Posted: 11th August 2013

We are pleased to report a successful charity fundraising exercise at the recent dragonboat race in Taunton.

Director Michael Williamson was press-ganged by that scourge of the inland waterways, Captain ‘Mad Martin’ Davies and found himself amidst a motley crew that called themselves the Clerksroom Corsairs. 

BeatingsDiscipline was strict from the outset.  Members were force-fed with bacon sandwiches and tea from the moment they arrived on the quay.

There was no escape at that point as the unwitting crew members were clapped in irons although one barrister who shall remain nameless (that’s Gerry on the right there) somehow managed to swap his shackles for fishnets.  There was, er, no appeal.Confused Corsair

As the photographic evidence reveals, it was a fine sunny day and a good crowd turned out to cheer a total of 17 teams through a number of heats and then a three part final.

All were very grateful of the skills and efforts of a handful of crew who had either done this before or otherwise knew which end of a paddle to hold.  Michael extended particular thanks to lead paddlers Ian Squair and our own Master IT, Ed Williamson.

Engine roomOtherwise, the crew consisted pretty much a collection of desk-jockeys who had never waved a paddle in anger at any point in their lives, let alone during a training session.  Commended by the coaches, the squad burst through the ranks to become the second fastest qualifier of the 17 entrants.

Beaten by 100ths of a second in the first final by the fastest of the qualifiers, the Corsairs took their leave, defeated but far from dishonoured.   There were even crazy ideas about organising a training session but way in advance of next year’s event. 


CrewThe team set a target of £1,000 of which 60% or more has been raised so far.  Michael was grateful to his friends and contacts who contributed just over £250 in response to his personal entreaties. Proceeds have gone to Headway Somerset.

If you have no idea, still, what dragonboat racing is all about, have a look at the video here.  Sadly, the stars of the show do not feature as far as we can see.  Cap’n Davies assures us that the press officer has been keel hauled.

Until next year – arrrrrrrr!