racing canoe speed

anyone out there have any idea what sort of flat water speeds serious racing canoes (single and double) reach? not high kneel- just “conventional” racing canoes.



Well, I probably maintain around 5.5 MPH average in my standard class boat. My paddling partner is probably averaging about the same in his standard class boat. He probably hits 6.5 or so average in his marathon boat. These are training speeds - maybe not quite as good as race pace. We do anywhere from 5 to 10 miles most mornings and can maintain those speeds the entire time. Our training route is “out and back” - upstream and down, so current doesn’t play much into the average. Wind can throw us off though.

Hi Andrew.
My max sprint according to GPS in my standard class solo was 6.8 mph. My USCA C-1 would blow right thru that I think tho’ I don’t have any data on it. I’ll borrow a GPS this week and try to post the results. The lakes are filling right now so there’s no current in the channel where we paddle.

6.5 mph cruise speed seems about right for the high end of the range. My best race performance so far was at the Chattahootchee last year. 1:18 for 10 miles and the last mile was upstream. If I have my math right that’s a little better than 7 1/2 mph with some current assist.

And . . .
From whom might you borrow said GPS? :wink:

I’m betting your sprints are better than 6.8.

i’m looking forward to
seeing you and your canoe as you zip by me at the start of the coosa race! if you guys are ever down this way, drop me a line- i’d love to find some fast single blade paddlers to paddle with. i have been concentrating mostly on the kayak this past winter and so will use it for the coosa race. sounds like the canoe and kayak speeds are roughly equivalent- i can average 6.5 over 10 or more, hold 7-7.3 for about 3-4 miles and had a max flatwater sprint of 8.8 (speedmate verified). i’m not sure there will be that many fast kayakers there, so i may just have to chase the canoes! course if my ski shows up by then…


Alot of factors
but on flat water on a seven mile course in USCA 4x32 competition cruiser I came in just over an hour(I was thinner then and no way could do that again.) There was a team ahead of us! Now seven miles is a rough race because it is too long to sprint but too short not try! When you get off of impounded water the factors get really crazy with Serge Corbin doing 70 miles in under 6.30 hours. Same race yours truly did the 70 ( well for us it was 72 because we got lost)in 8.34 hrs. Next year Serge did the 70 in 7.15 and We did it in 10.30…

Water depth,wind, current add up But a serious racer should be able to cruise over 6 mph in a good boat. A yak will normally be a little faster on the shorter races but a racing cruiser starts to shine over 30 miles.

Here! here!
Trying to beat a kayak in a short race is heartbreaking. Beating the kayaks in a long race is good fun!

Andrew. The nice thing about these mixed class races is that I can find good competition wherever I fall in the pack. I just don’t worry about what they’re driving.

For all the bragging I know where to find a dose of humility. Just go to one of the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club regattas. They gave us (two USCA C-1’s) a headstart and we still felt like ritual sacrifice.


oh, do i know
i’ve paddled a few times with them. fast, fast, fast…


On avergage
What are you guys using for boats and paddles? Sounds like some of you guys are hauling ass.

I don’t really care about the boat or paddle maker, but specs. I have an idea of the boat your paddling, but Im more curious to bent shaft, double bent shaft, straight, blade style, carbon fiber etc etc. What kind of water? River, lake or pond?

Don’t know much about it. Just curious.


What boats and paddles

– Last Updated: Apr-27-04 8:25 AM EST –

In response to what boats and paddles we're using:

Wayne has a Savage River USCA C-1 in carbon - older model, but looks quite similar to Diller's current boats. He's using a ZRE single bend paddle (light or ultra light, can't recall). He also has a Sawyer standard class fiberglass boat - quite similar to the Wenonah Advantage.

I have a Savage River Otegan in carbon - think Wenonah Advantage on steroids. It is 16-6 or so, is really light, and may be the quickest standard class boat I've ever paddled. I use a ZRE double bend (gooseneck) medium weight carbon paddle in that one.

I also just acquired a Wilderness Systems Arctic Hawk in fiberglass - first touring kayak ever (had a couple of different whitewater yaks years ago). I was using a borrowed Epic Wing length lock with it, and just switched to a Superior Greenland Paddle. I have a lot of learning to do with both the boat and the paddle, but I see a solid 6 mph cruise speed coming soon.

We took the GPS out this morning. There was a pretty healthy wind, and a decent chop with a few white caps just almost trying to show towards the end of the run. We averaged right around 5.5 mph and max this morning was 6.5. Neither of us tried to sprint this morning, and the averages do include some brief down time at the put in as well as the half way point. We did a total of 6.3 miles this morning - we're typically on the Tennessee River right in Chattanooga.