Dragon boat festivals across Hong Kong leave competitors soaked, while onlookers bask in the sunshine Looming clouds threatened to spoil the fun yesterday as dragon-boat crews gathered all over Hong Kong for the traditional races to celebrate the annual Tuen Ng festival. But the rain stayed away and hot sunshine cheered spirits and tested the crews during races at Tai Po, Tuen Mun, Sai Kung, Sha Tin, Discovery Bay and Aberdeen - accompanied by the usual thud of crashing drum beats. The biggest race was held at Stanley, where more than 20,000 people braved the heat on the main beach to watch the 10-metre boats, adorned at the bow and stern with dragons' heads and tails and manned by 20 to 22 paddlers. A record 166 teams gathered at Stanley for the 270-metre race. In keeping with the festive spirit of the day, competitors adorned themselves with a wide assortment of matching and colourful outfits, with the best outfit award going to team Tesco Cherokees. Team captain Chris Rouwsel said they designed and made the special outfit, a brown poncho and matching feathered headband - resembling the dress of native American Indians. One of the crews competing in the new mixed-team class, the Cherokees were eliminated after just two races. 'But we are satisfied. To us it's mainly a festive thing. The weather was fine and we had a lot of fun. We are definitely coming back next year,' Mr Rouwsel said. Others had equally creative team names, with one women's team calling themselves the 'Desperate Housewives' after the hit US television series about the trials of four married women stuck in suburbia. At the other end of the spectrum, there were teams like Buzz EA Dragons, who successfully defended their overall champion crown, the Travis Gold Cup, and claimed the trophies for both the Chinese and expat men's A classes. 'It's awesome. We've got a stack of trophies. We've also got 260 beers and now we are now going to drink them all,' team member Jonathan Powell said. Kelvin Ho Kin-gee, captain of the team, which had been preparing for the race since January, said: 'To us it's about fitness and the promotion of dragon boating as a Chinese tradition. It's a bit like mahjong to me, actually.' Dating back about 1,700 years, the races commemorate the death of Qu Yuan, a national hero who threw himself into the Mi Lo River to protest against corrupt leaders. According to legend, townspeople in boats who tried to rescue him beat drums to scare away dragons and dangerous fish.