The Sydney International Boat Show was particularly special this year. Not only did I get to launch my book The Fat Paddler with daily stage appearances, I was also asked to enter a team into an amazing event where apprentice boat-builders have to build and then race their own boats. Basically everyone gets the same materials and two hours to build a boat of their design, then after a few hours rest they take them out onto Darling Harbour to race. Apprentices from as far away as New Zealand compete in the event and the master boat builders themselves decided it was time to get in on the action – they’d build a boat, then get ring-ins to paddle it. Enter Team Fat Paddler!
Of course the master boat builders may have slightly underestimated the weight-bearing requirement of the boat. Once on the water the back of the canoe actually submarined, with only an inch of rear cover between floating and sinking. We were oblivious of course and concentrated on trying to stay in the tippy canvas-on-frame canoe, missing the start of the race completely. By the time we actually got going, we started the race in dead last (see video at bottom of post).
Once we got going the canoe was probably the fastest boat on the water. However, it simply didn’t turn at all, so on the four 180 degree corners we needed to do, we found ourselves floundering trying the turn the bloody thing. Fortunately lots of the competition actually sank mid race, so even though our turns were slower than anyone on the water, we finished exhausted in a respectable 4th position.
Just recently I discovered that my wife recorded some video of the race with her iphone – here is a little footage that I was able to extract. Try and see how low our canoe sits in the water! Cheers – FP