Friday, June 27th @ 6:30. Some videos are here on my Youtube Channel.
This year’s race had a rather poor turnout. There were probably a dozen boats, but there were quite a few spectators. My pit crew alone increased 1500% over last time. This included a total boat crew of 3.
I arrived about 45 minutes prior to the official start time. Packing and unpacking was a bit of a challenge, but I managed. With some help on the unpacking portion. I ended up using 2 2x4x12’s spaced about a foot apart and connected at 4′ intervals by cardboard strips. This created a nice sling for transporting Bandit. I then use a bit of cardboard and foam across the top of Bandit to create a shelf that Swift sat on.
Setup at the shore was a breeze. Actually, it was more of a gale. The winds were strong enough to create whitecaps on the lake. Anyway, as for the setup, the outrigger arms snapped in place rather effortlessly, and everything was ready to go. The Adult 1&2 man event was first this year.
I decided to lead with the outrigger end, because I wanted the outriggers in the water to keep the boat from rolling while I got on. This configuration seemed to work well for the outbound leg of the race. It looked like there were 5 boats in this race with me.
READY, SET, GO! I sprang out of the gate. That thing was like a rocket! Once I got about 3 boat lengths out, the waves really started affecting me. The wind was hard from the left front, and I tended to roll to the right. The outrigger can be seen going under several times, but it did its job. I would have never been able to use this boat without them.
I got to the turn in only 40 seconds. It took be about 5 seconds to turn around, and then another 5 or so to get going again. During my turn, the boat started to weathervane hard to the right. I struggled to turn it back perpendicular to the shore. I finally got it straight, but coming back with the wind actually took longer, but it was still quick enough to win by a decent margin. I performed an experiment during the youth race to try and eliminate the weathervane problem, but more on that later.
The team/corporate race was up next. I had my nephew lead, and my eldest niece sat in the middle. With all 3 of us in Bandit, we were sitting low and did not have much freeboard. We took off and got to the turn around in about 47 sec , turned around in about 10, and finished in another 60. We had the same weathervane problem that Swift encountered, and ended up going diagonally across the course about 50′ downwind of our intended finish. Bandit ended up being the only team entry, so we won by default, and we at least got to race with the one corporate team that showed up. Even though we weren’t competing, I know the kids enjoyed beating the corporate team.
After a too-short break, we got fired up for the youth race. I rowed with my younger niece for this race. 1 adult is required in the boat, so I figured I’d volunteer for the job. This time I wanted to fix the weathervane problem so we put the outriggers in the rear this time. We made it to the turn in 44 seconds, got turned in 5 then got about 4 boat lengths before the current started to turn us. I saw sure that if the outriggers were down wind we’d be stable. Apparently not. When we got about 60 degrees off course, I decided we were going to finish the race backwards. We had fallen significantly behind by this time, so we had to work harder than ever. We were heading diagonally as before, couldn’t see where were going, and nearly decapitated a poor kid that had capsized near the starting line. It was a photo finish, and we just barely took first.
The last event was just a free-for-all demolition derby. I decided to take Bandit out solo to see how it handled. Man that thing handled well and was extremely fast. I had taken the outriggers off to enhance maneuverability, and it definitely worked. It was a bit of an ab workout to stay balanced, but not at all difficult. I went out deep to build up some speed and T-boned the first boat. Thud. Nothing happened. As it turns out, every boat that was still floating at this point was built very well. At one point, in an attempt to swamp me, I got a bucket full of water thrown on me, and it sure felt good. No one was sinking, and I got really tired, so I just paddled around a bit and called it quits.
What a day. A short awards ceremony followed, and I took home 1st place in the youth and 1&2 man. We won by default in the team event, and Bandit won for best engineering design. I’ll be back again next year. But I’m gonna need a bigger boat.