Dragon Boat US

Steering

You’ve got a 9 foot steering oar kept in place by two vertical pins or a U bolt that is mounted on a wood outrigger that extends out about 14 inches on the left side of the boat directly behind the Steerspersons platform. This puts you with your right hand on the T handle and your left somewhere off your left hip. You’re looking off your right shoulder to the front of the boat. The T handle is vertical and so is the blade of the oar.

From this position pushing the oar away from your body makes the boat turn right. It makes you think you’ll do a face plant. Pulling the oar towards you will make the boat steer left. It takes time to get used to. Where you stand makes a difference in your ability to turn. The more of the oar that extends behind the mounting arm the sharper you can turn. The closer you are to the back of the boat, the more the oar extends. If you stand forward, up under seat ten, you won’t have a lot of turn with. The boat narrows in the back and doesn’t give you much room to take a strong stance, slipping up under seat ten does. You should move according to your needs.

The depth of the blade in the water contributes to how sharp you can turn as well. Pressing the oar against the top of the U bolt will drive the blade deep in the water. If you bring the T handle up to eye level you’ll be making a sharp turn when you push away or pull close the oar.

You can steer without pushing or pulling. Rotating the T handle clockwise or counter-clockwise will turn the blade. The T handle turned to 9 O’clock will steer left, 3 O’clock will steer right. This is an easy way to make minor adjustments during training. It puts too much drag on the boat during racing. Using push or pull along with turning the T handle will give you lots of variations in degree.

The idea during racing is not to steer at all. Raising the oar out of the water would be great. Zero drag. That probably won’t happen. The most you can usually do is slide the oar back as far as possible and let it float behind like the tail of a kite. Crouching during a race keeps you from being a wind drag and keeps the blade up. When you have to steer, make adjustments based on a desired outcome. You do not need to be in the center of the lane at the finish line to win. Steer just enough.

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