canoe or kayak the 90 miler?

Twice around 2002 and 2003, I did the 90 in a west side thunderbolt in about 14.3 hours. Blackburn challenge for me was about 3 hours and 20 minutes. The 70 miler was a little over 9 hours in the t-bolt. Having to hitch back to the start the first 2 days of the 90 was tough. In a kayak you are really with the water and waves and wind. In the canoe you are SWITCHING EVERY 8 SECONDS. About 8 strokes on the left and HUT. You do 8 strokes on the right.

This year in a Kerry Newell’s war canoe I was close enough to the racer in front to almost scrape their back, especially when sprinting. Both years in the canoe we were a few hours slower than solo kayak. It is called terminal hull velocity. IN our 160 pound 32 ft cedar canoe, we had 4 racers who had medaled in the world championships for TEAM USA. Our pace in the 32 in wide canoe was about 62 strokes per minute. It was strange to see a K1 paddle away from us at about 6.5 or 7mph mph while we worked hard to go 5.5 mph.

I could run the 26 pound west side thunderbolt on carries. My theory is why have that weight on your back for an hour at 3 mph when you can run at 6 mph for half an hour! The newells were very good about making sure we had a fine place to shower, eat and sleep. I will probably help kerry finish his 25th 90 miler next year. Hopefully we will have big wheels and duffle bag type straps to drop down the side of the shoulder to hook unto a crossbar to carry up over Racquette falls mountain. Seems like a mountain, to carry 160 pounds like pails of cement up and over big rocks. It would be nice to carry the boat up on the shoulder, but not if you drop it.

About 4 years ago a buddy and I tried the 90 in our kayaks. I threw out my back soon after the start and went slow but did not finish. It was foogy and the start on day one was delayed. Lots of time to stand around and get cold. Should have worn an old hoodie and thrown it out before the start to stay warm.

The big deals before the start. Have someone to drive. Have a place to stay. How competitively fast do you want to be? It is more fun for me when I saw hello to old friends along the way. Some are very competitive and go all out to save a few seconds. I would love to do the 90 in a k2 with thigh braces. My van dusen mohican ski was fast but 220 is 35 pounds too heavy for it to plane up out of the water. My fault for not obeying the web site weight limit of 185 pounds. I think I was faster in the t-bolt because the bigger flat spot under the seat helps it plane easier.

Canoe is more aerobic. You got time to talk and do not need to drink as much. And you can move your legs around. You must pay attention to the huts and stay focused on staying together. In the kayak you are alert to the wind and waves and can get into this zone where you paddle and pay no attention to another person. Kayak is anerobic9(barlely enough oxygen), where it is tough to talk. You are working too hard moving the big turbo wing. My favorite boat will always be the west side t-bolt with small out of way thigh braces and rear bulkhead, with small turbo wing.

no SUP?

Believe it or not, there were
two that started, and I know that at least one finished.

There was also one in the 300 mile Everglades challenge last March that finished.

Jack L

Both SUPs finished in 2013
Both of them stayed together until day 3 when they finished separately. A SUP first entered the 90-miler 3 years ago, and the same guy paddled and finished the next year as well, though he was dead last by a long way. No one can figure out how he handled the extremely rough conditions on 2011 day 3, in which several open touring tandems were seen to turn around and pull out on Upper Saranac Lake. He quickly picked up the nickname “stand up guy”. Last year there were no SUPs in the 90.

voyageur canoe

– Last Updated: Sep-17-13 3:41 PM EST –

For competitive racers the 90 is won or lost on the carries. For a voyageur canoe, the team has to be well practiced and the wheels have to go on and off quickly, and fit well and stay in position on the rough trails. Coordinated "lifts" will keep you going at speed over larger rocks and roots. Wheels or not can be a toss-up. In a previous voyageur canoe, my team sometimes used wheels, or did an overhead on the shoulder carry method - one person in the bow and two others near the stern. Switch out on the run with other paddlers.

Other factors in Kerry's 90-miler voyageur ("Slenda Glenda") are trim, which can affect that boat a lot in both speed and need to correct steering. I really dislike frequent huts in that boat, as a lot of power is lost during the half-stroke time lost. I personally know that a maintained paddling speed of 6.5 mph is not out of the question in that boat, perhaps only little slower at the end of the day.

Kerry does a fantastic job in the stern trying to keep the boat going straight and is one of the best stern men out there. But I know it can take a lot of work and if things are not right with boat, crew, or wind, then he can expend tremendous energy and sooner or later become ineffective. When he understandably gets tired, imperfections in trim and paddling style of others in the boat can make a huge difference in speed and need for course correction. At that point steering tends to be done more with frequent huts. This is especially true if the team has not trained together enough to be extremely well coordinated. It takes some time for bow and stern paddler to understand the nuances of each other's technique well enough to effect both subtle straight line maintenance or major turn steerage. An unspoken language develops between the bow and stern. Slenda Glenda handles Brown's Tract either very well gliding around sharp turns at speed, or not all all, depending on coordinated teamwork of everyone in the boat.

In Kerry's larger Yukon voyageur we would cruise with a hut frequency of between 50 to 80 strokes, sometimes even longer, while maintaining a perfect straight line course. In the bow I try to maintain a comfortable and continuous all-day stroke rate of 50 strokes/minute for 18 hours/day on the 1000 mile, or up to 22 hours on the YRQ until the first mandatory rest stop. I use a stroke somewhat longer than for shorter races, with highest application of power in the 16 inches immediately after the catch well ahead of the hip. That keeps us at a 6mph flat water speed in a loaded boat. For "fun" and to break the boredom we occasionally do a series of two minute sprints at a much faster and higher power rate, showing the boat is well capable of 8+ mph (not including addition of current).

Kerry is super
It must ne nice to have about a 10 mph yukon river downstream curent. The kayaks that passed us were too tippy for must. next year, hopefully we will have bigg wheels and practice. It is sad how people limit themselves to one type of racing and adventure. It is also fun tod ww rafting. Sea kayak in whitecaps is a blast that most canoe people have never tried.

Why sup?
In a kayak it was 14 hours to do 90 miles. IN a canoe maybe 3 hours slower. On a sup you do not need a stopwatch. You use a calendar.