Last September after the Starboard conference, I got in my head to try the sprint unlimited
in a race, how fast is it? Do something that perhaps hasn’t been done before, push the boundaries!The opportunity to do a race in the UK and overseas (perhaps) on an unlimited board is very limited:-) How about the Head Of The Dart (HOTD)?
Asking very nicely my sponsors and all round good people at Tushingham, if I could please, please borrow it? Ok, the plan went into action…..
Tried it down in Dartmouth on Friday before the race for an hour, 17’6” x 23” and only 11kg- at 5’9″ and 72kg I manged to stay on it…..just.
The thing just glides in between each paddle stroke, so timing the next stroke is critical or you just create drag by putting the blade in. Also, couldn’t turn it-would’ve been faster to get off and stand on the ground and lift it up and round!
The race-well……….a very fast, fast start, but got it on the plane quickly and settled into a relaxed, but hard, technique focus paddle. Made it quickly to the half way buoy in about 28mins, and then turned sloooooooowly round it.
The upstream leg was pure torture! Fast ebbing Dart flow, head wind gusts, boat wake, going across sections too shallow to put in a good stroke and think I hit a tree stump or similar! Must have got harder the shallower the Dart got as the last person over the line’s time was round 2 hours, 50 minutes.
I just focused on staying relaxed; aiming for the fastest time I could paddle. Pushed hard the last mile or so, legs fatiguing and found it harder to stay on. At last, finished, the sweet release from all that effort!
Here’s the data from my GPS: