Boat Construction

Do you need special Boat Constructions for 200m racing?

The answer to this has to be Yes and No! - Why?

Well, it still depends upon who you are, what you weigh, how fast you are and intend to go, whether it is a Crew Boat or Singles, etc.

My own personal opinion is this:

In a K1 / C1 at 85kg or less, the boat needs to be fairly stiff, but this is not the most important factor!

Everything else, stiffness counts for a lot! (If you are not a World Class paddler, or at least a Top National Level Paddler, then there are plenty of other places to address before spending a lot of money on a newer and stiffer boat)

From my own personal experience, I was racing in a K4 with 3 other pretty big guys. Between us, we weighed in at around 400kg including boat! Due to limited space on the trailer, we shared a K4 being used by our Ladies crew over all distances (200 / 500 / 1000m), and being our first race outing in a boat together, we were not prepared for the experiene we recieived.

The power in the boat being applied by 4 x 200m dedicated athlete's caused the boat to flex so badly that the guy in the front was being bounced up and down. Some would say that this is also technique related, but mainly 4 guys giving everything down a 200m race for the first time!

Despite the flex in the boat, we were 6th in the Pre-Worlds final.

The Ladies who raced this boat did not see the same effect, as they were likely weighing in at less than 300Kg.

The amount of flex / movement in the boat that was being generated and not being used productively to make the boat go forward was quite clearly a waste of energy. Energy and motion that could have been used to go forward.
The result was, we needed to get a boat that was more rigid, so that we did not dissipate all of this force.

The next week we went out and arranged for a Super-Stiff boat to be made. It was made from Carbon / Honeycomb, with extra Carbon Re-enforcements laid in along the bottom, with cross sectional supports between every cockpit, and with Hull to Deck bracing around each cockpit.

Although the boat came in at 2 Kg over weight, we didn't have any further problems with flexing. The boat was rock solid and became the ideal platform to perform from!

Comments to Steve