Team FOBiA’s debut in the recent Dragon Boat regatta on Sunday 30 August 2009 at the Anchorage in Chaguaramas was a resounding success.

In the first race against CIC alumni, Team FOBiA came from behind to tie the Saints…a first in local Dragon Boating. And in the second race….a combined squad of FOBA/St. Francois girls competed against a combined squad of CIC/Holy Name. The other team defeated us in the water untill it was discovered that they did not have enough girls on their boat and were subsequently disqualified

So a tie and a win for Team FOBiA!!!!

Members of Team FOBiA
David Borely-84
Marlon Bourgeois-87
Daryl Woo-80
Keith Chan-84
Antonio Davila-84
Stefan Charles-01
Chase de Souza-03
Patrick Drakes-83
Maurice Rawlins-03
Stephen Harris-84
Larry Hospedales-79/81
Raymond Samms-84
Anthony Joseph-84
Gregory Lindsay-86
Anthony McComie-87
George Lee Shee-66/68
Roger Navarro-84

See further details below on the races as scribed by the team captain George Lee Shee. And click here to see the pictures.

Exploits of Team FOBiA – Race #1

This is the story of the voyage of the Dragon Boat crew, Team FOBiA whose mission it was to seek out and crush all other boats who dared to compete against us, especially ones manned by one St. Mary’s college’s alumni.  With an inexperienced crew with 5 hours of training, looking good in our “ Team FOBiA” uniforms, trying all kinds of energy drinks, we gathered on that fateful morning of 30 August 2009 at the infamous stink hole known as the Anchorage.  We imperiously surveyed the enemy and went over the over-riding strategy of “ Whatever happens or no matter how tired you feel, DO NOT STOP PADDLING!”

About 1200 hours, twenty in-shape men (round is a shape) went to the starting hut, huddled with the helmsman, Julius and our drummer,  Analisa, and belted out the Fatima Song.  Man, you had to be there to experience the feeling of togetherness and excitement!  All boarded the boat except Captain Kirk who declined because of his advanced age.  With Team FOBiA’s boat fully loaded, there was a space of about 5 inches between the gunwale and the water.  That is what is called weight!  The St. Mary’s vessel was floating high in the water since it was loaded with a bunch of Chinese people or young tings with pimples and acne still on their faces.  Standing on the shore, Captain Kirk groaned at the sight.

Whoosh, the starting flag was waved and the race began!  During the first 150 metres, Team FOBiA was struggling, paddles splashing and showing hardly any of the smooth strokes that were practiced the weeks before.  Then it happened!  Our big guns, Chase De Souza and Stephan Charles dug in with all their might and the rest of the crew sensed their dogged determination and energy and by the 250 metre mark, Team FOBiA was alongside the Saints’ boat.  The smug looks on the Saints’ crew vanished and panic set in.  The spectators got involved and cheering was in the air.  At the 300 metre mark, according to the race officials, both boats crossed the finish line in a dead heat.  Never in the history of Dragon Boat racing in Trinidad and Tobago, was there ever a tie!

With the age differences between both crews, we know who won the race.  Captain Kirk felt so proud of the accomplishment of what started off as an ad hoc bunch of guys and finished as a team with members fully understanding the importance of teamwork and inter-dependencies.  It augurs well that this Team FOBiA has just started and will set sail on the low seas to continue our mission for yarons to come.

Exploits of Team FOBiA – Race #2

Team FOBia was scheduled to participate in the mixed category race  (Heat #9) @ 1215 hrs.  Since our first race started past 1200 hrs. and was Heat #5  and then we broke for lunch, it was painfully obvious that the mixed race together with St. Francois girls going against Saints and Holy Name, was going to take place in the mid-afternoon.  FOBA provided us with some munchies and cold drinks and some of the crew including their fearless leader succumbed to the temptation of imbibing in liquids containing mind-numbing ingredients aka alcohol.

This extra break made the crew restless and close to mutinous.  The captain was peppered several times with the question of “When is our race?” and each time he dutifully complied and went to the control desk for clarification.  Yes, our mixed category race was still Heat #9 and the announcer was asked to give fair warning at least 2 races before.  When post time drew near, the excitement filled the air again.  About 14 St. Francois girls came over to join us.  We lined up to see how many of Team FOBia were still around and able.  Remember the rule for the mixed category was “ No less than 8 of the crew shall be female”.   We selected the crew and the fearless Captain Kirk was conscripted to sign up as one of the crew in spite of his rumblings.  It was a pity that some of the men from the 1st race could not stick around or had other commitments but the power to put them in the brig did not rest with the captain.

Race time!  We gathered in the starting area and manned the boat in the chosen order.  We looked at the St. Mary’s boat and it was empty.  What?  Did they forfeit the race?  Then a call came over the PA system paging the manager of the Fatima team.  Captain Kirk went over to the Administration hut to be told that St. Mary’s did not have their crew because several of them were committed  to other teams and could Fatima agree to have the race delayed until after the final?  Having been told a resounding NO!, since the programme was known since a week ago and Fatima was also faced with the same problem but made adjustments, St. Mary’s agreed to go ahead with the race.  While they were gathering their troops, Team FOBiA paddled slowly to the starting line and waited for the enemy.

Whoosh!  The flag was waved and the race was on!  What happened in the next 1: 38 minutes is still a blur or was it 1:48?   One of the girls lost her paddle and glasses and at the finish line, St. Mary’s won by ½ boat length.  They were announced winners of the mixed category.  Kirk was ruefully going over the event when one of the crew announced that St. Mary’s had 4 female paddlers instead of the legal 8 minimum.  He stormed over to the Administration hut and demanded from the officials an explanation of why was the race sanctioned in the first place.  The manager of St. Mary’s admitted that he could not get the minimum eight female paddlers and told the official “Do what you want”.   Now is that sportsmanship or what?  The decision was reversed and Fatima was declared the winner.  Vindication!!

For the time being, the crew of Team FOBia has been sent for some R&R and stand ready to answer the call to roam the seas and conquer every boat which dares to come against it.