Wednesday June 24th 2015
There are two places to ride wash: the side and the stern.
Regarding right-of-way while racing: Riding on the side wash gives you more speed and/or a bit of a rest, but also presents some risk. The boat that is ahead has the right of way, even if it is only 1 inch ahead. When you are going upstream and following the shoreline, the boat on the shore side usually leads. If the boat on the shore side is not ahead, they are vulnerable to being ‘scraped off’ or driven into the shore, and are better off dropping to stern and riding there. Either boat may decide to do a sprint and try to drop the other boat. It is often better for the boat on the outside to ride a little higher so that they can respond to a sprint.
Bow paddlers: stay alert to the speed and cadence of the other boat, you will need to respond to their sprints as well as steer to stay on the wash.
Stern paddlers: communicate with your bow paddler about where you like to ride wash - how far up or back, and how close to the other boat. It may also help to let them know when you decide to go to stern or to sprint to get up beside them. This may lose you the element of surprise, but it is better than fighting your partner if you are working towards different goals.