Black Sheep Marines
We invite our friends, families and supporters to come and enjoy the festivities and excitement of Dragon Boat Racing!
Tavares Wooton Park
Tampa Bay - Downtown
Mooney's Bay Park
Lake Maggiore Park
Downtown Disney Orlando
Lake Hernando Park
2013 Spring Race Highlights
GWN Cocoa Beach Dragon Boat Festival - April 20th, 2013 @ Cape Canaveral-Manatee Sanctuary Park
Crossing the Atlantic intracoastel bridge to Cape Canaveral the day before the premiere Cocoa Beach Dragon Boat Festival could have sent chills through the spine of any seasoned dragon boat paddler who was competing in those waters the next day. The winds had not stopped since January said the locals, and the white capped tumultuous waves of the Banana River were intimidating to say the least, but stop the winds did that next day for a much calmer day of racing under cooler and overcast skies.
The races began with a 200m time trial that would contribute points to determine the Community Mixed Division event winner for the day. The Black Sheep were off to a roaring start winning their 200m race in a time of 52.80 and posting the fastest time of all 19 teams competing that day. The next race of the day was a 500m qualifying/Villages Cup race that would determine the Black Sheep's placement into the finals. With smart coaching from Coach Walker, the Black Sheep anticipated and dug deep to plow their way across a monstrous sand bar posting a time of 2:18.99 to win the Village Cup and qualify for the A final, well in advance of the 3rd place Leatherneck's time in the most challenging Lane #4 by 9.89 seconds
and the 2nd place Silver Dragons, who made a valiant effort across the sandbar in Lane #3, with a respectable time of 2:22.33. With the challenge of the sand bar looming in the more difficult lane #3 in the A final, again the Black Sheep fought hard and dug deep for their near winning effort time of 2:23.69, falling short by only .95 second to the first place Leathernecks team in the most advantageous lane #1 and .78 second short of second place which fell to the determined Silver Dragons in Lane #2. Lane placement was no doubt an advantage in the two 500m races due to the sandbar becoming progressively more challenging in the outer
lanes, but all teams took their turn in the worst of the lanes. The A final placement was awarded points and combined with the 200m placement points, resulting in the Black Sheep taking home the Silver for the Mixed Community Division although their combined times of 4.47.88 in the 3 races for the day told a different story establishing them as the fastest team overall of the 19 teams competing, with the Silver Dragons second with a combined time of 5:01.30, who did well in the face of an unfortunate collision near the finish in the 200m, and the Leathernecks 3rd with 5.05.96. Although confused by the point system results that did not determine the fastest team of the day to be the winner, the Black Sheep enjoyed another well run GWN event and were enthused by their determined true grit efforts over the sandbar with a silver medal and Village Cup to show for it. Staying at a hotel steps from Cocoa Beach with one of the best complimentary breakfasts (thanks to Chris for setting up the accommodations ) and best seafood dinner yet as well at a local restaurant will ensure the return of the Black Sheep Marines team to this event next year! Oh, and the guys significant others said the shopping was awesome too! Many thanks to Frank Dennis for being our photographer at Cocoa Beach and for taking such excellent photos!
Punta Gorda Dragon Boat Festival - April 13th, 2013 @ Laishley Park
In the gulf intracoastal waterway of Punta Gorda, the 3rd annual dragon boat festival, War on the Peace, was held at beautiful Laishley park with 25 teams competing. Many team members stayed over Friday night and enjoyed a team meet and greet party at the park,hosted by the Charolotte Harbor Paddlers, where they indulged in an abundance of great homemade appetizers. Many thanks to the Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce and the Charolotte Harbor Paddlers for their display of hospitality and a well run event! Intimidating Friday night winds and waves calmed for the Saturday races and the Black Sheep competed in the first race of the day in their 350m qualifying heat, placing 1st with a time of 1:39.23 which seeded them into the A Division semi-final with the 4th best time in the 1st round.
The Leathernecks edged out the Black Sheep by 2 tenths of a second in the Division A semi-final with both teams landing in the A Division Championship Final with 4 other teams, including the Tampa Tarpons who dominated the event, winning the A final by 10+ seconds with a time of 1:39.33. The Black Sheep were content to capture 2nd place and a silver medal behind the lightening fast Tarpons with a time of 1:50.14 winning over their Village's rival the Leathernecks with a time of 1:54.51. Another great day for the Black Sheep team who celebrated that evening at the Fisherman's Wharf in Punta Gorda before facing another week of grueling practice in preparation for the next Saturday's race at Cocoa beach.
Central Florida Dragon Boat Festival - April 6th, 2013 @ Tavares
The Black Sheep came back to Tavares with paddles blazing for their 2nd year of competition at Central Florida Dragon Boat Festival at Wooton Park on the shores of Dora Lake. In contrast to the previous year when weather conditions flipped their boat in the C Division Final spoiling their chances of a medal, it was a perfect day for racing and a perfect day of wins for the team. In their 500m qualifying race they posted their best time of the day, 2:32.45 finishing 3rd behind the two fastest teams in the competition who were seeded 1st and 2nd. The Black Sheep were seeded 9th of 23 teams placing them into the B Division semi-final heat where to the Black Sheep guys delight,
they raced against 4 women's teams winning the heat in 2:34.42, which was also the best time of both B Division semi-finals. In the B Championship final the Black Sheep placed 1st with a time of 2:37.22, winning the gold medal over strong fellow competitors from The Villages, the Leatherneck Warriors and the Silver Dragons. (To Mike Mitchell's relief, the team he was scouting for prior to the race, The Bare Naked Ladies, I mean Bladies, withdrew from the B Final race). Next up was the Senior Championship race that all four mixed teams of the Village's and a senior Leesburg team competed in for the coveted Senior Division Trophy. In their 4th 500m race of the day, the Black Sheep achieved a milestone in just over a year as a team by claiming the Senior Championship trophy with a time of 2:35.22 over their tough seasoned competitors from the Villages; The Leathernecks, Leatherneck Warriors and Silver Dragons. With their first race of April under their belts, and 3 more to come in the next 3 weekends, the Black Sheep celebrated three 1st place wins, a gold medal in the B final and the Senior Division Championship trophy at Hurricanes in Tavares. If April showers bring May flowers, would April's races bring more medals?
