Solo canoe seat question

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Many, especially old school solo canoes have their seats mounted quite far back. All my modern solos have the seat front app 4" back from center balancing the load. Why did they mount them so far back? I have moved several solo seats mounted like this foreword to improve handling and stability. I can see it if you always carried a load in the front. Please enlighten me-many of you have broad experience. thanks,Turtle
 
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Many, especially old school solo canoes have their seats mounted quite far back. All my modern solos have the seat front app 4" back from center balancing the load. Why did they mount them so far back? I have moved several solo seats mounted like this foreword to improve handling and stability. I can see it if you always carried a load in the front. Please enlighten me-many of you have broad experience. thanks,Turtle

Turtle, who you calling broad? I prefer wide, or thick.

I’m a big guy; big feet, calves and thighs, substantial front porch overhang. I have moved the seats in modern solos back a few inches so that my bulk is at a better (or at least my preferred) bow light trim and balance point. I am a sitter 99% of the time, but if I go to my knees on a seat with the front edge 4” back of center the canoe will be noticeably bow heavy unwieldy.

About the seats in old school solos being factory installed further back, my guess would be that, in olden days when solo canoes were less common, many paddlers, like me, first learned to paddle from the bow seat backwards, and that further aft position felt more familiar.

Add to that a lot of modern solo canoes are now designed by and for very proficient paddlers; some of those designers are on the small, or at least slender, side, and from what I have read of their trips, do not carry my absurd amount of creature comforts.

When I soloize a tandem I put the seat further back, front edge 4” to 6” back of center, give or take depending on the depth of the seat frame and width of the canoe at paddling station.

For my purposes tripping anything more than an overnighter in a slender 14’ solo is unlikely, if not potentially unwise.

Carrying a large/heavy gear load I can move things around for the day’s windage or downwind sailing trim, and having the heaviest pack just in front of my feet, nearer center hull as opposed to closer to the stems helps. Not only can I push it forward/pull it back as desired, but that is usually a big, heavy 115L pack; it fits better closer to center, is easier to load/unload when not wedged in stuck just-barely fits under the inwales, and with a full-up canoe I can load the lightest gear nearer the stems.

Or maybe that is all rationalization, and I just like my solo seat further back.
 
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I like the front of my seat 6 to 9 inches from the center, depending on the canoe. John Winters says of his solo models that the seat should be far enough back to make the stern squat a little in the water. In the asymmetrical canoe, I guess this gives it better tracking ability, although it certainly hampers it a bit in white water. I'm not a fan of sliding seats, and since most of my solo paddling is done during trips, if I need to adjust trim I throw my daypack in the stern or bow, depending on which end needs to be looser.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Many, especially old school solo canoes have their seats mounted quite far back.

I'm not sure what "old school" solo canoes you have in mind, Turtle. Do you have some specific examples? All the whitewater and flatwater open solo canoes, and all the decked canoes and kayaks, I've bought and been familiar with since 1980 have had a centralized solo seat for proper solo trim and four quadrant paddling strokes.

The front edge of "centralized" solo seats probably have varied from manufacturer to manufacturer from 4"-8" behind the geometric center depending on the length of the canoe and it's waterline shape -- symmetrical, fish-form or swede-form -- and whether the seat is a primarily a kneeling seat or sitting (often tractor) seat. Since sitting on a centralized seat usually moves the paddler's center of gravity further stern-ward than kneeling off the front edge of the seat, I would suppose dedicated sitting seats should be mounted slightly more forward than dedicated kneeling seats for proper trim, but the difference might not be enough to worry about.
 
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The seat in the old wood solo canoe on an near post is way back. The seat on a wenona sandpiper was way back. Some mohawk solos i think.i have seen others, but cant remember what they were. By old school I mean not advanced hulls like bell colden, swift, hemlock ect.
 
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The seat in the old wood solo canoe on an near post is way back. The seat on a wenona sandpiper was way back. Some mohawk solos i think.i have seen others, but cant remember what they were. By old school I mean not advanced hulls like bell colden, swift, hemlock ect.

Some of the Nova Craft solo canoes have seats placed well aft of where I would like to have them. The Supernova comes to mind. It varies a bit with whether I plan to sit, kneel or do both, and the height of the seat, but I usually figure that my center of gravity will be not more than 3 or 4 inches forward of the front rail edge of a traditional rectangular framed seat. In a hull with a symmetrical water foot print I seldom place the front rail more than 4 inches aft of center. The front edge of a kneeling thwart winds up being maybe an inch farther back.
 
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Humans keep getting heavier. They were designed to carry a load. I put my solo seat about 7 inches back of center to account for my dog in the bow. Wow.
 
