The tradition of a two-teacup race, has doubled to four in recent years past and whittles down to three fierce competitors this year.
The floating tea cups are made of fibre glass and powered by mis-matched oars in this race of skill and daring. Pull too hard on the oars and your saucer may dip into the water and you’re sunk. Not to fear, the RCM-SAR Oak Bay team is always at the ready.
The race has featured famous athletes, actors and pub owners in the past. Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen challenges a pair of deputies: Ray Bernoties of Oak Bay Police Department, and Darren Hughes of Oak Bay Fire Department.
|DC Ray Bernoties, OBPD|
Swimming abilities are an asset, considering the number of those who have gone overboard in races past, but these three men have three vastly differing training regimens.
Deputy Chief Bernoties pulls the Oak Bay Emergency Truck for his dryland training.
“I can honestly say that I’ve never lost a tea cup race in my life,” Bernoties says.
|DC Darren Hughes, OBFD|
Deputy Chief Hughes performs his own dryland training, paddling his teacup, on the concrete apron out front of the Oak Bay fire hall.
“In any serious sport training is key. Train like you are in second and row like you are in first,” Hughes says.
Since its inception in 2002, Oak Bay tea partiers have delighted in watching their mayor race a challenger in a fibreglass teacup.
In his inaugural challenge, Jensen, wearing a period bathing suit in honour of the Tea Party’s 50th anniversary, hit the water then swam to the nearby Oak Bay Sea Rescue boat.
|Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen|
Jensen boasts boasts the most experience, and refined training for this year’s 56th annual Oak Bay Tea Party.
“Years of experience has led me to believe the tea cup race is more finesse than force,” says Jensen, over tea and a book.
The teacup race takes place at Willows Beach following the air show on Sunday, June 3 at 3 p.m.
For more details, including a full schedule of events, visit oakbayteaparty.com
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