New canoerw/questions!

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Jan 19, 2014
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Hi all posted in the intros but again my name is Jason Baker, new to canoeing and the forums. Couple trips but far from a tripper. Still learning the boat and the paddle, kinda used to a tiller or a steering wheel. I have a OT Penobscot 16' and I am planning some tinkering with its layout. It has three seats? I think the third seat is an added one? I have only seen the Penobscots on the internet with 2?

I usually am plan on having my wife and daughter with me on any trip out, but I want to solo the boat on occasion. I just ballast the boat now and sit in the bow seat facing stern. There is a thwart right in the way of my legs, I can get over it but it is awkward- my thought is to move the bow seat "back" to the thwart holes, basically dropping the bow seat back 8.5 inches and doin away with the thwart.

Next I want to lower all the seats, they are 2 1/4" now going to drop to 4". Kneeling is about out as knees are toasted at 40yrs old. Can't do it for long enough and I want to get my butt lower.

image.jpg

You can hopefully see the layout there and another passenger that usually is on board! Want to move that bow set where the cross beam closest to that thwart is in the thwarts holes? So then when I am solo I am more in to center, have paddled form the third person seat and it just ain't right - too center.

thanks for any and all help,

J
 
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Hello Jason, and welcome aboard! You'll get a variety of opinions. Mine would be to just remove that front thwart and leave the seat where it is. That canoe should have enough structural integrity without the front thwart, unless you are planning on running some serious white water. Are you planning on leaving the third seat in? The usual reason for lowering seats is to increase stability. Do you find the canoe unstable with the seats at the current height? A canoe really firms up when you put a load in it.
 
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No white water near me! Lazy small creeks. Not tippy unless my lab wanted to stand on the gunwales, just think I can go even more stable even if the knucklehead stands on the gunwales or goes for retrieve. I guess I will leave the third seat at this point, another reason I think (in my vast knowledge of canoeing!) that the other thwart is extra and can go?....thoughts

Thanks for the welcome, glad to be here

J
 
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I'd dump the third seat and the thwart behind the front seat. Then I'd ad a nice portage yolk and call it good. Let the daughter sit on a cushion on the bottom it will be more stable. I would paddle solo like you've been doing from the front seat facing the stern. Welcome to the forum. Dave
 
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Jason,

What Rippy said times 2! The Penobscot is a marvelous boat, one of my favorites! It does almost everything and give decent performance as well. I found it to be a great solo and a super tripper for my daughter and I. We have caught a ton on walleyes and did a lot of exploring in that boat ... I am sorry I sold it. Enjoy that boat and welcome to the forum.

Bob.
 
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I would experimentally take out that thwart in back of the front seat. RX Penobscots do get floppy though and the absence of the thwart could fold the hull over a little and put too much downward pressure on the gunwales. It's best to check before discarding wood. However the new catalog shows the Penobscot to only have a yoke and stern thwart.

I suspect yours with its third seat was retrofitted to add something structural with the thwart. You ought to be good to go by making it look like this

http://www.oldtowncanoe.com/canoes/expedition/penobscot_16_RX/


So no the thwart is not extra in that case. Old Town doesn't add stuff if its not needed.

I guess I don't understand your reticence at kneeling at your age. There must be something else involved. I am near 70 and kneeling is about the only thing I can do for long stretches. It does take time to work up to it and also requires a good pad on the bottom of the boat. Grinding sand into your patella is never fun.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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The middle seat was added. The center thwart, probably a portage yoke thwart, was removed. The thwart behind the bow seat was added. This was done a previous owner or by the factory at the request of the first owner.

Well, you do have options and different people here will favor different options.

I would leave the center seat and learn how to paddle solo from that position. That's why it's there. In fact, I would replace it with a wide cane or web seat, which allows you to shift off center more comfortably to heel the hull when you paddle from the center seat. The wide seat also allows two kids to sit next to each other on the center seat.

