea tent was organised by Jane Albon and featured a slightly different offering, but it was very successful, the food was sold out by the end of the day and it raised £1,200 for charity funds. We were very grateful for the help of Inner Wheel and other friends in running the tea tent.




Back to the racing the excellent commentary throughout the day was provided by Bill of Dragon Boat Events Ltd and Elly Fiorentini of Radio York, Bill and Elly have now been providing the commentary for twenty years, a great achievement.


We were delighted to welcome the York Civic Party to the event, they were with us for several hours and toured the full event, talking to many of the stall holders and the participating teams.


There are a number of race prizes, apart from the Challenge trophy for the grand final, these were win by the following:

  • Tailenders trophy, a sought after trophy for the slowest team, won by Kitchen for Everyone York with a time of 01.39.40

  • Charity trophy, for the fastest charity team not winning the grand final, won by Tadcaster Swimming Pool Trust with a time of 01.09.09

  • Ouse trophy for the fastest non charity team not winning the grand final, won by Ged Bell Butchers with a time of 01.09.17

The grand final was a very tightly fought six boat final, the race was won by Wetherby PEI’s with a time of 01.08.30 The race results and times, which were very close (just over three seconds between the first and last), were as follows:




Watch the 2023 Dragon Boat Challenge video from the link below, as well as the Grand Final the video features a drummer’s eye view of Tadcaster Swimming Pool Trust participating in the Dragon Boat Challenge.



President Paul Harvey presented the awards at the end of the day and he was able to announce that the amount raised had reached £81,000, as of Thursday 13th July that has increased to a magnificent £86,700 and we hope that will continue to increase over the coming weeks.




For more details and photographs of the event go to the Dragon Boat pages of our website


In reporting on the 2023 Dragon Boat Challenge we are reflecting on another very successful event, it could not happen without the support of many people, including our sponsors, Shepherd Group, Simpsons, Visavvi and Coney Street Riverside York. The Dragon Boat Challenge will be back 14th July 2024, so put it in your diary.


David Fotheringham


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