• Happy Dedication of Everglades National Park (1947) 🐊🌴

What am I doing wrong?

Joined
Mar 22, 2022
Messages
15
Reaction score
3
I bought a three seat Penobscot 16. Seats are stock. It doesn’t seem like a super simple paddling event. Perhaps going from tandem rear to solo center is a different altogether. While lightly loaded, moving my small tackle box from behind me to my feet is wildly different in trim. Is this normal? Recommendations? Too light? I love the boat. Kneeling isn’t awesome. My flexibility isn’t great. TYIA!
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2012
Messages
489
Reaction score
269
Location
Altoona, Pennsylvania
If your small tackle box is making that much of an impact when you put it in front of you, try paddling it from the bow seat if you haven’t already so you are closer to the middle of the boat. Or try paddling from the middle seat but I expect that it is located at the widest part of the boat. I’d try paddling the boat backwards from the bow seat first. If that helps you can also add some weight as far forward of your position to keep the nose down.

Barry
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
7,000
Reaction score
982
Location
Raymond, ME
Solo canoe seats are never in the center. Always a little aft of center; depending on boat 5-10 inches from the front of the seat to the center of the canoe. I suspect that with you in the center seat the trim is way off and you are bow heavy.. Does steering feel like you are a drunken sailor?
Seats are moveable. That center seat was likely placed with a passenger not a paddler in mind.
 

Glenn MacGrady

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
3,236
Reaction score
1,435
Location
Connecticut
I'm not clear on what you think is "wrong", ironandwood. No matter what seat you sit in, moving some gear in a lightly laden boat can change the trim. The idea is to place the gear so the trim feels efficient.

In my opinion (but not everyone's), it's even more important when soloing to place your body in a position to maximize efficient trim in an empty canoe.

A 16' Penobscot is not so wide that it can't be paddled effectively from a centralized seat. But, as Yellowcanoe has pointed out, for "central seated paddling" the front edge of that seat should be 5'-10" aft of the geometric center of the canoe, depending on the height, arm reach and weight of the paddler. Measure it. If the front edge of the seat is too far forward, you will have to move it somewhat aft to get proper empty boat trim for you as paddler.

But, as I said, even when you have properly trimmed a centralized seat for your body in an empty canoe, sliding gear back and forth will affect that trim somewhat. In addition, if these normal and slight changes in trim are affecting your ability to control the canoe solo, it may just be a matter of getting more experience, practice and training in solo canoe technique.
 
Joined
Nov 29, 2012
Messages
653
Reaction score
205
Location
southwest Indiana
Just shifting a tackle box from behind you to just in front of you should not have any material effect of trim. Unless of course, you carry gold bars in your tackle box in which case I would suggest you simply hire someone to paddle the canoe with you as a passenger.

If your canoe paddling career has been solely as a stern paddler in a tandem will involve some changes. First, you will not have a bow paddler counterbalancing the turning effect of the forward stroke so you will likely need to employ significantly more correction to keep your canoe on track. That or paddle sit and switch but a 34" wide boat will not be the easiest to paddle that way. Secondly, you will need to learn some bow quadrant strokes that you may not have used before such as bow draws and cross draws.

For what it is worth the solo canoes I own that have a fairly symmetrical water footprint that are set up for kneeling have the front edge of the seat no more than 4" aft of the longitudinal center of the canoe. An asymmetrical swedeform canoe will have to have the seat placed farther aft.
 
Joined
Mar 22, 2022
Messages
15
Reaction score
3
Thanks, Barry. The center stock seat is about 16" behind center to the leading edge. I found a guy that has the same boat that he only has one seat in to see how he is rigged, but his is closer to center than mine. I have only paddled it tandem and solo (from the center seat). I will have to try it from the bow seat.

Thanks, yellowcanoe. Perhaps I need to log more time in it solo so that I can give a better summary. I haven't floated since last season. Me and a buddy did take the Tripper on a few hour jaunt last weekend. I moved the seats back in that too. Much better now.

Thanks, Glenn. I agree, I do need more experience and perhaps it is perfect, albeit foreign to me still. Being wide in the middle isn't great. Maybe running it backwards and sitting in the bow seat would make me happy. Time will tell.

Thanks, pblanc. LOL. The symmetrical 4" rule; is that empty, loaded or both?
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
7,000
Reaction score
982
Location
Raymond, ME
Sitting at the widest point is always problematic for reach.. Really the best way to solo a tandem is using a kneeling thwart about 15 inches aft of center and heeling the boat over a little for better reach. Heeling while sitting is not conducive to a warm fuzzy feeling.
 

Glenn MacGrady

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
3,236
Reaction score
1,435
Location
Connecticut
Ironandwood, here is a very detailed discussion of various opinions and methods of computing the proper placement of a centralized solo seat and the related issue of trim:

 
Joined
Nov 29, 2012
Messages
653
Reaction score
205
Location
southwest Indiana
Thanks, pblanc. LOL. The symmetrical 4" rule; is that empty, loaded or both?
If you wish to consistently paddle with a load in front of you then you would wish to position the seat a bit farther aft. But unless you are paddling with a single pack, or a single dog, gear can usually be positioned both in front of and behind your paddling position to trim the boat.

I have found that a majority of production canoes are usually outfitted at least somewhat bow light. That might be good as it is generally better to be a bit bow light than bow heavy when it comes to control. Having a tandem boat set up bow light allows for a greater range of bow paddler weights if there is a discrepancy between bow paddler and stern paddler size. A canoe that is a bit bow light also has a bit less tendency to take on water traversing sizable wave trains.

On the other hand, for moving water and especially whitewater paddling the majority of paddlers I know prefer to have the boat trimmed neutrally. This allows one to effectively weight the bow a bit by leaning forward. Weighting the bow allows one to engage the bow more effectively which becomes very important for crisp eddy turns and eddy exits. A bow light boat tends to smear along eddy lines rather than cut through them to engage the eddy current. A bow light boat also makes it very difficult to execute an effective back ferry, if you like back ferries.

Take a look at where very experienced boat builders like Dave Curtis position the seats in their solo canoes. Below is a photo of a Curtis Dragonfly, a canoe which was designed for whitewater racing in the combined (slalom and downriver in the same canoe) class. This canoe has a symmetrical water footprint. The seat in the picture is not stock but the seat hangers and the position of the hangers is completely stock. The front edge of the seat frame is only very slightly more than 3" aft of the measured longitudinal center of the hull.

On the other hand, the Dragonfly is only 24 1/2" wide at the gunwales with a maximum width of 28 1/2". That makes paddling sit and switch and cross strokes much easier than in a boat 34" wide. As has been said, if you are paddling a tandem canoe solo, it is sometimes the better part of valor to position your paddling station a bit farther aft where the boat is not quite so wide. But that comes at the expense of rendering strokes in the bow quadrants either impossible or much less effective.thumbnail (2).jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 9, 2019
Messages
101
Reaction score
54
I bought a three seat Penobscot 16. Seats are stock. It doesn’t seem like a super simple paddling event. Perhaps going from tandem rear to solo center is a different altogether. While lightly loaded, moving my small tackle box from behind me to my feet is wildly different in trim. Is this normal? Recommendations? Too light? I love the boat. Kneeling isn’t awesome. My flexibility isn’t great. TYIA!
I bought a three seat Mad River and felt the same way. Just didn't click on that middle seat, UNTIL a 60 inch beaver tail paddle turned up at a yard sale. Oh man, what a difference! It turns out all I needed was a better paddle.
 
Top