I wouldn't put a portage yoke back in the middle unless I was planning on portaging a lot, which the vast majority of canoe owners never do. Most people only carry the canoe back and forth to their vehicle, and you don't need a portage yoke to do that. If you really want a portage yoke, you can buy or make a clamp-on one that is removable.

Although it will affect structural strength, nothing much will happen if you take out the thwart behind the bow seat, unless you drop the boat or capsize and pin. I'd replace it with another thwart positioned closer to the middle, one that wouldn't interfere with sitting in the center seat or bow seat backwards. I wouldn't move the bow seat because it's in the best place for tandem paddling.

If you want to learn how to control a canoe fully, you really need to learn how to execute all the different bow and stern strokes. You can do all of them from a central seat. You can't do fully effective bow strokes when you are seated way aft of center. Learning full and correct technique can take a long time and is helped by formal lessons. If you put in the time, you may appreciate the center seat. It's also a more stable place to be in wind and waves and when fiddling with a camera or whatever.

In any event, having three seats and no thwarts impeding them, but still having two for maximum structural support, will continue to give you a lot of options until you settle on a style and experience level.

I'm about the same age as Yellowcanoe and spend 90% of my canoe time on my knees. At 5-9, I like the front edge of my seats about 9" off the bottom.
 
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Jason said:


"You can hopefully see the layout there and another passenger that usually is on board! Want to move that bow set where the cross beam closest to that thwart is in the thwarts holes? So then when I am solo I am more in to center, have paddled form the third person seat and it just ain't right - too center"

I would remove that front thwart and try that, which you have tried, but with that thwart in the way. If that's still not good, I would then move the bow seat back like you want, and try that. I would remove that center seat and replace it with a thwart.

I had a 17' tandem Grumman and a 16' Old Town Camper I used solo alot. I also had labs, fishing gear, decoys, camo setups along, so the center seat thing would have never worked either. I paddle only tandems now, I had 2 center seat solos and never liked them, but I also needed the 2 seat option like Jason so I stayed with tandems.

I would drill new holes in Aluminium gunnels all day, so try what works, fill the empty holes with SS carriage bolts.

Here's a loaded Grumman filled with goose decoys and a dog, gun, spare clothes, ready or a day on the water. Sounds like you might be headed this way



 
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My wording wasn't good. The thwart was added because there was a third seat added. The purpose of thwarts is to keep the hull spread. If you want to keep the third seat you need to keep the thwart, because of the added weight if there is a third passenger pulls down the gunwales and also forces them inward.

So you need a counterbalance.

If the third seat is just for you moving around, get rid of that pesky thwart.

You can take out the thwart and put it back in when you need it..ie three people.
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2014
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I would experimentally take out that thwart in back of the front seat. RX Penobscots do get floppy though and the absence of the thwart could fold the hull over a little and put too much downward pressure on the gunwales. It's best to check before discarding wood. However the new catalog shows the Penobscot to only have a yoke and stern thwart.

I suspect yours with its third seat was retrofitted to add something structural with the thwart. You ought to be good to go by making it look like this

http://www.oldtowncanoe.com/canoes/expedition/penobscot_16_RX/


So no the thwart is not extra in that case. Old Town doesn't add stuff if its not needed.

I guess I don't understand your reticence at kneeling at your age. There must be something else involved. I am near 70 and kneeling is about the only thing I can do for long stretches. It does take time to work up to it and also requires a good pad on the bottom of the boat. Grinding sand into your patella is never fun.

My knees and one elbow have suffered injuries (the equation for what was involved goes (motorcycles+young age*lotsa stupidity=a tore up body) that they do not do well if I am on em long. Kinda the old sayin they will swell and I will be gettin injections! - If Id a known I was gonna live this long I would have took better care of myself when I was younger"

That is what I been lookin at and comparing the boat I have too I just want to be sure I am at least halfway up the right tree.

Yeah love the boat and love canoeing, will even use my skiff to get to some creeks then throw the canoe over to go further.
 
