I’m training for the Hawkesbury Classic again (http://www.canoeclassic.asn.au/). Eighth consecutive year, the second time I’ll be doing it in a single. On the last weekend I did a 40k return training run from Wiseman’s to the far side of Last Pit Stop. I joined Raewyn, Neil, Mark Schroeder and Roger White
|Ready to go, Rae's Flash in the BG. My Mirage in front, with Aleut on foredeck.|
Most of the other times I’ve done the race have been in a Mirage 730 with Cathy, but this year she’s paddling with Rae and I’ll be striking out into the dark on my own again.
|Mark Schroeder , the start of a pretty wet training run.|
When I last paddled a single(Mirage 580) I did 12h09m, and was pleased with that. This year I decided to try something different, to leave behind the competitive pursuit of the best possible time and instead take a leaf from Richard Barnes’ book and enjoy it by stretching it out, though I certainly don’t want to relive the 18 hour time our first Classic took.
This year, seeing I’ve been having a lot of fun with Greenland sticks and my trusty Greenland T , I thought I’d paddle it with a stick and test out different boats. Been an interesting experience.
My options for boat were Greenland T or Mirage 580. Paddles: Novorca Greenland, Novorca Aleut, my own wooden Greenland, Werner Corryvrecken or a wing blade. I’ve doen a series of test paddles now, though I haven’t included the wing blade or the wooden stick: the wing blade isn’t a split blade and so it’s hard to carry at the same time as other paddles.
|Rae in the Flash. Couldn't catch her once she got away from us.|
So for what it’s worth, here’s the results of several weeks of tests. I’ve done several 20k runs up Lane Cove, swapping the Greenland, Aleut and Werner blades, a 26k run with Dee to Balmoral and the recent 40k Hawkesbury run swapping Greenland and Aleut paddles.
I expected the stick to be 10% or so slower than the Werner, but to my surprise when I checked this with frequent swapping they were effectively too close to call: on the Lane Cove River in the Greenland T , I clocked between 8.5 and 9.3 km/h overall with both paddles, with variation from tide and wind. I did find that paddling with the Corryvrecken was frustrating because of the huge resistance the blade presented when it hit the water, as opposed to the gradual build-up of resistance from the GP. I just wanted to get back t o the GP and found I had to consciously control my desire to change blades as soon as I used it. I also tried the Aleut and it seemed to be a little faster though it took a lot more control to stop it fluttering and developing turbulence.
On the trip to Balmoral ( about 22k) in the Greenland T I tried the Aleut for a longer period, trying to get it to behave. After a few K I found I could eliminate the uncontrolled behaviour but because it’s such a big thing it had a slower cadence. It did about 9 km/h averaged.
And finally on the Hawkesbury I used the Mirage with both the Aleut and the GP. I Only paddled five km with the Aleut: I found the cadence slower than I liked and to my surprise it wasn’t any faster over distance than the much smaller GP. With the GP I averaged 9km/h despite contrary tides, and strong winds. It got up to mid-10s with tide and wind and down to mid-8s without. The Mirage is unquestionably faster than the Greenland T, probably by about 1 to 1 ½ km/h. I think over the distance the Mirage would be a much more comfortable boat.
I had sore shoulders and the next day some tenderness in my left wrist, but on the basis of that trip I would be coming in at a shade under 12 hours. I haven’t managed to subsume the desire for a fast time, so that would be just fine by me!