We took last year’s (2014) concrete canoe, DiSCovery II, out for a spin this weekend as we finalize our training for the canoe races at PSWC 2015. While this year’s canoe (Jurassic) is slightly different, we chose to keep the design very similar so that we could explore improvements to our paddling technique rather than making drastic changes.
The day started out a bit rough when we realized that we ordered the wrong sized UHaul to take the canoe to the beach. Note for the future: concrete canoes typically require at least a 22′ UHaul; don’t try fitting a 19′ canoe into a 20′ UHaul (bed length ~17′).
Once we made it, we set up buoys and practiced in DiSCovery II alongside the regular (plastic) practice canoes that we borrow from Newport Aquatic Center. All of our race teams practiced together, trying new techniques and making adjustments as needed to get comfortable with paddling in a concrete canoe.
We were surprised to realize that our concrete canoe is capable of being paddled much more quickly than the real canes we usually practice with. Overall we had a great practice and are looking forward to PSWC in less than two weeks!
Here’s a video of our co-ed sprint heat from the canoe races at PSWC 2014, courtesy of captain Jake’s parents. This was the first heat we’ve won in years! Our team took advantage of DiSCovery II’s straight speed and their extensive preparation on their way to qualify for the small final. The coed race consists of two down-and-back laps for a total distance of 400 meters.
Our canoe’s in the water and it’s floating well—too well. We actually had trouble submerging it for the swamp test (where we have to prove that it’ll float). Here’re some clips of SC Traveler in the water (as we bail the water from the swamp test).
Our canoe’s concrete mix is designed to be less dense than water, in order to ensure that it will float (although other factors also influence whether our canoe floats). This year’s mix is less dense than water, but only just. So as an added precaution, we add foam and air pockets (encased in concrete) to the canoe in the bulkheads (at the bow and stern). This way we have some added flotation factor just in case something goes wrong with our mix design!