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Oh yeah, love that pic, Love to watch the dog go. And learning that being able to slip to different locals with a few decoys really extends a day. You can easily slide the canoe into any bush and have a blind any where on the creeks! Good block head on that lab there.
 
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My wording wasn't good. The thwart was added because there was a third seat added. The purpose of thwarts is to keep the hull spread. If you want to keep the third seat you need to keep the thwart, because of the added weight if there is a third passenger pulls down the gunwales and also forces them inward.

So you need a counterbalance.

If the third seat is just for you moving around, get rid of that pesky thwart.

You can take out the thwart and put it back in when you need it..ie three people.

OK I appreciate all; the info and ideas, I do need to learn the strokes i.e. technique better and with every trip I am getting better, I say trips they are usually day trips hunting or fishing. Once I get my gear better squared away I plan on some camping in the spring. Just want to have something that flops better from tandem, triple, to solo.

Will post more pics as I go.
 
G

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Lowering OT seats

Lowering OT seats

If you opt to lower the seats in your Penobscot you will be restricted in the achievable depth by the length of available machine screws. Six inch machine screws are the longest (commonly) available.

I suggest replacing the flimsy Old Town drilled-dowel style drops with truss drops from Ed’s Canoe

http://www.edscanoe.com/seathanger.html

The hardware (machine screws and etc) is also available from Ed’s.

I’m fond of the Penobscot as a big load hauler for solo paddling.

[/URL]
 
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Also if you drop your seats you will need two inch shorter shafted paddles. You will find you sink your current ones too far in the water. Paddling with the shaft in that far isn't efficient, and the last thing you want to do is raise your grip hand higher than now to keep the shaft out of the water.
 
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MHC, NC
Mike awesome pic, where did you get the bow skirt or how did you fabricate it? and the seat in the middle?? any more pics of that rig?
 
G

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Guest
Mike awesome pic, where did you get the bow skirt or how did you fabricate it? and the seat in the middle?? any more pics of that rig?

The cover is the front half of a Cooke Custom Sewing partial spray deck. On that trip I used only the bow cover for ease of loading and unloading a huge gear load.

The Penobscot is soloized with a positioned-for-me (and padded) contour seat on full truss drops. Skid plates. Utility sail thwart. Four double D-rings for full or partial floatation/gear. Twist-loop webbing tiedowns on the end of every machine screw. Foot brace, back band and deeply contoured minicel knee bumpers to lock me solidly in the hull. Webbing strap yoke. Utility/sail thwart positioned to trap a 30L barrel. Minicel padding everywhere my bones touch boat. After 10 years of near continual post-trip tweaking it fits me like a well worn deer skin glove.

I can’t seem to post photo directly to this site, but here are a couple more.

[/URL]

[/URL]
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2014
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Lower Saranac Lake, Adirondacks
Cannot tell from the OP's pic just where that center seat is, but if I was gonna haul three in that boat I'd want three seats. Wife in bow, guy in stern, kid ~ in center. I also spent a lot of time solo from that ~ center seat with a kid in each end two decades ago.

Thwarts are often missing from commercial offering to save money and weight. I'd keep the additions, they keep the weighted seats from collapsing the rails inward which reduces hull stability.

In a perfect world that center seat would be a foot for dedicated solo, up to 30" aft of longitudinal center to provide solo paddlers a narrower reach cross the rails. That's the best solo position in a most tandem canoes, well aft of the 36" wide midships center beam.

When lowering the seats you'll need to provide Ed's, which is run by the nice lady Pam, [can't explain that], the distance between the seat through holes to keep from getting seat drops / trusses that don't fit. Better to use 10/20 6" machine screws with nyloc nuts rather than 1/4" bolts - smaller holes in the rails weaken them less and less weight. If Ed's hasn't switched to the smaller units McM Carr does.

Pretty good do it all tandem. Enjoy!
 
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