West Lakes Classic…

Sunday Morning (19/05) I headed down to Westlakes to do Participate in the WLCC Classic – which is a “marathon” event with a choice of 3 distances – 6, 12 or 18km  –  1,2 or 3 laps around a “Y” shaped course.

I opted to do the 12km course and was fairly happy with my 8.3km/h 1:26 (approx by my own timing) time for the 12km.  Conditions were reasonable, with cool temperatures and wind around 20km/h from the N/E. this wind direction put you into the wind for a bit over 1/2 the course.  The Classic is more about the social Pancake breakfast after the event than the actual event 🙂  It is another good prep Event for the RPM, and a time to catch up with some other Marathon Paddlers.  As usual, the Kids in their K1’s blasted past me, but then again, I didn’t see any of them out doing another 20+km after the Race either.

Onto the Training

Unlike other Paddlers, I treated the Classic as my warm-up for the day, and about an hour later backed it up with a decent hit-out and went out and did a 22km paddle – a couple of laps around West Lakes.    * I just realized that in all my posts I have never posted GPS plots of either the “Y” course or the “Laps” of west Lakes (I’ll fix that later)

Just like the Morning, the conditions were pretty much the same – with the Wind around the 20km/h (gusting up to 30km/h) from the North, so my course put me into the wind more than half of the time.  I knocked off the 22+ km in 2:48 at 7.9km/h – a tiny bit slow, but not bad considering that it brought me up to 34km for the day.

What I also did, was to do something that I have not done for a long time and that was to do the whole 22km without the Rudder.  this was the first time that I have done any sort of real distance in this boat without it and I was pleasantly surprised given the conditions.  Now, There are not any real “hard” or tight turns that I need to do and I found that over the whole distance  that i did not need to do even a single corrective stroke to stay on course! This really was a surprise to me – as I had (wrongly) assumed that the boat would not track as good as it does.

With the Wind direction (and strength) I had to contend with it really was just a matter of moving 1 leg or the other just a bit to trim the boat, a slight lean at time when turning and that was it.  Over each 11km the wind was never directly in front or behind for very long, and in fact, the different angles were right thru the spectrum.  From a 30 deg (each side tail-wind, to 30 deg each side head wind and then long slow turns from a head wind to a side wind then tail wind, there was never really much effort required to turn and stay on track.

At least now, I know that in the event of a rudder failure that it will not affect my greatly.  I guess i sort of had a gut feel that it would not be too difficult as most of the time ,rudder input is very minor – and really as someone described to me, not a means of steering but of directional trim.  Having the rudder up was probably less drag as well, so I will be doing more paddling without the rudder while on protected waters.

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