2009 BDA 6: Preston

On a dull rainy morning, Typhoon arrived in the comfort of a large 35 seater coach to Preston Dock, ready to leave our mark on the 6th BDA of the season.  The weather was grim, the location a tiring 8-hr journey away from home, and the dock formation meant that few spectators could observe the races. But a local music festival at the dock meant that the race day was pleasantly accompanied by some enjoyable music throughout the event.

200m 1st race

Typhoon Tigers loaded up for our first race in the pouring rain. We had the pleasure of welcoming on board Aaron and Scott, two paddlers from the GB Juniors squad. This was a two boat race with Notts Anaconda, as other teams that were due race with us, had pulled out of the event. Tigers had a very powerful start which helped us maintain the lead to the finish, with a time of 50:59.

200m semis

In the continuing rain, Tigers loaded up for the 200m semis. This time our start did not pull us ahead of the other teams. Amathus stuck with us through the starts and into our transition. Then they pulled away as we went into lengths. Tigers felt a power dip at crucial transition points, making it harder to power up again. We battled on to come 2nd with a time of 50:83.

200m Minor final

For our final 200m race, Tigers focussed on eliminating the power dips during a race. We identified that mentally some team members eased off on the 3-2-1 calls in order to hit it hard on the 4th stroke. However, this was allowing the boat to sink, so the added power was being wasted in trying to lift the boat back up on the water. The Captain said to think of the "3-2-1" as "build-build-build" which helped in this race as we completed the final without the power dips. Tigers came in 2nd with a time of 50.90.

With the tight race schedule of 5 minutes between races, the delays of the morning meant that just 35 minutes later, the 500m heats were due to begin. It also meant that teams were unable to spare members to be helms for other teams. The search for helms meant a delay in boats going out and being returned for the next team to load up. This pattern particularly affected Typhoon, as Fury needed boats and helms and Tigers needed boats.  As it turned out, the 500m heats saw 11 out of 12 teams being given a verbal warning for delaying the start of a race.

500m first race

Tigers missed the scheduled race with Worcester Dragonflies and BA Hurricanes; we were rescheduled into the next race with Notts Anaconda, Amathus and Pershore Phoenix instead. We pulled off to a strong start and managed a smooth transition, without the power dip in the 3-2-1 call. But we soon hit the wake of a speed boat that had passed while we were lined at the start.  All the boats in the race hit the wake after us, but Tigers rocked for longer as the speedboat had passed closest to us. We paddled through the rockiness and came in second after Amathus, with a time of 2:15:94.

Cup Semi Final  (TIMED RUN)

Tigers missed another race due to being unable to secure a boat for our Cup Semi Final race. We got to the line after Secklow 100, Raging Dragons and Worcester had set off. In the interest of sport, race control set us up for a timed run alongside Typhoon Fury who missed their Plate Semi Final due to problems securing a helm.  We hit the starts hard and with Fury keeping up with us throughout the starts. Tigers pulled away in the lengths and widened the lead in the restart. The power seemed to ease off towards the end and the race felt longer. Tigers finished with a time of 2:19:08.

Cup Minor Final

Tigers reached the Cup Minor Finals alongside Secklow 100 , Bristol Empire and Notts Anaconda. We hit the starts in optimum form, pulling away cleanly. But our power dropped a little way into our lengths allowing Secklow and Bristol to edge ahead. We gained ground on pulling back in our final restart at the finish, but by then it was almost too late.  We edged ahead of Bristol but was not able to able to catch Secklow. Tigers came 2nd place with a time of 2:18:00.

Final Words

The hard work was finally over. This BDA was another useful race experience for the current year of Typhoon Tigers. Despite the extra challenges of the helm and pool boat situation, Tigers had moved another step in the right direction of our learning curve. We had identified power dips that could be wiped out with training and mental preparation.  The team was also gelling more and starting to gain confidence. We rounded off the day happily with a nearby carvery costing just £2.99, and relaxing with DSes and singalongs on the return leg of the coach "road trip" home.

By Kim Tran