The 2013 Exe-Calibre Charity Dragon Boat Regatta started in typical fashion with crews hanging around looking nervous and organisers running around making sure everything was set for a day of racing.

Exe-Calibre Dragon Boat Club were raising money for ELF (Exeter Leukemia Fund) and several club members gave their time to help organise and manage the day.

The entrants this year included two time winners Age UK, mental health charity Mind with a few members from EDP Drug and Alcohol Services, a group of friends known as The Misfits, property design firm NPS Group and local bar On the Waterfront, purveyors of enormous pizzas. Each crew was to take part in three heats with final races to decide 1st to 5th places.

After the safety briefing and a short introduction to the sport the first competitors lined up at the start. 200 metres of calm flat water awaiting the arrival of drums, shouting and water splashing everywhere. NPS took an early lead in the first round with Age UK completing the course quickest in the second round.

By this point the competitiveness of the crews became apparent. Mind were given some technical advice from the Exe-Calibre volunteers and the misfits received a talking-to from their team captain. With the crews being seeded in to a final based on their fastest two times the third round was hard fought. Both NPS and Age UK broke the one minute barrier to reach the Grand Final. Mind and the Misfits improved on their previous times to reach the Minor Final.

By lunchtime a large crowd had gathered to see the final showdown. The Minor Final took place first. Despite a strong run by Mind, setting their fastest time of the day, The Misfits proved too quick off the line to be caught and finished in third place.

The major final was very close on paper with just 0.5 seconds separating NPS and Age UK. Both crews were aligned by the starter to be set off down the course. Age UK had a strong start but had some timing woes in the middle of the race allowing NPS to pull ahead. Exe-Calibre helm Frank did his best to keep Age UK on the wake of the leading boat to no avail. NPS lost their timing towards the finish but managed to hang on to cross the line first.

Exe-Calibre spent more than planned on some very nice engraved glass trophies that were presented by Ed Donohue, Exe-Calibre Chairman. There was a trophy for Best Fancy Dress and due to a lack of fancy dress this was awarded to Mind for being the Most Improved Crew. In each race Mind went quicker than their previous outing, their time in the Minor Final was nine seconds quicker than their first heat.

Thanks to all the Exe-Calibre members who volunteered their time and effort to make the day happen, and thanks to the crew members who took part. Once the amounts raised for each charity have been collated they will be posted here.

If you are interested in entering a team in 2014 register your interest by contacting the organisers here.


Crew name

Fastest time

Chosen charity (money raised)


NPS Group




Age UK




The Misfits






Mind + EDP


On the Waterfront