Marathon Boat Wobble

Marathon, Freestyle, Polo, Slalom, Sprint, WWR, etc.
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Marathon Boat Wobble

Post by Wynner » Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:25 am

I searched the web and could find nothing but I am trying to understand why in my first (short) trip in a marathon boat I had a uncontrollable high frequency wobble.
I tried a Tercel which is supposed to be stable.
(I had this wobble once before in a hard chined sea boat (with side on wind and very small high frequency wavelets).
It may be me, something to do with my balance (I have deafness).
I have no real problems sea, white water or cycling (I was asked)
There may not be an answer, friends have said, keep trying, just do sit in on land and on the water to get familiar which I will do but sometimes just the right comment or bit of advice can either fix or stop me banging my head against a brick wall.
Thanks in hope rather than expectation.

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Re: Marathon Boat Wobble

Post by twopigs » Wed Jun 08, 2016 8:33 pm

Without seeing you in the boat ...... How tense were you? I put a good friend into a Tercel and he fell out the other side before moving away from the landing stage. Then for the next hour he was very wobbley. Once sat down with coffee and cake he admitted to being "a bit tense" after the boat had thrown him into the water. After several more outings (staying in the boat) he settled down and when asked to recall the difference between his first outing and his most recent one claimed to be "more relaxed". When reminded that he'd said he was a bit tense on his first outing he laughed and admitted it was "a lot tense".

I don't know enough about deafness to be able to comment on whether that has an impact but if you have no problems with sea, ww kayaking and cycling I'd expect it to have no long term bearing ...... So just stick with it and think relaxing thoughts. Are you cycling with your legs when forwards paddling? You can't do that if you're tense!
Canoeing - bigger boat, broken paddle, more skill!

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Re: Marathon Boat Wobble

Post by Wynner » Thu Jun 09, 2016 10:04 am

Cheers, has some familiarity, probably too tense, wanting to "get on with it". Never giving up I surfed the web again and although not much, static balance exercises seemed to make sense. It just seems lots of perseverance to try and get there. Next time I'll also just use a sea paddle without the different feel of a wing; conversely I'll try a wing with a sea boat.

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Re: Marathon Boat Wobble

Post by jamesl2play » Thu Jun 09, 2016 5:17 pm

I have just bought my first K1 having paddled all sorts of other boats for many years. When I first start paddling it the whole boat wobbles/shakes from bow to stern.
Once I relax and get into the stroke the wobble goes.
I reckon the tension comes from the lower back muscles which are not used to the effort required to balance the boat yet.
Have you considered making yourself a wobble board ?. I made one and am currently using it for about ten minutes a day. There has been a big improvement in my balance already.

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Re: Marathon Boat Wobble

Post by Wynner » Fri Jun 10, 2016 4:12 pm

Wobble board! I have been researching the web, it seems a great idea, never thought about it before, on my shopping list, check my feedback in a week or so.

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Re: Marathon Boat Wobble

Post by DCP Chris » Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:55 pm

I would try a really stable boat like a Tempest. I suffer from Meniere's disease in one ear and sometimes can paddle a full on K1 , and sometimes I can't, but I still get the shakes in swell or wash if I lose confidence. I presume it is an attempt to compensate for a perceived instability, followed by a cycle of overcompensation.

I find that I can alway's manage in a Tempest, which is similar to a Nordcapp in stability, or a Trimmer, which is marginally less stable, but very forgiving.

Knee height is also critical, make sure that your knees are together in the middle,not resting on the sides and particularly not too high.It can be a problem if you are very tall. If you are really having difficulties get a lower seat, or take it out altogether to start with.

Wings help, providing that you keeps your arms straight, in front of you, and the blades are fully immersed, but it is far better to learn in a stable boat with the wings, then progress to a faster boat once you have a good technique. Don't move up too early. good paddlers can get a lot of support from an active, near vertical wing.

I came in from white water, went to a tippy boat too fast, and have had to spend years trying to use the wings properly, because early on I used them to get some support, rather than all for forward motion.

It can be interesting to paddle a marathon boat with your hands, and not a paddle. It is often much easier to balance, and can familiarise you with the boat.

I have tried most balance aids, but boats don't behave the same way. It's much easier to relax on a board on the floor than in a k1 in 3m deep cold water, a good swim from the bank.

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Re: Marathon Boat Wobble

Post by Simongelder » Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:06 pm

I have been battling balance and striving for relaxation in K1 now for a couple of years. Am pretty rock solid stable in tempests and trimmers but it's an on off thing in my Rapier K1. I notice that when the weather and water is warmer I am much better than when it's cold and if the river has high flow. I too am quite deaf and wondered if this is a factor. As I don't have issues in white water, surf or on bikes I have discounted this.
If the weather and water is warm, try some deliberate wobbles in safe water. Deliberately take it so far over you fall out. It's surprisingly far. I have found that after letting the worst happen with a deliberate fall out, I then feel rock solid for that session. Get out in the boat as much as possible. I am sometimes more stable with other paddlers rather than on my own when I think about balance too much. Balancing on the water without paddles helps. I try to do some paddling motions with body rotation in nice shallow water as a drill. I have also fitted a home made pull bar which helps.
Good luck. Don't give up.

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Re: Marathon Boat Wobble

Post by Wynner » Fri Jun 17, 2016 8:12 pm

Great feedback folks, I am taking it on board, trying at wobble board at present but another go next week!

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Re: Marathon Boat Wobble

Post by Chris Bolton » Fri Jun 17, 2016 9:03 pm

You may already know this, but coming from other disciplines, in which the idea is to balance the boat, the difference in K1 (or C1) is that you just balance yourself, and let the boat do what it likes. (I never capsized my C1, but I fell out of it many times.)

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Re: Marathon Boat Wobble

Post by Jim » Mon Jun 20, 2016 2:53 pm

I think it is probably a difficult step from WW and surf boats to a marathon boat because almost everything about the way you sit in it is different.

You don't need/want contact with the sides of the seat, bank band, under the deck etc. - all of that will restrict your ability to do proper strokes, and as a result your strokes will tend to push the boat around through those points of contact.

I have recently got a river racer to work on my basic paddling technique and rotation, obviously there is some contact in these but my friend/coach tells me my hips should be free to move backwards and forwards as I rotate my trunk, and it is this that provides the cycling of the legs that is often mentioned.
In my experience I can set off with some degree of trunk rotation, but as the others overtake me and their wake hits me I tense up and start paddling with my arms instead of my trunk, similarly as soon as I start my turns (couple of 90 degree bends on our bit of canal) and edge the boat over, they way I use my muscles to edge locks up my rotation and I go back to arm paddling again. I definitely get into over-compensation cylces and sometimes wonder if I would be better stopping and gliding for a bit because successive paddling strokes seem to make the wobbling worse!

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