MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Rowing in unison to the thump of a drum, several teams raced one another prior to turning their focus to an incoming rainstorm during the third annual dragon boat races on the Neuse River in Oriental, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 11.
The teams of 20 or so, including some from Cherry Point, arrived to calm water, blue skies and a slight breeze for what seemed like perfect racing conditions. But the combination of rain, wind and being seated in the 20-seat canoe like dragon boat didn?t mix, causing two boats to tip over.
?The waves were a little choppy when we started,? said Jen Krivohlavy, the Single Marine Program coordinator for Cherry Point. ?We wanted to give every team a chance to race before the storm moved in.?
Along with two Cherry Point teams, the ?Chesty Pullers? and the ?28 Spartans,? several other Marines came out with the SMP to participate on teams from the local community.
The Chesty Pullers took 2nd place in the first race of the morning. Immediately following, a second trio of boats were in the water heading to the starting line. The races were fast paced and started one after another.
Eighteen races were scheduled during the competition that was planned to be an all day event.
The heavy rain and wind really set in on the teams in the final race and less than one minute into it, one of the teams flipped over leaving the 20 on board standing in chest deep water fighting to get back to shore.
Less than 30 seconds later a second boat tipped. With two teams in the water, the wind, rain and waves getting worst, the competition ended.
Despite the harsh weather, Lance Cpl. Fernando Torres, a field wireman with Marine Wing Communication Squadron 28, said he had a lot of fun.
?I hope next time there isn?t a storm and we get to race more,? he said.