Lamma Ladies in Penang Part 2

After the excitement of Thursday, the Lamma Ladies (a couple of them, anyway) were up bright and early to find themselves a new, mysterious - and hopefully - willing female helm.

By 9:30am it was solved. We were told a lovely girl from Australia would be our helm for the day. So we sat down to wait for our race.

By 11:00am we were called up to the big house (technical director's tents) to be told that Sylvia could not be our helm, as she was needed to perform as a marshall throughout the rest of the day (which was true, but didn't make us too happy since here was yet another kink in our constantly changing schedule).

Then we met Bev, a lovely,
lovely woman from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, who would NOW be our helm for the day. If we had known then (when we met her) how swiftly we would come to adore Bev, we would have been dancing with joy.

After a couple more hours' hanging about the tent, reading or resting and generally being bored senseless, we were call to our first heat of the day for the 200-meter dash.

And we raced, and we were was rubbish.
For reasons too boring and convoluted to go into here, the calls from the starter, (Sample: "Hold, hold, right, front, back, boat two forward, back, hold, hold HOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLDDDDD, boat one, what do you want? Forward, back, hoooooolllllddd ..... are you ready???? HOLLLLLLLDDDD, attention. Go!") were so aggravating the crew was muttering profanities and ready to assault any official who got close enough to swing at.

During the melee of muttering and confusion of the weird calls to our boat, everyone else began the race. The Ladies were 2 strokes behind from the beginning.
Paddles flew into action at a super-high rating, and our timing down the boat was vile.

Nevertheless, we came fourth, by - to quote one delicate Lamma Femme, "A gnat's chuff" - whatever that is.
So we had our second race - to repechage - an hour later.

In the meanwhile, here are some lovely photos of Lamma's Lunatics waiting for races, or preparing for races.

Jessica Rabbit

"No, you get the drumsticks."

Wishbone Georgie

Captain Gina's regular face (left)

Lamma Ladies Group Cheer with Bangles

The repechage was fine. Uneventful, boring even. And we came second. So we were happy and headed to the semi-finals!

Lamma Ladies: 2nd in Repechage

But then, things started to go awry. We went to the semi, and we were given our first sign that not all was well with the race.

Dawn - the Beast - has her number called...

The line up for boat at the startline was hellish. That same wind that had torn across the reservoir on Thursday was now pushing the bows of the dragon boats forward and back. Our guest-helm Bev fought to control our boat on the outside lane; which was far more prone to the winds.

After innumerable delays, and Bev nearly falling overboard with the strain of keeping the boat on course, the crazy announcers ("HOOOOOLLLLLLLDDDDDD. Ready? Attention! Go!") finally started the race. Twenty-two frustrated crew members went paddling like maniacs down the course.

However, we were not the only maniacs on the water:

Collision with Singapore Paddle Club

The helmswoman for the Singapore Paddle Club lost her footing, and her boat veered swiftly into the Lamma crew, T-boning seats one and two, and knocking the Beast right off her drum and into the reservoir.

There were a few screams and some hideous cursing as the crew craned their necks to make certain Dawn wasn't drowning or being battered by paddles.
The Lamma Ladies were - in a word - freaking.

The Beast was swimming, Claudia and Sharon were busy picking themselves up off the floor and the rest of the crew was certain we had all died and would forever paddle in the purgatory that is a reservoir in Penang, with IDBF rules. (Ed note: On further reflection, that could be hell).

Fortunately, la Beast was fine, so the crew we paddled off in some other direction, wondering what to do before we went back to the pontoon.

Hmmm - why is the pink lady on the speed boat? Is this a "Where's Waldo" puzzle?
Above, aimless lamma ladies paddle around without a .... Beast

Bev took us back to our start with great calm, Gina's insta-fangs were retracted, and we arrived at the dock hale and whole, if rattled and frustrated.

The poor helmswoman of the Singapore Paddle Club was devastated, and apologized profusely (and hey, it
happens; nobody does that kind of thing on purpose!).

But now the Lamma Ladies had to decide whether they wanted to enter the next semi-final immediately, or protest the results of the one we'd just run, and possibly loose our chance to finish the 200-meter races at the event

With no guarantees of the outcome of an official protest, we opted to race again.

Lamma Ladies kicking ass in the outside lane (far left)

Roaring away at the start, the ladies ran on nerves and fury, keeping apace with 2 of the top teams in the world. We ultimately crossed the finish line in 3rd place, but we were delighted to be there.

More importantly: we were in the top 12!!!

Saturday's race for the 200-meter final will be the ladies' first chance at top-ten contender status. Currently in either 11th or 12th place overall, we are fighting to pick up a few placements in the final.

But really, after a new drowning, countless starter issues, boredom waiting between races, and general worries about whether or not we would have a helm (Thanks Bev!!), we reckon that overall, Saturday has GOT to be better than Friday.

We think.

One race only on Saturday: then to the beach to rest for a few hours before the Sunday 500 meter showdown.

Saturday's results to be posted here later... but below: the final results for the 200 meter race on Friday.