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Why race canoes?

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I recently came across some info on the rules for paddling in a six man outrigger canoe. There were a couple rules that stuck with me. First one was, NO TALKING, only the steersman can talk, with one exception. The bowman and the #2 position can discuss cadence. The other one that stuck with me was, NO SIGHTSEEING. It sounds harsh, but it makes sense. Looking around could break your concentration. Hawaiians take canoeing pretty seriously.
Like you are saying it depends on how seriously your are taking the race and how short the race course is. If it is a sprint more than likely no time to look around. If it is a 30 mile race then you can look around and enjoy it a little. But you are there to race not sight see.

I do not have the experience that @yknpdlr has but all my racing has been in rivers. I love having an all day race and enjoying the sights and animals you see along the way. Even the urban training we do at night in Dallas can produce some crazy stories both nature and human.
 
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I think that when you have to be in sync with the rest of the boat and you're paddling at a fast cadence and switching frequently it wouldn't take much distraction to out of sync. My guess is that if you did get out of sync you would hear about it pretty quick by the one guy that is allowed to speak.
 
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In addition to what I said above, add in the fact that you may be paddling in ocean swells where flipping could have severe consequences. The one time I was in a six man outrigger the water was too rough to leave the bay.
 
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I think that when you have to be in sync with the rest of the boat and you're paddling at a fast cadence and switching frequently it wouldn't take much distraction to out of sync. My guess is that if you did get out of sync you would hear about it pretty quick by the one guy that is allowed to speak.
Right.
Especially in a voyageur canoe configured with a crew of 6 or 7 paddlers that I normally race (some are capable of more), talking needs to be kept to the minimum as required for necessary race control and commands. Every paddler syncs from the bow paddler's cadence, always. Most of the race voyager canoes I have paddled have the ability for paddlers (with the exception of bow and stern seat) to slide on their seats from side to side at each "hut" so they may maintain strong paddling efficiency at the gunwale. In some boats the seats are on greased bearing wheels rolling gunwale to gunwale, in others I have used a sheet of sllick teflon covering the seats that slide on easily while wearing slick nylon shorts. Huts, as normally called by the stern paddler, can occur regularly after a certain number of strokes, or though sometimes at odd intervals, both for directional control purposes, as well as for muscle relief if on one side for too much time.

Paddlers need to time their speaking so as to not be speaking during an upcoming hut call, or a seat slide may be missed, possibly causing a "bobble", or worse, even a capsize. Huts (and seat slides) may be necessary as often as every10-20 strokes. We train with new paddlers to avoid missed slides. A single paddler momentarily missing a hut/slide is not necessarily a disaster, but the danger increases greatly if two or more paddlers fail to slide oppositely at the same time in a voyageur.

During long stretches on the Yukon, we would time huts to as much as two full minutes on each side. The stern and/or bow paddlers can provide minor directional control inputs, minimizing hut calls. For a change of pace and break from boredom, we would often sprint at full maximum pace (~80+ strokes/min) for two minutes on one side, then hut paddle at a normal more relaxed 55-60 spm pace for two more minutes before sprinting again for a number of rotations.
 
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The outrigger canoes are narrow enough that you don't have room to slide anywhere. What they do during the hut is different from what we do. Because the seats are high everyone is seated, they have one leg extended and the other under the seat. When a hut is called, you not only change sides but you also change the extended leg. The other difference is that after the hut is called the whole crew responds with "Ho" as they submerge their paddles. Ho means paddle, I believe the verb and noun.

The outrigger canoes are very finely balanced and if a couple guys were to miss a stroke on the wrong side they could flip. I was in a four man surfing boat one time and leaned away from the outrigger and was very surprised by the effect it had on the boat.
 
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In a Dragon Boat there is no hutting either. the side you are paddling on is where you paddle for the duration. But as I said, races tend to be sprints only a few hundred meters long, as far as I know. so you train on one side only and tough it out. Equal paddling forces from a dozen paddlers on each side do not depend on or benefit from huts for diectional control, like is done with a voyageur.

In the larger voyageur canoes, seating may be two paddlers side by side, not including bow and stern. There is a real fancy coordination maneuver requred to the operation of switching sides, as they sometimes do during longer marathon reaces as one paddler stands up and they switch sides. Only performed in calm water and interesting to watch. I'll stay with the single seat single paddler per seat version.
 
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Glenn MacGrady

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I didn't think this topic was about hiking on trails like the PCT, but I can incorporate the tangent easily. The analogous question is why lots of folks—who probably are scenery loving hikers too—like to run in short, medium, marathon and endurance races along outdoor trails such as the PCT. Now back to canoe racing, which necessitates a lot more in terms of equipment and technique than trail running,
 
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in the beginning I paddled whitewater. One year, a local club asked me to sweep after their annual Jones Falls Race. I started ten minutes behind the field, which I had not seen go off. “The Flume” is a 5-foot falls on the Jones. Except for me, the race was all kayakers, they stopped to drag up and repeat the flume drop. Long story short, I won the race, an unusual accomplishment for a sweep boat.

I wanted to paddle around Wye Island so I entered my kayak in the 12-mile Wye Island Regatta. I wasn’t serious, just wanted to paddle there and wave to my friends in the ARC 8-boat as they steamed by. The race starts and I paddled the first few miles talking with another guy going the same speed. Then, I told the guy I was pulling in to the next cove to have a snack. The guy was appalled. “It’s a RACE!”

I was in this race a couple more times. I paddled with Topher and McCrea in the Bloody Mary the year they “won” the Canoe 8 category. And four of us raced a 4-man canoe, and “won” our category. We stopped and visited with McCrae and Duckheads, who had learned how racing interfered with beer drinking and quit registering—they just paddled out and set up a free race beer station. They had three signs: free, race and beer and were entertaining themselves by moving the signs. Was it, “free beer“ racing? Or, “beer free racing”

Over the years, I decided he who is on the water the longest, is the winner. I am very impressed with canoe racing feats, but for me, I want to be out as long as possible.
 
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Over the years, I decided he who is on the water the longest, is the winner. I am very impressed with canoe racing feats, but for me, I want to be out as long as possible.
In some of the races I have been in, including the Yukon, there is a category with a prize (sometimes with cash) for the second to last finisher. it is easy to be in last place, but maybe not so easy to be next to last. In others, including the Adirondack 90 miler, the waiting crowd will give a big cheer and applause for the lastfinisher coming around the final bend and into view, especially if they are "special" in some way, by age, ability, honor, or unique craft. The first ever paddle board paddler to race in the 90 received such loud acclaim in last place, finishing a very long time after the next to last. Cheering may be just as well given because Ok, now that everyone has crossed the finish line, we wait no longer and can now get on with the award ceremony. :rolleyes:
 
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