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by Mike Baker
September 23, 2008
Here is a review of the Shiro, a fairly new C-2 that came out in the 2007 season. It was designed by the Slovakian C-2 team, Vala and Slucik.
In the World Championships of 2006, the C-2 class had only 2 designs: 19 "Feeling 2"s, and 6 "Beguin"s. (Vala and Slucik designed the Feeling as well.) There were several Shiros in the 2007 World Cup and World Junior Championships. I will contrast the Shiro to the only other Wildwater C-2 I've been in, the Feeling 2. My perspective is from the stern with my partner Rich Roehner in the bow.
On first impressions, there is more volume in the Shiro than the Feeling 2. The bow is a little higher above the water line and the wings are way higher and fatter. The stern has a whole lot more volume as a result. It also has a bit of a pinch between the cockpits for the stern man to pull closer to the center line.
The Shiro turns sharper and smoother than the Feeling 2 (F2). Shiro is rounder on the bottom and has softer chines. This makes the boat feel less stable flat than the F2. I'd call it a little "loose". It might be twitchier than the F2 at first. The great advantage this has is that it goes into a lean turn much smoother than the F2. Once it is edged and leaned over, you can feel some support from the wing and the carving. Both the support and the turn carving are incremental. Transitions and "S" turns are easier. We can smoothly lean from one side to the other with no sticky flat spot in the middle. The unspoken "go right" or "go left" can be initiated by a little lean in this boat better that the F2. With the higher, fatter wings, carving a turn in the Shiro is more effective than the F2.
OK, the boat turns easier. What about straight line speed? I know the Shiro is faster in the straights. The only F2 we have time trialed is a rather worn Road Warrior - an ex-Vala/Slucik boat that they used to win the 2003 World Cup. We have not done a side by side time trial, but for a easy 1000m trial we have come within a few percentages of our best F2 time in the Shiro. This was off season, and not putting total effort in. With real effort, I know we are faster in the Shiro. We have not had it in big or pushy whitewater yet, so I can't comment on how it handles in those conditions. We saw many successful runs of the infamous Ivrea sprint course in Shiros. I'd like to hear what John Pinyerd and Tom Wier have to say about the boat. By the way, there is one for sale in USAWildwater's want ads.
Editor's note: Click here for views of the Shiro.