Dragon Boat US

Steering Races

Help a team win.

Explain your intentions. OK. It’s windy out there. We’re going to line up on the left side of our lane so we drift to the center by start time. We’re going to come up in the middle of the pack. We don’t want to be first and wait holding the boat. We don’t want to be last and get rushed either.

Explain your actions. I’m going to watch the starter and the other boats. When I think we’re close to show-time I’ll say to get forward in your racing positions, when I think we’re about to go I’ll yell ready-ready. When the starter says "Attention in the Boats we listen for the horn and go.

Don’t steer. Steering slows the boat, don’t do it. Make little adjustments if you have to but only enough to steer towards a distant point... Dead center means nothing, if you’re in the lane you’re in the lane. Sometimes you’ll want to position in your lane to not steer at the finish. If the wind is blowing everyone left and you’re on the right of your lane at the last marker you can let the crew finish without slowing them by steering. Don’t steer during neck and neck battles. Let the boat wander. Don’t steer on starts. The boat is going to zigzag let it. Correct after the racing stroke has been established.

Steer with your body. A little lean this way or that can do alot and doesn’t cause much drag.

Be a Second Drummer. Drummers get lost too. If they slow or trail off, you help. If the team gets out of rhythm you help. Three or four shouts of Go or Stroke and they’ll get back in sync and continue the rhythm. Sometimes a team wins by not losing. When a team racing neck and neck breaks rhythm they lose ground. The team keeping in rhythm wins by not losing.

Make a move. A sustained chant of go-go-go will tell the crew they’re in the thick of it and can overcome another team. Only you can see what’s going on around the boat.

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