Royal Air Force dragon boat crews have been battling it out for glory on the River Thames, in the first service racing event of its kind.

The team at the Robson Watersports Centre in Marlow introduced the sport as a means of developing teamwork in an 'out of office' setting.

It's worked for hundreds of personnel of all ranks who've been through the centre. 

Finding Peace Through Dragon Boat Voyage

Three crews braved the elements for the honour of being crowned inaugural RAF champion 2017, with the event a way of capping off a successful year.

Dragon boat racing is something of a new craze and the teams use it primarily for forces development training.

In total, there have been 39 different Air Force teams who have raced the course this year - around one kilometre along the Thames.

The three fastest teams were invited back for the Dragon Boat Finals.

Most of the competitors are novices in the sport but they know that teamwork is crucial for success.

All the teams competing broke the course record over the three heats. It was RAF Northolt who were consistently the fastest.

Up against RAF Odiham in the final, Northolt bettered their time again - and set a new course record at 2 minutes 51 seconds.

Whilst the main drive is to get squadrons to work on their team cohesion, it's hoped this racing event will take off and become an annual one.

And with 39 teams having raced down the course this year, anything could be possible...

You can see the results in full below:

  • Heat 1 – RAF Northolt, 63 Sqn 2:54 vs 3:44 RAF Brize Norton, Engineering & Logistics Wing (ELW)
  • Heat 2 – RAF Odiham, Fire Section 3:03 vs 2:59 RAF Brize Norton, ELW
  • Heat 3 – RAF Odiham, Fire Section 3:06 vs 2:53 RAF Northolt, 63 Squadron

Rankings after the heats:

  • RAF Brize Norton, ELW, combined time of 6:43 – third place
  • RAF Odiham, Fire Section 6:09 – into final
  • RAF Northolt, 63 Sqn 5:47 – into final

Grand Final:

  • RAF Northolt, 63 Sqn 2:51 vs 2:55 RAF Odiham, Fire Section

Winner:

RAF Northolt, 63 Sqn 2:51

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Airmen Find Peace Through Dragon Boat Voyage

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