CHINESE dragon boats have been racing for 2,000 years. The tradition of doing it to the theme tune of Hawaii 5-0 is more recent.

To the blaring theme tune, some 15 teams raced the craft along 250 metres of the Itchen Navigation near Winchester to raise money for Samaritans on Saturday.

With the beat of a drum in each prow, the crews powered their craft along the waterway, for the fifth year.

The teams included the Army Training Regiment, Domino’s Pizza, Alresford and Cheriton Scouts and from the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

Mike Lanyon, of Dragon Boat Events, said; “It has been a fantastic day. Everyone has enjoyed themselves. It is a good spot. It is a shame it is not wider then we could have three boats racing.”

Kerry Blake, spokesman for Samaritans, said they hoped to raise £4,000 for the charity. She said: “I think the atmosphere has been amazing. It has been a fabulous family day.”

Scores of people watched the racing while picnicking on Palmers Field, made available courtesy of Winchester College.

In 2015 the event is likely to be held in late August or early September as the navigation will be dredged earlier in the summer.