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Many, especially old school solo canoes have their seats mounted quite far back.

Yes, I have a mid '70s Old Town Pack and the stock single seat was way, way back. Like where it would be a stern seat if they were going to have two seats. And it was plastic. Put my 185 lbs there and pull a wheelie.
As it turns out, the new, fabulously beautiful, owner built, ash seat will probably be mounted in the next few days, if McFadden-Dale has the stainless mounting hardware I need. And it will be mounted a whole lot closer to center.
 
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On an asymmetrical boat the center point of the wetted area is behind the center of the boat as determined by length so the seat has to be behind the mid length point or you'll be bow down. To add to what has already been said your center of gravity is ahead of the seat to some degree no matter how you sit, kneel or paddle so the seat still needs to be at least some distance behind the length midpoint.

The only two canoes I've had with factory center seats are both Dagger Reflection 15s and both seats had the front edge of the seat at 8-9" behind the length midpoint. Incidentally, both seats were mounted with the forward edge of the seat an inch lower than the rear edge to make it more comfortable to kneel and both seats had the rear fairly high so there was ample room for a kneeling paddler to get their feet out in a hurry if needed.

Best regards,


Lance
 
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I haven't been paddling long enough to be old school, I don't like center seats and if I have to go to my knee I have a hard time getting my feet under the seat which may lead to a hard time getting them out in the event of a dump. I end up forward of center and with my minimal paddling skills, especially from the center, I have a lot less control.

Add to that I hate detachable Carry Thwarts
 
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My Malecite has the factory center seat. Put me on that seat, in deep water, with a 60 inch Beavertail paddle, and I am in canoeist heaven. J-stroke all afternoon on the left side and never get tired.
 
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Sweeper, I raise all my solo seats to give plenty of room for my size 12s..With the front of the seat app 5" back of center, water put inside most solo canoes shoes perfect front rear balance. gives me the best control and is way easier on my back. I still don't have an answer to my original question-there must be one-if many solos are built that way?
 
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I suspect the reason is just not thinking to move the seat forward. A lot of solo work here is done with 14 or 15 foot tandems, using the backwards technique ( symetrical hulls) . My last Huron was actually done that way including removal of the rear seat ( read front now). This was simply so I didnt have to put more holes in the inwales. In retrospect I should have moved the seat but after all the work I put into that boat it felt wrong drilling holes in it.
The dedicated solo canoe never really took off in Canada the way it did in the States. Possibly because day trips and such were not as popular? Most of us used our canoes for longer trips with groups of people. Some of the whitewater guys had cute little boats but a lot of us just ran stuff in our chopper gun tandems or plastic Colemans. There was usually beer involved.

What did take off here is kayaks. Holy cow can you ever see a lot of them now. I will even admit to having one and liking it. On a side note I have used a canoe paddle in my kayak yes. So I think we generally skipped over solo canoes and went straight to kayaks.

I have an old 14 foot glass canoe that is coming in today to get reconfigured for a centrally mounted solo seat. And footpegs. Old dogs can learn new tricks .
 
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Bummer sweeper, i get your problem. All the many new solo canoes i have bought have a seat too low for me-I have raised them all. i think they make them low so their canoe seem stable to newbys.
 
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It's an interesting question Turtle. I've never paddled a Sandpiper or a Mohawk solo. I did have a Blackhawk Ariel that felt much much better with a large dog in front of me. In the Bell/Colden Fire boats it seems like they are more intended to be paddled empty vs loaded up for traveling. I know that my Wildfire was too nose heavy when I added a 70 pound lab (and Flashfire was not a good dog boat...but Kestrel or Vagabond were fine). Maybe some of the older boats just needed the seat further back so they didn't become hard to control (bow heavy) when loaded. Maybe some of the newer boats are designed to be less sensitive to seat position, I know that my Merlin II and Keewaydin 15 both feel good empty or with a 60-70 pound dog in front of me. It seems like the shorter the boat the more the designer would be forced to choose between ideal seat placement for a lightly loaded boat or a safer and more versatile position further back that gives up performance when the boat is empty. My 14 foot Yellowstone Solo handles a 60 pound dog pretty well (and feels great empty) but it's on the edge of being bow heavy and a bit tail happy with the dog.
 
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I know both my solo lake canoes could use the seat back a little to accommodate my dog. My Prism has a sliding seat that could go back further than the rails allow. I'm hoping the new tandem I ordered can be paddled backwards with the right doggie trim.
 
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I actually moved one sandpiper seat foreword for a guy that kept dumping and was going to buy a new more stable boat-he then kept the one he had.
 
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