Orlando Dragon Boat Challenge - March 23,2013 @ Turkey Lake
first race of the season and their first time at this venue, a beautiful 178 acre nature park. The skies cleared in time for the Black Sheep's first 350M qualifying race, the 5th race of the morning. Thirteen teams competed in the 2nd year of this dragon boat challenge at Turkey Lake, of which 5 teams represented The Villages. In the first 350M heat, 3 Village's teams placed within a fraction of a second of each other: Leatherneck Warriors - 140.06; Silver Dragons 140.48; Black Sheep Marines - 140.53. The Leatherneck team had the best qualifying time of the Village teams - 139.36. In the semi-final Senior C Division, the Black Sheep team won their semi-final heat racing with the Leatherneck Warriors and the Hawthorne Dragonflies with a time of 1.41.73. The Black Sheep placed 2nd of the 6 Senior C Division teams in the Semi-Final and went on to capture their first medal of the season, placing 3rd in the Senior C Division Championship final, a first race accomplishment for several new team members who got their feet wet at Turkey Lake.
First Season Highlights - Spring 2012
We started off our first season and first race as a 6 week old team with a test of sheer determination in a grueling 7.5 mile race in Rick's Mad Paddler's Rally in Tampa on February 18th. While many new paddlers who had never raced were asking themselves "what did we get ourselves into", we did finish with a respectable time and WE DID FINISH!
Next race was Homosassa's Dragon Boat Festival on March 17th where our previous 7.5 mile race paid off in endurance training for the 3000 meter race that felt like a sprint in comparison. We finished 2nd among the 5 senior teams from The Villages and our confidence was growing.
The Central Florida Dragon Boat Festival in Tavares on April 14th was a race none of us will forget but all of us would like to forget! With winds and high waves all day on Lake Dora it was paddling like we had never experienced and when we lined up for the C division final, it started to rain. The start gun went off and we were battling waves and conditions that eventually flipped our boat and 2 competitors boats and sunk the 4th boat at the finish line. Our new team was definitely getting its FEET WET! The racing was called off for the day, although the squall that had kicked up and sent us overboard calmed down after our final race. OF COURSE!
At the Tampa Bay International Dragon Boat Races on April 28th in downtown Tampa, we were bumped out of first by a fraction of a second but claimed our first medal, a silver in the C division finals. Our first taste of success....oorah!
We ended our Spring 2012 season at Battle in the Bay Marathon Key on May 12th. In an exciting come from behind race we captured a first place win in the B-division semi-final landing us a place in the B-division final.
With a satisfying first season behind us, we are looking forward with excitement and anticipation to our last race of the year at the Walgreens Orlando International Dragon Boat Race Downtown Disney on Oct. 19-20th where over 70 teams will compete from across the country and internationally.
2012 Season Finale
The Grand Finale to our first racing year at the 2012 Walgreen's Orlando International Dragon Boat Festival in Downtown Disney on October 19th-20th was the pay dirt we had worked hard for all year long. Could it have gotten any better? No, it was beyond our expectations...coming home with 2 medals. We accomplished what we set off to do winning the Gold Medal in the coveted Military Cup race in a competition with our fellow Villages' military teams the Leathernecks and the Leatherneck Warriors, who always give us stiff competition forcing us to attain our highest level yet as a team. We congratulate both their teams on their successful day as well and especially the Silver Dragons who posted the best time in the first 500m race of the day. In our 2nd 500m race, the mixed A Division semi-final, we came out on top again, winning the heat with a 1.05 second better time for us than the military cup race, which placed us into the Mixed Division A Grand Final, our highest level of the year in a final race. Achieving our best 500m time of the day and shaving a whooping 5.01 seconds off our semi-final time, we placed 3rd in the A Division final, and we were thrilled to take home our second medal of the day. Will we be resting on our laurels, at least until the start of the new season rolls around...not according to our Coach Greg Walker. We will be right back at it this week training as hard as ever because we all know we must continue to push to reach a higher level and there is only one way to do that...PADDLES UP!
YES! THE END OF OUR FIRST YEAR COULD GET EVEN BETTER AND IT DID ...at the premier Villages' Dragon Boat Challenge held on December 7th, 2012 on Lake Sumter, the Black Sheep Marines finished their year as the Villages' Challenge Champions. Winning 3 of their 4 races; both of their 200m races against the Leathernecks and the Leatherneck Warriors and their first 500m against the Leathernecks; and finishing a close 2nd in their last 500m against the Silver Dragons, a team to be reckoned with and 2nd place finishers of the day. Competing with a boat of only 16 paddlers due to holiday absences, the Black Sheep Marines surprised everyone with their strength and endurance and accomplishments for the day. The combined best times of the day for the 200m and 500m races determined the Villages' Champions. The official results:
Villages' Competing Teams
Combined Time Results
Black Sheep Marines
This Boat Rocks
The Black Sheep Marines wish to thank the GMDBC of the Villages for organizing the race and especially Lee Cerovac for his role in master minding the first Villages' Dragon Boat Challenge. We look forward to next year's Villages' Challenge that will be produced by our very own Co-Captain Ray Vail who stepped up to the plate and volunteered for the position. We know his capabilities and know it will be a great success.