How fast does my average paddle speed have to be if I want to try to race my 15 foot touring kayak and be competitive? I’m over 40 and female. Thanks.
Probably over 6mph steady
Small touring boat might be tough to get over 6mph
as a steady speed over an hour long race.
The faster you try to go, the larger the turbulent boundary-layer becomes,
with a sharp increase in
chaotic water flow near the hull.
"Generally" paddling horsepower needed;
doubles going from 5.5 mph to 7 mph
due to frictional drag.
World class marathon kayak racers
can achieve approximately 8 mph
Figure out what you got first for a kayak
Skip the first 30 seconds of the video (please)
Most races will will have classes broken down by boat length plus age plus gender.
So it would depend on your competition.
In a 15ft boat 4.5mph avg.is fast.
I agree with Grayhawk
In the average race that I have been in, (and I have been in lots) The faster women in kayaks less then fifteen feet will average between 4 and 4.5.
The fast females with the high end longer boats will average between 5.5 and 6.0 for a race under ten miles.
There is always the exception, but they are few and far between.
Are going 5 mph you will win your class. Under 17ft isn’t really a competitive class. Every race seems to deal with the classes differently. If you are doing a distance race, over 40 miles or so, speed becomes a function of continuous effort. I other words, no breaks.
Don’t worry about numbers.
I just challenge myself to get a little faster every race. I enjoy the training and stay in great shape doing something I love.
But as far as numbers are concerned. NOBODY is averaging 6 MPH in a 15’ kayak, male or female.
If you are in the race
You are being competitive.
When you can blow the doors off all of your paddling friends and it seems like you are always waiting for them and paddling nearly twice as far each day just because you like to run circles around them, you will be fast enough to finish last.
It is a real eye opener if you have never raced. Get a nice skinny boat. Practice practice practice. And when folks say, “wow, you really make that thing go!”, then go find out how fast you are at the next nearest race. Do not be discouraged. Just keep paddling. You will meet wonderful racers that will help you go faster and they will be so excited to see another join the ranks.
Honestly, do not wait if you want to race. Take whatever you have to where ever you can and just have a good time. Don’t get all caught up in buying the fancy boats and paddles right away. Enjoy your learning. Run recreational classes and go various places to see the different race structures. Soon you will have a stable of boats and paddles specialized for each event or type of event. Your other choice is DO NOT RACE!! You will either be hooked into paddling like a maniac everywhere you go, or you will be so disappointed you may never try it again.
Ease into it. Take a friend. Run for fun. You will win or place some days. And other days you just hope you can get to the finish before the timing crews go home.