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Dozens of dragon boats will race at the Wharf on Saturday

The 2018 Capital Dragon Boat Regatta is happening

A dragon boat
filippo giuliani/Shutterstock

More than 30 teams are registered to compete in the Capital Dragon Boat Regatta on Saturday, an annual event now in its fifth year that is being held at the Southwest Wharf.

The intricately carved dragon boats will race on the Washington Channel in multiple rounds between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. The event is free to the public and arrives just two months short of the one-year anniversary of the Wharf’s début.

The event’s organizers say the channel “is ideal for dragon boat racing as it provides consistent 25-foot deep water through the length and width of the course and is out of the main channel of the Potomac River so it is not subject to flooding due to high rain events.”

Each team will have up to 25 people, including a drummer to help keep paddle strokes on beat. Some of the teams are single-gender, but many of them are mixed.

Spectators can watch the races from the Wharf’s piers. According to the organizers, dragon boat racing originated more than 2,000 years ago in China.