In order to paddle our dragon boats each week we rely on a group of helms or steers people.
They stand at the stern of the boat and control the dragon boat using a large steering oar or paddle and by giving commands to the crew.
These commands control the power of the crew’s paddling and use of their paddles to stop or slow the boat. Sometimes the helm will give commands to one side of the boat to paddle or draw to help steer the dragon boat in strong winds or tight manouevering circumstances.
The helm may give other commands such as ‘brace the boat’ and paddlers will push down on the paddles with blades flat on the water to steady the boat in rough conditions or when paddlers change position in the boat.
Paddling could not happen without helms being available. If you are interested in training for this role you can speak to one of the experienced helms who will explain more about what it entails.
There are often opportunities to have a go at helming in calm and controlled conditions to get the feel of standing at the back of the boat and steering before going through the full training.
Team members are always encouraged to try different paddling positions in the boat, paddling as part of the ‘stroke pair’ in the first seat or drumming.