Basingstoke Hare and Hounds – December 2014

I paddled my C1 in the Basingstoke Canal Canoe Club hare and hounds time trial on Saturday 21st December. This event occurs every third Saturday during the off-season and is a good opportunity to measure performance.

The weather was dry, a light breeze and about eight degrees. I completed the six mile course last time in 1 hour 2 minutes and 36 seconds. This time I took 1 hour 3 minutes and 36 seconds, where did I lose those 60 seconds?

This time I used a slightly lower seat, maybe that was it, or perhaps one can’t expect constant improvement.

The idea behind the hare and hound race concept, is that the slower paddlers start in front of the quicker ones, and the start times are calculated to get the whole race to finish at the same time. The start times are based on past performance. So I am always disappointed to see so much wash hanging in a time trial. It’s supposed to be an individual effort, not how good you are at sitting a fast K2 wash.

Liz paddled K1 and started of a few minutes behind me. She caught and passed me on the return leg but had some time to observe my paddling style. As she went by, she commented that I was just pushing water backwards when my paddle had passed my hips.

As Liz also paddles a canoe, I respect her opinion and it’s got me thinking on how I could move the boat forward more efficiently.

I am not a fan of the traditional sit&switch paddling style favoured by the American Pro-boat paddlers. The cadence is too high and the stroke too short for my liking. Paddlers also try to keep the paddle perpendicular to the water which means the top arm is right across the body.

So I tend to paddle in a similar style to how I paddle a kayak. I use the full body rotation and sweep the blade out from the boat towards the end of the stroke. I think this is a far better use of a greater muscle set. Unfortunatley most of the paddles available on the market are not optimised for my style.

I think I’ll look at developing a different type of paddle.

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