After ten sessions, I’m now getting it! It seems that the more one “commits” to a proper stroke, the easier it becomes.
Obviously I started with caution and great reticence, remaining static and upright, just using my arms. Now I’ve started to reach forward. This means that the boat doesn’t veer as much from a straight line, the stroke is longer, so the paddle stays in the water longer thus providing more support.
I’m not exactly “burying” the blade yet, but my hips go forward as the front knee bends and I pull through the stroke ending up with more weight on the knee. This has also improved the comfort, although I still have trouble getting out of the boat and un-bending the trailing leg.
I’m using a different paddle with a smaller blade surface, also lent by Craig.
This seems to be a good paddle, but I’m not sure about the top grip. However, it seems to do the trick.
Got my K&A section down to 5:25 now (there was a bit of a tail wind though!).
The next innovation is an integrated high-kneeler/sit&switch configuration. This will allow a quick change from high-kneeling to sit&switch (and back again).
The philosophy is that in a race like the DW, there are sections where it would be faster to paddle high-kneeling, and other sections where sit&switch would be quicker. By taking both types of paddle in the boat, the paddler could change between the two as appropriate.
I’ve tried this by cutting out a section of the seat to allow the leading knee to rest on the high-kneeling block.
It’s early days, and the first version certainly needs some modifications. It’s fine for high-kneeling, in fact it improves the amount a contact for the knee, but I do miss the back of the seat.
Anyway innovation is fine, but it’s time on the water I need now.