Wobbly racing boats

Marathon, Freestyle, Polo, Slalom, Sprint, WWR, etc.
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lemming
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Wobbly racing boats

Post by lemming » Mon Apr 30, 2007 1:12 pm

can anyone tell me how an espada and/or a cirrus compare to either
a) anything else
b) on the 1-10 scale used by Marsport/Kirton etc

I borrowed a cirrus for the DW and it was wonderful - and I tried an espada at the weekend and it seemed really stable and quite nice. Maybe that was just in comparison to the anonymous wobbly thing that I've fallen out of everytime I've paddled it.

I'd also accept recommendations for any other types of boats that might work as 'the next step'.



Cheers

lemming

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Vulch
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espada

Post by Vulch » Tue May 01, 2007 8:30 am

An Esapda is quite an old design - from the 70s I think! We have a few. They are really quite stable. Have you tried a Raven? This is a Marsport design and is, I think, a step up from the Cirrus. I wrote a 'boat stability ladder' some time ago but it won't make sense if I print it here - formatting and stuff... PM me your email address and I'll send it. It does contain quite a range of boats - lots of Kirton designs as well.

Vulch

mharral
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Post by mharral » Tue May 01, 2007 12:54 pm

The Espada was a youth K1 and as such was designed to be fairly stable for beginners. I'd put it on a par with a lance, so probably about 8 on the Marsport wobble factor.

The downside with Espadas is that they are quite small, heavy paddlers tend to push them a bit low in the water.

Martin

BentAndTwisted
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Post by BentAndTwisted » Thu May 10, 2007 4:35 pm

I've been paddling an Espada for about a year. Before that, Cirrus then Laance - both of which were stable but slow.

I mostly used the Espada without a seat - just a block of foam - and it is wonderfully stable like that. It coped with 1 ft waves in the Poole Harbour race with no problem. I never need to worry about boat wash.

But someone gave me a wooden seat and six months later I still haven't come to terms with it. I've never capsized when using it, but I always feel I'm about to. It suddenly lurches to one side and I have to sloosh my paddle along the surface of the water.

With practice it's getting better, but I still never feel safe, and I don't enjoy my trips like I did with just the foam block. I still won't risk using the wooden seat in races.

I've tried a few other boats. In the Raven I didn't even dare move off from the side. A Tor with a high seat felt the same. A Ranger I paddled for 500 metres but was terrified all the time. A Sceptre I thought felt fairly safe.

I need something a bit better than the Espada - it's old and patched and seems to slow down very quickly after every stroke. Great for touring, but a bit of a pain for races.

So I'd love to read the boat stability ladder.

BentAndTwisted

Mike_M
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Post by Mike_M » Fri May 11, 2007 7:08 am

Hi all,

The Espada was designed by the great Danish canoe designer Jørgen Samson of Struer in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s. Origionally manufactured in Cedar with a canvus deck (This is why the decks are flat pannels). There was also two sizes high and low volume.

In 1969 it was proposed for all junior sprint paddlers should paddle the same design of boat in the same way as Lightenings today. The K1 designs such as Pointer, Hunter, Lancer were considered too unstable.

Jørgen Samson came to the rescue and gave the design rights of the Espada to the BCU for this purpose. This meant that the Espada could be manufactured by canoe clubs and schools without paying a levy to Struer.

In 1970 the Espada was adopted as the youth K1 and was paddled by all juniors in sprint racing. This meant that you had no choice but to paddle an Espada regardless of size or weight. The single design class continued up until the end of the 1979 season.

Regards

Mike

goliver
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Post by goliver » Fri May 11, 2007 8:09 am

Mike

I as far as I know the Espada came after the era of canvas decks but was still built in the same 'V' deck style but only in wood veneer. It was raced at World Championship level and it was a full sized adult boat. It must have been a very uncomfortable boat to paddle at that level given the restricting shape of the cockpit and deck height!

When the BCU gained the rights to build them in glass they obtained 3 wooden boats to use as plugs. I know Mark Gees converted them for Glass construction by planing off the sharp gunwales, incidentally cutting through the Sycamore protection strip to the internal veneers. The three plugs were then stored until manufacturers wanted to make moulds from them.

One has been restored to paddleable condition by Stan Smith in Worcester, the boat came via John Burr at Gailey.

One was last seen at Quorn Outdoor Centre in Leicester as recently as a couple of years ago but I don't know where it is now. Anyone any ideas on this one ?

The third plug was a complely different boat to the other two.

The Canoe Centre/ Kirton Kayaks as far as I know were the only ones to make a mould from this plug. I think this plug was stored at their factory. Any ideas what happened to this one? This boat was generally faster than the other design and more wobblier, the hull shape was also different.

