Portsmouth Rotary Dragonboat Festival
Portsmouth RotaryDragonboat Festival 

Welcome to The Portsmouth Rotary Dragonboat Festival Website

Portsmouth Rotary Dragon Boat Festival is organised by the Rotary Clubs of

Portsmouth & Southsea

and Southsea Castle

assisted by other local Rotary clubs

The History of Dragon Boats


Dragon boat racing began more than 2000 years ago in the valleys of southern China.


Known as the 'To Fight and Cross Over' ceremony, the race often resembled a naval battle, with the competing crews throwing stones and striking one another with cane sticks.


Supporters on the shore would cheer and give gifts of red and green silk to the boat from their region but would greet opposing boats with angry shouts and a hail of stones!


Competition has taken place annually for more than 20 centuries as part of Chinese religious ceremonies, but dragon boat racing has emerged in modern times as an international sport, beginning in Hong Kong in 1976.

What is Dragon Boat racing?


Dragon Boat racing has become a popular sport throughout the world. It is great fun for both participants and spectators, and is the perfect vehicle for charity fundraising.

Dragon Boats are long canoes, elaborately decorated, with a dragon’s head and tail attached. 

There are wooden benches for the 16 paddlers and room at the bow for a drummer and at the stern for a qualified helmsman.


The event organisers provide the boats, paddles, instruction, flotation aids and safety systems.



How do I enter a team?

If you can get a team together, entering is easy  – just contact the organisers with the following information, 



  • Your name

  • Your address      

  • Phone/mobile no.

  • e-mail address

  • Organisation name

  • Chosen charity *

  • Your team name 

*Note: you do not have to choose a charity. If you are happy to raise funds for Rotary nominated charities, just enter ‘Rotary’ on the entry form.

Please send your details to:

 teams@portsdragonboat festival.co.uk

We will contact you as soon as possible with further details, entry costs, etc.

Get involved!

Find out how by contacting us at:




or watch the video at:





Next year's Dragonboat Festival will take place on ... 


Sunday 13th May 2018


(Racing starts at 10.00 a.m. and finishes at 4.00 p.m. followed by presentations to the winners)


If you were in one of the teams taking part in our 2017 festival, or if you attended as as a spectator, we sincerely hope you enjoyed the event.
If you would like to see a video report of the event, please click on the link below: 



 Your charity choices for 2018:


For 2018 you will have two alternatives for your charity fundraising:


You can elect to donate to Rotary supported charities or you can nominate your own preferred charity.


If you choose your own charity, you will not be required to make any contribution to the organisers' Rotary charities.


This means that whatever you raise can all go directly to your preferred charity. Please let us know on your entry form which charity you have chosen.


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