View Single Post
Old 07-17-2013, 09:04 AM   #79
Wldrns's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Western Adirondacks
Posts: 3,982
Originally Posted by stripperguy View Post
Phew!! I know you train quite a bit for those long races, but does everyone train together? And do you train in that boat? It can't be easy to aim that boat through those waters. Do you travel with gear? No swampings or capsizes?
Yes, we train extensively. All team members are many year veterans of the Adirondack 90-miler. Everyone on this YRQ 2013 has paddled the Yukon 1000 in a voyageur canoe, some of us twice, and some have done the YRQ more than once before. This boat can be outfitted for either 6 or 7 paddlers for the YRQ. For the Y-1000 the extra gear and food required only allow for 6 paddlers.

Unfortunately the team members live somewhat geographically dispersed, from near the Canadian border of NY, to central and south central NY, to western PA. Prior to our first Yukon race we trained together much more extensively than this past year, but we all train and enter multiple races in various forms together or separately throughout the season.

The boat owner (in the stern) is good enough to transport the Yukon voyageur, or another somewhat smaller voyageur he owns, so that we take turns in minimizing travel for training near each other's homes. He is an excellent sternsman and knows how to steer his boat very precisely with his trained team. In the bow I frequently provide a draw or two where needed for course maintenance, or lean heavily into power draws (my favorite) and posts for more radical turns. When an extremely radical course change is needed, paddler in seat #2, and the paddler immediately in front of the sternsman know how to provide their power to assist the turn.

Training together in the Yukon voyageur canoe makes a very cohesive team as we learn each other's capabilities and needs as a team. All but the bow and stern seats are mounted on wheels smoothly rolling side-to-side, so that on a "hut" each paddler slides to the opposite side, putting hip to the gunwale for best paddling positon. If one person misses the seat slide it can give quite a scare by tipping. If more than one person misses a slide, we are in serious danger of getting wet. We hut approximately every 90-100 strokes on the flat, sometimes more, sometimes less, as needed during maneuvers. Training for sliding on the huts, and training for maintaining power on one side for 100+ strokes are the most important aspects of our training.

You may notice in the Five Fingers Rapids photo that each paddler has a yellow spray skirt installed. We use these mainly just for places like the Five Fingers Rapids (FFR), or for bad weather and rolling white caps as is often found more often than not on 30 mile long Lake Laberge. In the bow I often take the full force of an oncoming wave to my torso, and many gallons of water would end up in the boat without the cover, which would then make the boat very unstable.

We have never capsized in the 40 degree water of the Yukon, but did once when training in that boat in high waves on the St. Lawrence River. Fortunately shore was a short swim away. In the smaller Adirondack voyageur canoe capsizes have occurred, mainly due to powerboat enhanced windy wave wash dumping large amounts of water onboard over the lower freeboard of that narrower boat.

During the YRQ race it is common for some racers to lose control when going through the large standing waves of the FFR. A safety boat is always stationed there for rescue during the YRQ, but there are no safety boats on the Y-1000.

This year two boats did capsize on the FFR. You can see in a photo sequence a women's voyageur canoe capsizing in Harry Kern's online photo album. They took a line too far right of where they should have gone, straight into huge standing waves. With no spray cover they were doomed to a massive onload of water and instability.

For gear, there is an extensive list of mandatory gear on the 440 mile YRQ, including tents and sleeping bags rated to 20 degrees, at least 2 sets of warm clothing for all, a stove and pot, and many other items. The race officials are rather fussy about making sure it is all carried, and we go through a pre-race day detailed visual check of absolutely everything, plus more random checks just before race start, during the two mandatory rest stops, and at the end of the race itself. The first mandatory rest stop occurs at 190 miles, which is 22 non-stop hours into the race for us. All gear is randomly checked again when we land and again before we leave precisely 7 hours later.

Interestingly, for the Y-1000 there is less formality of requirements and gear. Apart from the start and finish, the race is totally unsupported, and the rules require that to be so with no mid-race pit crew support allowed except for emergency egress. But you had surely better know what you are doing for the Y1K.

An unusual and very warm (hot) rare calm on Lake Laberge (Harry Kern photos):
Attached Images
File Type: jpg AQuietLLB.jpg (81.8 KB, 201 views)
File Type: jpg RearView.jpg (92.1 KB, 201 views)
"Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman

Last edited by Wldrns; 07-17-2013 at 09:29 AM..
Wldrns is offline   Reply With Quote