Coffs Coast Dragon Boat Club has 22 members travelling to Italy over the next few weeks to participate in the Vogalonga, one of the most beloved and popular boating events held in Venice.
Excitingly, their boat is one of only 20 selected to be in the official opening procession on the Grand Canal.
Drifting through the ancient waterways of Venice in a gondola being serenaded by a handsome gondolier singing ‘O Sole Mio’ is a romantic promise on many a bucket list.
Paddling in the challenging, exciting and colourful 32km Vogalonga Marathon that snakes around the lagoon, islands and canals of Venice is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – a true bucket list job for rowers and paddlers.
The Vogalonga started in 1974 as a protest highlighting the damage power boats were doing to the ancient buildings of the city.
It is now held every two years and attracts as many as 2000 different types of rowing boats and some 7000 participants from all over the world.
The Coffs Coast crew consists of 15 local members plus four from the Rainbow Dragons Club in Lennox Head and three paddlers from the Gippsland Waratahs in Victoria.
To open the weekend of boating activities, an official carnival procession will take place on the Grand Canal on Friday evening May 18 and the Coffs Coast crew has been selected to join this very special event.
The group will participate in the sporting regatta to be held on Saturday May 19 under the Coffs Coast banner in both the Women’s and Mixed 200m sprint races. And on the Sunday May 20 the complete crew of 22 will paddle the 32km Vogalonga Marathon course.
In preparation, over the past five months the team has been undergoing intensive long distance training in the waterways of the Coffs Coast to build up strength and endurance.
A new brightly-coloured uniform has been specially designed to highlight the Coffs Coast region. As the excitement and anticipation builds the team is feeling well prepared and confident and looking forward to their adventure.
The Coffs Coast Dragon Boat Club has 80 members, male and female, and three dragon boats. The club trains four times a week at Mylestom and Sawtell and welcomes new members. More info: ph 0418 853 882 or www.coffscoastdbc.com.au