I would think that there were very few Espadas built after 1980 so to still have one floating is going well.

How many more are there out there in working order? My club got rid of our last one about 3 years ago.

Incidentally if anyone has an old Struer or VKV wooden boat then there are several people who have started to collect and restore them. There are several collections that are over double figures!

Let me know if you have anything old lying around gathering dust either K1 K2 or K4 as it may be able to be saved for posterity!

George

goliver
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Post by goliver » Fri May 11, 2007 8:27 am

Bent and Twisted

Try blocking up your existing foam seat a bit at a time by mounting it on a layer of Karrimat. Paddle on this until comfortable (which may take several months) and then try to raise again. Do this until you get to that horrible unstable state coming back again and then either desist or lower back a step or two!

Don't rush raising the seat as the instability will cause you to build in ever more bad paddling technique (low, wide and jerky) to compensate. I don't know how old you are but if older than 20 or if you are tall you might find progress on getting stable a slow process that takes many hours in the boat.

One of the worst things you can do is to try to get in a 'faster' boat too soon. On our regular 5 mile time trial which we have been running for 30 years I often see paddlers going 3 minutes or more slower due to getting in a 'faster' boat

A wooden seat if it is a Gees seat might not be fitting the boat properly. I don't think Gees ever produced a seat with the right pan profile to fit the Espada. Are you sure the seat is not rocking about on the seat pin?

If there are any gaps at the side under the pan, chances are that the seat may be rocking as you paddle in which case even a very experienced K1 paddler would have problems!!

George

mharral
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Post by mharral » Fri May 11, 2007 11:42 am

How many more are there out there in working order? My club got rid of our last one about 3 years ago.
We've deffinitely got at least one good condition glass construction one left at Bradford on Avon, it was brand spnking new when I first joined BoA in 1978. There used to be one with a part wood, part canvas deck stored in the rafters of the club boathouse, no idea what happened to that though.

Martin

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lemming
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Post by lemming » Fri May 11, 2007 12:38 pm

We have several espadas; one we have had for many years and we've recently acquired several from Royal Canoe Club who were getting rid of them.

One of them has an under stern rudder which I'm told is pretty rare - although Martin or George could probably confirm that.

After a couple of sessions in an espada I'm finding it pretty stable, even in a narrow concrete channel with a fast moving WWR going the other way although what it would do in a real race has yet to be tested. Maybe I ought to bring it to Nottingham hasler and see what happens.

I did manage to complete our junoir time trial last weekend in ther anonymous wobbly boat without swimming. I changed the seat (George, it was the purple one I picked up from you at Waterside A) it fitted perfectly and the boat paddled well. Still didn't have a lot of drive, and still too many support strokes for good progress, but I did eaqual my pb for the course.

It confirmed what I had suspected, quite a lot of boat wobbliness is head not boat or seat.

goliver
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Post by goliver » Mon May 14, 2007 6:14 am

Deb
Boat stability is definately a something that has to be learned over a period of time, Especially if you start in racing boats after the age of 16. A lot of the problem is learning to relax. Hard to do but easy to see in someone else when you are coaching. Have you noticed that it is often easier to sit a boat after you have just fallen in from it?

The best way is to start is in a stable boat and only move up to a less stable boat when you are completely happy in the first one. In the old days there were only K1's available and you had to learn by swimming a lot. Also building in bad style habits as you went along. Look at some old movies of paddlers from 20 - 30 years ago and you will see what I mean.

When the Rapide was introduced by David Train in the mid 70's as the first stable racing boat it was laughed at as a tub by the established 'racing' clubs, mine included. As soon as we borrowed one of the first boats we were convinced of their use though.
We had about 20 parents who had found it impossible to paddle a K1 who immedietly began using the new Rapide. Our Veterans group was soon the biggest group in the club. Most of the Veterans who had failed miserabley to sit a K1 purchased Rapides and after about 2 years a fair proportion then progressed into K1's which previously they had found impossible.

George

kvin
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stable boats

Post by kvin » Mon May 14, 2007 10:06 am

Just to second the view about using a stable boat - son, 14, in the front of the mirage k2 is doing exactly the "low wide and jerky" paddle stroke which plays havoc with any rhythm. We do a 4 miles timed session on the canal - 4 miles out and then 4 back, and our best is about 43 minutes each way whereas in the laance I can get under 40 minutes. Next time out I shall use the very stable k2 we bought from you George (named in your honour) and see if we can go faster than in the mirage.

mharral
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Post by mharral » Mon May 14, 2007 11:16 am

I feel that it's harder to learn good stability in a K2. It's better to develop stability in a K1 and then move to a K2 later. What do others think?

