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Lake Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival: Lanes to be tweaked

The "lane issue" is going to be addressed.

Gary Johnson, the co-chair of the Lake Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival, confirmed Wednesday that organizers are planning to, hopefully, make the lanes more equal.

He explained the problem this way: Lane 1 is in the more shallow part of Lake Bemidji and Lane 4 is in deeper water. While the different depths are not great, the more shallow the water, the more draft off the bottom, which could slow down a dragon boat.

"It's not a tremendous issue, but it is there," Johnson said.

In theory, it doesn't make much a difference in the qualifying heats. Each team competes in two heats, and if Team A is competes on Lane 1 in its first heat, it automatically competes on Lane 4 in the second heat.

"Where it becomes an apparent issue ... is just in the final 3-4 races," Johnson said, referencing the final races that determine the gold, silver and bronze winners.

This year, the plan is to make the lanes not-quite perfectly parallel to the lakeshore - observers probably won't even notice a difference, Johnson said.