The Nelson Area Paddlers
The Nelson Downriver
2018 Canoe and Kayak Race

Location: Tye River, Nelson County, VA.
Course: Put-in on the Tye River about 2 miles downstream of the community of Tye River Depot. Take-out on the Tye about 2 miles upstream from the confluence of the Tye and James rivers.
Many thanks to Sue and Ethan Saliba for allowing us to use their property on the Tye River.

Vital Statistics:
Date: May 05, 2018
High Temp: approximately 74 degrees
Conditions: Cloudy
River Levels: 314 cfs, (sum of Tye [195] and Piney [119] gages several miles upstream), Tye stage=3.75', Piney stage=2.83'
Participation: 30 paddlers and 23 boats (including non-paddling participants and helpers brings the total to 46 persons)

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On This Page
Race Results
News and Commentary
Participation Counts

Dave Segars and Walt Flythe approach Rock Pile Rapid - the Terror of the Tye
OC1Open Canoe, 1 paddler
OC2Open Canoe, 2 paddlers
Mixed1 male & 1 female
K1Kayak, 1 paddler
K2Kayak, 2 paddlers
Saturday, May 5, 2018
Solo Canoe
OC1 Male Advanced
1. Ed Sharp1:21
2. Mike Robinson1:25
2. Tyler Holtzman1:29
OC1 Male
1. Lee Williams1:27
2. Mike Loster1:49
OC1 Female
1. Linda Crowe1:39
OC2 Female
1. Grace Davis/Claire Hintz1:44
2. Lauren Richards/Maria Vest2:05
OC2 Male Advanced
1. Kade & Kirk Havens1:19
OC2 Male
1. Curtis Hambrick/Ben Zoller1:47
2. Bill & Harrison Bey1:48
OC2 Father/Daughter
1. Violet Tillman & Shannon Tillman1:28
OC2 Mixed
1. Shannon McGill/Eric Hansen1:48
Solo Kayak
K1 Male Downriver
1. Dave Segars1:11.01
2. Lee Jones1:11:26
3. Matt Schoener1:19
K1 Male
1. Paul Clemmer1:22
2. Walt Flythe1:27
3. Noah Dunmire1:32
K1 Female
1. Brandi VanMatre1:37
K1 Female Downriver
1. Emily Blankenship1:25
K1 Male Downriver and
K1 Male - not competing **
raced previous day with 34 more cfs
1. Tom Eick1:10:55
2. Dave Perault1:26:36

The Outstanding Paddler Award for 2018 goes to Violet and Shannon Tillman.
Violet and Shannon Tillman accept the Outstanding Paddler Award.
Outstanding Paddler Award
The Outstanding Paddler is awarded to the paddler who, in the opinion of our panel of race judges, has the best performance. Age, gender, boat type and other factors are taken into consideration in making this award.

Each year the name of the award winner(s) is inscribed onto a brass plate that is mounted onto a ceremonial paddle displayed in the Nelson Center in Lovingston, VA. An additional wooden paddle is inscribed and given to the winner(s) of the award at the culmination of the awards ceremony.

The Nelson Downriver Race is held annually, normally on the first Saturday of May. Normally, the entire race is on the Tye river but due to low water conditions the race may be moved downstream.

National Champs
This year's participants included 2 ACA national whitewater downriver racing champions.
(See for information on the Whitewater Open Canoe Downriver National Championships.)

Canoe and Kayak Racing Categories
Canoe and Kayak Racing Categories are almost too numerous to mention. Boats may be separated into different classes based upon many criteria including the following The reason for the distinctions (different classes) is that it is very difficult to judge the comparative paddling abilities of individuals when they are paddling different kinds of boats. The longer, stiffer, lighter and more narrow a boat is the faster it tends to be.
Unfortunately, in many races there are not enough participating craft to divide them into proper classes. In fact, in some events, notably many triathlons, no distinction is made whatsoever. Obviously some attempt should be made to create classes of comparable boats whenever possible. A short, broad kayak designed for fishing in a pond is certainly no match for an Olympic racing canoe, so narrow (and fast) that only highly trained paddlers can stay upright for more than a few seconds.

Probably the easiest and most useful distinction is that used at the National Downriver Whitewater Recreational Canoe Championships sponsored by the American Canoe Association. Boats that compete there are divided into 2 classes referred to as formula 16 and formula 14 (or sometimes as 16% and 14%).
Formula 16 boats must be made of plastic (vinyl/ABS, polyethylene, etc.) or aluminum or wood/canvas. Additionally, the ratio of the width of the boat mesasured at the 4 inch waterline to the length of the boat may not be less than 16%. These must be (or must have been) commercially available boats. Some modifications such as the inclusion of a limited amount of additional flotation may be made. However, allowed modifications are very restrictive.

The formula 14 category is designed for faster boats. These boats may be constructed of other lighter materials such as fiberglass, kevlar, woodstrips, graphite and carbon fiber. The ratio of the width at the 4 inch waterline to the length may not be less than 14.375% for formula 14 boats.

Unfortunately, ABS layup canoes are no longer being produced. Numerous other layups are now being manufactured. This has greatly complicated canoe classification. Our recommendation is to now base classification on dimensions and weight regardless of materials. This does give an advantage to boats with the stiffest materials but may be the most useable method of classification.
To see the full specifications for formula 16 and formula 14 canoe racing connect to

Discriminating between kayaks is even more difficult than for canoes. Kayaks may be divided due to material (plastic or fiberglass) or length. Four meters is the traditional dividing line although the length appears to be increasing in recent years. The shape of the kayak may also be considered. For example, the width to length ratio, as with canoes, has a significant impact on hull speed.

Nelson County Parks and Recreation

Roseland Rescue Squad (on Facebook)

The Ski Barn - Nellysford, Va.

McBride/ Blackburn Opticians - Lynchburg, Va.

Rockfish Gap Outfitters - Waynesboro, Va.

Appomattox River Co. - Farmville, Va.

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