Martin

Mike_M
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Post by Mike_M » Mon May 14, 2007 1:08 pm

Martin
I agree that stability is best learnt in a K1 as you can feel the effects of your actions.

However paddling K2 can be good for confidence building especially if you are spending most of a session in the water.

A combination of the two may be best for some people.

Regards

Mike

goliver
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Post by goliver » Mon May 14, 2007 3:57 pm

K1 is best if you are both novices but if you have an experienced paddler to paddle in the front of the K2 and he/she is able to keep the rhyth through the inevitable wobbles then that can be a good short cut to learning tactics, stability general confidence etc.
We do a lot of that with 'mix and match' paddling groups in the winter where the fastest is paired with the slowest etc. Makes running novices in the winter in the dark on the Trent a lot less stressful for everyone.
George

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Vulch
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Post by Vulch » Mon May 14, 2007 5:44 pm

I tend to sit in the back of a K2 with the novice in the front. I find it easier to control the balance from the back. I don't think I am alone. The only problem with this is that the novice has to steer. I have toyed with the idea of putting a tiller bar in the back of one K2 in order to be able to steer as well. Haven't done it yet though. It is also possible to coach the novice's stroke from the back - to a certain extent - although I feel that the best place to coach from is another boat, so that you can see the paddler from any angle you wish (almost).


When the balance has developed a little bit, then put the novice in the back, where they can follow the stroke of the more experienced paddler in the front.

If you do paddle K2 with a novice, with the objective of improving balance, make sure that you actually develop their balance - don't do all of the balancing for them - let the boat be a bit wobbly - allow them to feel the effect of their body movements.

Vulch

BentAndTwisted
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Post by BentAndTwisted » Wed May 16, 2007 10:15 am

goliver wrote: Don't rush raising the seat as the instability will cause you to build in ever more bad paddling technique (low, wide and jerky) to compensate.
George
Thanks for the advice - this is very helpful.

Yes, I'm over 20 (by 30 years), 12 stone and in just my 3rd year of kayaking.

I hate feeling insecure in a boat, but I want to race a bit faster. With just the foam pad, my Espada is dead stable so I can use all my energy in the stroke. But the boat just doesn't run smoothly through the water - it's partly the surface condition of the hull (rough), partly the fact I'm heavy and the boat floats low, and partly its weight (15.5kg). I can do a 10K Hare & Hounds in 59 mins and a 500m sprint in 2:38, but with a better boat I know I could go much faster for the same effort.

So this is why I've been trying to train myself to get used to a wobblier boat - a faster boat for racing. When I've tried a Sceptre or a Tor, I can feel them coast smoothly between strokes - they don't slow down immediately after each stroke. But I still feel insecure in them.

I've been trying to train myself by using a seat in the Espada, but reading your comments George, I may have been doing it wrong.

I was given a gerry-built wooden seat that sits on a wooden batten. Not only does the seat wobble slightly on the batten, but the batten wobbles in the boat.

I've been using it about four times a week for the last two months and it's getting a bit better. Although I've never capsized, I still feel I'm about to all the time. And I think I'm probably paddling with a wide, jerky style like you describe.

So I think I'll go back to the foam pad and build it up as you suggest.

goliver
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Post by goliver » Thu May 17, 2007 7:57 am

Bent and twisted

You seat sounds like a nightmare! If it can wobble from side to side then when you sit on it it will be throwing you about uncontrollably!
You could try packing the wooden seat with wedges of hard foam each side to stop it moving. The main thing is to keep a good technique. If you get too wobbly and try to stick with it you will almost automatically be building in bad paddling faults that later you will find difficult getting rid of.

My advice to my club novice(ish) paddlers who want to move up to a faster wobblier boat is a) only move up when they can paddle flat out in their existing boat for our 50 min time trial and the only factor that limits them is their breathing/ tiredness etc. b) Try as many different boats as possible before taking the plunge so that you know what you are looking for when the right boat finally appears. c) try the boats with different height seats. d) Keep the old boat for a transition period after getting the new one for those horrible windy, lumpy days when the new tippier boat may be a bit too testing.

I would also get someone who knows what they are doing to look at your paddling style. If you havn't had much paddling technique coaching then improving the style can do more for your speed than getting in a faster boat. You can only do good technique coaching from a stable base though.

The Espada is not a great boat for adults and at 12 stone you are probably towards, the end of the range of its carrying weight. So it will be low in the water and a bit sluggish. The rough surface finish won't help at all either.

