The purpose of a start in dragon boat racing is to increase the speed of the dragon boat during the beginning of the race so the team can settle into a race pace.
Generally the stroke rate during the middle and end of a start will be the high. The follow describes the stroke rate and power of the 5-15 (or 5-5-10) start.
For all types of teams, the key to a start is paddling together at the same time while increasing the boat speed.
First 5 – Deep, Long, Strong, and Powerful Strokes
The first five strokes are to get the boat moving from a stationary position. They are slow, powerful strokes that are deep in the water.
Second 5 – Increasing Stroke Rate
The next five strokes should be slightly faster than the first five to accelerate the boat and get it sitting higher in the water.
Fast 10 – High Stroke Rate
The next ten strokes should even faster in rate than the last 10 and possibly a shorter catch and bring up the boat speed close to the race speed.
5 Transition Strokes After the 20 Start strokes
After the 20 start strokes, there should be a transition period of slower, farther reaching strokes. 5 is a good number.
After the transition, the team can settle into a race pace consisting of long and strong strokes.