I’m guessing there will be a fair amount of yawing, even from the faster boats, since this event doesn’t really draw from the race world. So maybe I’ll end up bagging the wake riding and just hope I’m not too far off the back by the time we hit the portage and river sections. I’ve been practicing running with the Argosy on my head, and (at the risk of inviting the river gods to teach me a lesson) I’m pretty darned fast on whitewater :).
Clean water and my own pace . . .
. . . is often what I prefer as well. But drafting for a brief period of time – even 15 seconds – often works really well for catching my breath, getting some water down, and preparing my next surge forward.
"…with a 3/4 mile reservoir crossing, a half mile portage, and 4.5 miles of narrow class 1/2 that ends in a couple of whitewater play features."
Humm. I think drafting during the portage would be of more benefit than drafting in moving water :). Perhaps you can find someone who will somehow make carrying the boat the 1/2 mile easier.
Drafting can be easy with a large canoe
At Raystown there was a midnight paddle and Topher had his giant Clipper loaded up with able mariners. Drafting that craft was a piece of cake. It was like being pulled by a rope.
Once we’re on the moving water section, I don’t want to be anywhere near other competitors if I can avoid it. It’ll be interesting enough in a hard tracking boat like the Argosy without having to worry about dodging other craft.
yeah, the big boats are best
local guy won his class a few years ago on the Yukon race, actually I think 2 years in a row, and mentioned hooking up behind the OC-6’s in his K1.
Tandem may help a bit if you find some strong big guys. I know my son and I can throw a big wake on flatwater.
In the Washington Island Race rules, drafting is encouraged. It does make both boats faster, but remember, you are racing.
It is known that geese use drafting when flying in formation and as the lead goose tires, it drops to the back. That tired goose isn’t just dragging, but is pushing to keep the speed up of the formation.
If you use drafting be careful not to touch the other boat. In turns, the following boat will be drawn into the lead boat and you may have to scrub speed and tuck to the inside as the tail of the front boat sweeps the turn. It only takes a little practice to get in sync.
Remember you are racing, if you give up the lead, you have to get back into sync to maintain the speed advantage of both boats. If you don’t get hooked up, the other boat is going to pull away and you won’t get a rest.
When done right, strategy will make the race a cat and mouse event.
The Washinton Island race uses a mass start and drafting doesn’t work well in big water on Lake Michigan. It does work on rivers with flat water.
Drafting big canoes
Paddling stern in a C-4 i have pulled along so many drafters i feel like a AAA tow truck. On the 11 mile run up Long Lake the tired C-1 paddlers that we catch look forward to hanging close to our stern and saving some energy. One young guy has been a regular, and we can judge our speed by how soon after the start we catch him. He will ride our stern till the end of the lake, then swing by the pit stop boat and get a candy bar. Once in a while we get someone on our stern who is not friendly, just looking to gain a minute on their class. A couple well timed 'Huts" can usually make them work too hard to stay on the wake and we can shed them. Or a 30 second burst at Warp 5 will leave them panting and our crew smiling from ear to ear.
We never mind pulling the Baldpaddler in our wake, he always shows up later with beer. One year he paddled with us in a 20’Grumman War Canoe our side wake was so big during the finish line sprint, a Comp Cruiser caught us but could not get over the wake to pass us. The paddled as hard as they could for the quarter mile to the buoys, but never got their bow past our middle. Too much uphill they said.
For practice find a pontoon boat, they don’t usually travel to fast, kick up a great wake, and are usually friendly family folk who enjoy the novelty of having as canoe race them.
Different in auto racing
Car racers don’t take turns drafting. They take every advantage of their opponent that they can. It’s a race and the overall better racer wins even if they are just better at drafting. At least that is the impression I get.
Maybe drafting is how the tortoise beat the hare, not because the hare was a lazy bum.