Light vs Heavy Boat for Racing

A few days ago I purchased a Sawyer Shockwave racing canoe that weighs a mere 28 lbs. I bought the boat for it’s paddling efficiency and easy loading on the car—not for racing.

I’m trying to understand the advantage of a lightweight boat for racing for anything more than short sprints. Obviously a light boat would accelerate faster so I see the advantage for short distances. I don’t see the advantage for longer races, though. Wouldn’t a heavier boat glide longer and require less effort to maintain a given speed. I’m not a racer, and certainly not a boat designer so I’m sure I’m missing something. What is it?

Less weight means less displacement. Less displacement means less surface area in the water. Less surface area means less resistance. And less resistance means less (not more) effort to maintain a given speed.

From personal experience a kayak loaded with camping gear is noticeably harder to push thru the water.

That makes perfect sense. Thank you.

From what I have noticed , as they quickly passed by, the racing canoes are skinnier, lower and shaped different than most boats. Which would make them lighter.

I’ve never raced boats but I have raced bicycles, a long time ago.

A big advantage of a lightweight conveyance is during acceleration, which happens more frequently than at just the start of an event (unless it is a time trial). Repeated acceleration with light equipment—both boat and paddle!—adds up to saved energy over a long event. And THAT matters, for sure.

In a mass start race you need to get toward the front quickly. A light boat will accelerate fast enough to do that.

I built a CLC Pax 20 to race. I could not get good starts with it and burned too much energy trying to catch up. After finding a better boat I could stay ahead of the riff-raff and get a better time with enough energy for a big finish.