WHEN the ancient Chinese dragon boat fleets were ready to sail, Buddhist monks would bless the boats and their crews to keep them safe.
Not wanting to mess with centuries of tradition, Warrnambool’s all-women dragon boat team The South C Dragons decided to do the same thing at the weekend.
Buddhist nun Chi Kwang, of Kinglake, blessed the team’s boat, dubbed Go-Anna, in front of a crowd of about 60 onlookers at the Hopkins River boat ramp on Saturday morning, ensuring the crew will stay safe when they compete at a regatta in Shepparton on March 16.
Team president Ann Krause said Go-Anna’s crew, of which more than half are survivors of breast or other cancers, was getting better at dragon-boating all the time.
“When we first got the boat and entered a regatta in Bendigo, some of the women hadn’t even been in the boat before,” Ms Krause said yesterday.
But working with Warrnambool teacher Justin Houlihan had made all the difference, she said.
“He used to paddle dragon boats internationally,” Ms Krause said.
“He’s been great — he’s made a big difference.”
The team aims to provide social and physical activities for local cancer survivors and their friends.