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Canoers get ready to do the Dash
After a Whaling Days with calm waters, Patrick Rammel is ready to send ripples rolling from his canoe again.
Last year, no canoes raced across Dyes Inlet in celebration of Whaling Days.
We didnt get the sponsorship we needed, Rammel, president of the Hui Heihei Waa outrigger canoe club in Silverdale, said. We had to cancel it relatively late in the game.
But this year, multiple sponsors have stepped up, although some from within the club, to insure that the Dyes Inlet Dash will once again take place on Silverdales waterfront. Rammel added the club is looking for sponsors for next year as well.
In its third year overall, Rammel said hes excited to get back out and race, remembering the dash from two years ago.
It was very good, Rammel said. It was very well received by the community. Everybody had a lot of fun.
The race, which takes place on Saturday, July 30, will pit teams of six against one another in a sprint across the waters.
We had about 30 teams two years ago, Rammel said. That made for a nice whole day of racing. Teams got to compete at least two times.
This year, Rammel said he expects closer to 20 teams.
A team consists of five members who paddle the canoe and a steersman, provided by Hui Heihei Waa or a sister canoe club.
The steersman is always experienced, he said. If you get out there with a steersman that doesnt know what theyre doing, youll go all over the course. So the steersman is from our club or a sister club.
And while it seems like the race would be dominated by club squads (in addition to Silverdales club, clubs from throughout Western Washington and Oregon attend the race), Rammel said everybody stays competitive.
Its not a stacked deck, he said. We just go out and have some fun competition against each other.
In fact, Rammel said the Silverdale club even has open practices to get those canoers that arent as familiar with their boat more comfortable in the water.
What we also do is two weeks before we invite all the teams to come down and practice, he said. Its not something that everybody does all the time. You need a little bit of instruction. A little training, a little practice and it pays off good dividends.
The Dash will consist of first-heat races, as well as a consolation and finals bracket, guaranteeing that every team will race twice.
But the Dyes Inlet Dash doesnt just provide waterfront entertainment during the festival. Rammel said the club tends to pick up a few new members as well.
Thats one of the big things we get out of it, he said. A lot of people see these canoes and theyre huge; 44-feet long. They see it or get invited and say, Hey, Id like to do this. So we invite them out. This gives them a chance to experience it and possibly get involved.
Rammel said theres something in the sport for everyone, inviting anyone interested to come check it out.
The club also meets Mondays and Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 10 a.m. at Silverdale Waterfront Park and is open to the public.
Theres two things I really enjoy about it, Rammel said. The aloha spirit, like the camaraderie of canoe racing. Even though its one of the fastest growing sports, its still small enough to know who youre competing with. As soon as youre out of the water, everyone is friends again.
The other is out on the water, its just you and the canoe.