In rowing, the mass of the crew is much more than the mass of the shell. Therefore, any movements by the crew affects the momentum of the boat. Because of this, much research has been done to minimize the detrimental momentum changes and maximize the positive momentum changes caused by body movement.
Dragon boating has the same situation, with some fundamental differences.
- A dragon boat crew has up to 20 paddlers, a drummer, a sweep, paddles and the boat itself.
- The crew faces the way they wish to travel.
- The paddle blade and our body movement are in the same direction.
A fully loaded dragon boat is not just a 2000kg solid body – it contains two separate components:
- Crew with paddles, representing 70-80% of the total mass; and
- Boat (drummer and sweep), representing 20-30% of the total mass
During a stroke the individual components of the dragon boat move relative to each other. Sometimes the crew is pivoting backwards while the boat is moving forward. Other times the crew is pivoting forwards while the boat is moving forward.
Unlike rowing, pivoting backwards and forwards is not moving your whole body. In dragon boating, only some of the total mass of the crew is moving in a way to affect the momentum.
How much crew mass is moving backwards and forwards? Let’s find out how much each part of the body weighs and which parts are moving.
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