With only a few days to go to the HCC, I did a final training paddle last night.
After much effort over the last several month’s trying to get my seating all sorted out on the new boat, and finally getting the comfort all sorted out literally a month ago, I had to bite the bullet and concede that I simply did not have enough time or even any Night paddles under my belt to go for it.
So, Sunday morning, I did a few checks on the old boat and discovered that the Rudder cable I didn’t snap during the RPM was literally hanging together – only 3 strands of wire in the rudder cable were left intact!. So a few hours cutting the cables out, fitting the Dynema rope and adjusting saw it all back together.
Unfortunately, this meant I didn’t get out on Sunday, so that left Monday evening. Conditions were not great (again) with 20-30km/h winds, but in Ol’faithful, I hardly noticed.
I put in a 2 hour paddle, 16.7km, at a tad over 8.3km/h. Not as fast as the new boat, but never any concern about coming out either. I certainly realized within a few minutes the limitations I have been working with for the last few years – and yes, I really did miss the extra deck-height for the leg drive – and also missed the full foot-plate to actually get the leg drive. This is something that I will be addressing and retro-fitting a full foot-plate!
This was the first time I had paddled my old boat since the RPM and whilst it is very comfortable, after paddling the new one, it was immediately obvious as to all of the reasons why I wanted another boat to remove the shortcomings. Yes, the lack of room for leg drive, the lack of a decent support (full foot plate) to achievie the leg drive, the very wide deck making the catch difficult (read needing quite a long paddle) and finally the hull design being a big limitation – the maximum hull-speed I could achieve was 10km/h for a very short burst but only with a 30km/h wind gust from behind!
With nowhere near the preparation that I wanted, I will have to be content with a fairly slow trip down the river, knowing that now I have the seating/comfort sorted out I can keep working on improving my technique and becoming comfortable and confident in more varied conditions. There is always next year, and the upside, I now have a full year to really get stuck into getting to know a new boat!
Knowing that I am literally limited to a slow trip, I have been able to finalize my Race plan, and all being well, I expect to do it in around 14.5hours total, a 4pm start and finish just after 06:30am