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
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