What factors into canoe speed?

Last year I participated in the canoe leg of a multisport relay race. My partner and I were in a Coleman RAM X-15. We had a hard time keeping up with other canoeists who seemed to be paddling at half the effort level. I am participating in the race again this year, what can I do to improve my time? What would have the biggest impact? Longer canoe, slimmer canoe, lighter canoe, add a spray skirt, better technique?

Technique is the most important factor, IMO. Start there.

All of the above will help, with the weight of the canoe being a the least important.

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If you are talking about straight away speed do a comparison of performance canoes. You don’t want much rocker. True racing canoes have zero rocker. You sacrifice stability and the ability to turn fast. Consider a bent shaft paddle. All things being equal, though, if you have better technique, you will be faster.

That is true. Being too lightweight will work against you. Especially, if there is wind.

I don’t run Canoe anymore, but from what I see of the Racers out there.

Boat Design, (how efficient the canoe hull is at cutting through the water.)
Boat length and balance some of the racers get a ideal 50/50 balance in their solo boats.
Power the paddler can apply. that kind of work on the same principal of the F-14, give it enough thrust and even a brick will fly.
and then of course how fit the paddler is in how long can they output that level of work.

Weight seems to only play an issue in acceleration to speed, after you hit a cruise speed it seems to be a negligible factor it may even be somewhat beneficial, as wind may affect you less.

some of the Racing Canoes, ive seen, though technically a canoe look more like someone took a surf ski and cut the deck completely out of them. to just be a super narrow hull you kneel in (sort of like in a C1.)

that’s about all I know, from watching them as they give the SurfSkis a run for their money. And being in Kayak touring Class I’m observing them from behind.

Fast canoes are long as in 17-18 feet or more. They have relatively narrow beam, 34-36 inches. or less. The bottom shape is rounder rather than flatter. Some are asymmetrical. Sheer lines like a Sawyer Cruiser improve speed.

A Coleman canoe is guaranteed to lose, or an aluminum canoe. Blunt, beamy, flat and slow.

A have an OT Canadienne that goes like a rocket. It seems to glide for 60 yards after I stop paddling. It is one of the fastest production canoes ever made.

Sure technique is important.