Were I you and wanted to get a better boat I would advertise on the Wanted page of the Reading CC website. They have a fairly active s/h For Sale/ Wanted section. There are lots of unused boats out there, the trick is connecting with someone who wants to sell.

The other thing would be to contact your local racing clubs to see what they have stashed away in their roofspaces etc. My club for instance has over 10 K1's of varying stability mouldering away in the rafters that no one paddles. You may find a similar stash at your local club. You could also look on the web pages of same clubs for individuals selling boats that don't get wider publicity.

Hope this is of some use.

George

Mike_M
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Post by Mike_M » Thu May 17, 2007 9:00 am

Bent and Twisted,
I am impressed with your times considering you are paddling an Espada without a proper seat. I agree with George a wobbly seat is not going to help you progress.

You are unlikely to get an Espada to run well as at 12 stone you are too heavy.

Sometimes I think we should have a boat amnesty for all the old boats lying in gardens or sheds not used for years. I am as guilty as anyone as at present I have a bit of a collection of old boats.

Over the last couple of years I have been learning to paddle high Kneel C1. I have moved up from paddling a Delta to a Plastex Olympia. But I am still having problems with bouncy water and washes. At home on the flat canal I am doing about 2:20 for 500m but at Regattas I am struggling to do 2:35. I am sure this is because I am not as relaxed as I should be.

Recently I have been training with my knee block raised up 20 mm. When I remove the spacer for races or time trials I am able to relax more.

What is really odd is that I feel unstable when I go back to my K1 after paddling C1. But transfering from K1 to C1 I do not get the same effect.

If anyone is good with with glass fibre repairs I have an old Jaguar K1 that I bent in Spain a few years ago that I should get rid of. Free to a good home.

Regards

Mike

mharral
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Post by mharral » Thu May 17, 2007 12:18 pm

Were I you and wanted to get a better boat I would advertise on the Wanted page of the Reading CC website. They have a fairly active s/h For Sale/ Wanted section. There are lots of unused boats out there, the trick is connecting with someone who wants to sell.
Unfortunately the Reading CC website FS/Wanted section hasn't been updated since end of Nov last year.

Cheers
Martin

BentAndTwisted
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Post by BentAndTwisted » Thu May 17, 2007 5:58 pm

mharral wrote:Unfortunately the Reading CC website FS/Wanted section hasn't been updated since end of Nov last year
It has been updated Martin. Maybe you've got a link to a disused part of their website.

The For Sale and Wanted ads are on the same page at BlahBlahreading-canoe.org.uk/adverts.htm

The most recent ad is a Wanted from 8 May.

I look at it virtually every day and there's not been anything that's obviously right for me. Though I might take George's advice and post a Wanted ad - I still need to try more boats to find ones that are suitable first.

robpwylie
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Post by robpwylie » Sun May 20, 2007 8:51 pm

Mike

Would be interested in your Jaguar - have sent you a PM.

Cheers

Rob.

mharral
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Post by mharral » Mon May 21, 2007 10:53 am

mharral wrote:
Unfortunately the Reading CC website FS/Wanted section hasn't been updated since end of Nov last year


It has been updated Martin. Maybe you've got a link to a disused part of their website.

The For Sale and Wanted ads are on the same page at BlahBlahreading-canoe.org.uk/adverts.htm

The most recent ad is a Wanted from 8 May.

I look at it virtually every day and there's not been anything that's obviously right for me. Though I might take George's advice and post a Wanted ad - I still need to try more boats to find ones that are suitable first.
Thanks, yes my bookmark was out of date. It looks like the whole website has been re-vamped but that some of the old pages are still floating around on the web.

Cheers
Martin

Derek Jordan
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Re: Wobbly racing boats

Post by Derek Jordan » Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:03 pm

Sorry to resurrect such an old thread but I came across this whilst I was browsing "Struer kayaks" and reliving some of my youth.

I had a Pointer K1 for a few years when I was racing for the Royal canoe Club back in the 60's. I sold that and bought a Hunter K1 from a Sylvia Jackson who had used it at the Mexico Olympics. I raced this for a few years until I finally gave up racing as it was impinging too much on my working career.

I still have the Hunter which bears the Mexico Olympic brand which was put on it at scrutinising. It's hanging up in my garage and I can't bear to part with it.

On the subject of stability... I think I first started paddling K1 and K2 when I was around 17. This was after I'd been paddling and racing in what I believe were Class 4 kayaks. A few capsizes but you soon got the hang of it.

Anyway, sorry for the ramble but seeing this just revived old memories.
btw, if anyone, by chance, remembers my old K2 partner ( won the junior Descenso del Sella back in 1965) Bob Stevens and knows of his whereabouts I'd love to hear. Cheers Derek

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