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PostPosted: June 21st, 2019, 11:00 am 
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Hi all,

I'm in need of some wisdom concerning the set up of a Canyon for tripping. The Canyon comes with a second thwart behind the bow paddler. I can understand this reinforces the boat, but is it necessary? It's a bit of a pain for two reasons. (1) It takes away valuable space for loading bags and barrels. (2) I occasionally like to paddle solo from the bow position, and the thwart prevents me from sitting on the seat.

Any thoughts are appreciated!


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PostPosted: June 21st, 2019, 11:29 am 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
You might (can probably?) get away with removing that thwart. With one thwart, a yoke and two truss hung seats, (which add some rigidity) remaining I’d be tempted to try. I’m thinking about the Mad River Explorers that had just a center yoke and zero thwarts. Easy enough to remove that thwart for a trial run.

A couple things to check that would favor the possibility of removing the bow thwart. Esquif used a sturdier square box aluminum insert, instead of a simple L, on some canoes. Stick your finger up in the stems and feel around inside the inwale channel for the aluminum insert.

Esquif builds a stout canoe. I like that there is a wood carry thwart machine screw hung inside the molded deck plates on some Esquifs. Even the deck plate pop rivets; on our Esquif there are six-per-side 12 pop rivets on each vinyl deck plate, most manufacturers use half that many.

Go for it.


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PostPosted: June 21st, 2019, 12:58 pm 
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Well, ok . . . under normal conditions that thwart may not be necessary. However, whitewater boats get a lot of abnormal conditions. It might just keep the boat from folding up on you at an inopportune moment. I've left mine in -- but I do very little sitting in the bow.


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PostPosted: June 21st, 2019, 1:31 pm 
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Years ago I paddled an Explorer which as Mike mention has no "extra" thwart. When paddled solo from the bow seat it leaves a LONG section unsupported. I had a not so perfect run through a large rapid (C4) which ended with a direct impact with a large boulder at the bottom of the main drop.

That Explorer folded like a cheap suit, cracked both gunnels, created creases and a crack from the gunnel down about 10". It was repairable but it's an indicator that those thwarts really do something when needed.

In your situation you might want to remove that thwart but replace it with another in a different location suitable in position for when you paddle it solo reversed.

On the other hand if you are not planning on running anything other than small rapids you might be fine without it.

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PostPosted: June 21st, 2019, 2:00 pm 
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Location: Toronto Beach(es)
Souris River uses arched tubular metal thwarts to create extra room underneath for gear. Maybe check them out, or if you favour function over fashion, refasten your existing thwart above the gunwale to buy yourself a couple inches of room for packs.


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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2019, 9:06 am 
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recped wrote:
Years ago I paddled an Explorer which as Mike mention has no "extra" thwart. When paddled solo from the bow seat it leaves a LONG section unsupported. I had a not so perfect run through a large rapid (C4) which ended with a direct impact with a large boulder at the bottom of the main drop.

That Explorer folded like a cheap suit, cracked both gunnels, created creases and a crack from the gunnel down about 10". It was repairable but it's an indicator that those thwarts really do something when needed.

In your situation you might want to remove that thwart but replace it with another in a different location suitable in position for when you paddle it solo reversed.

On the other hand if you are not planning on running anything other than small rapids you might be fine without it.


We have both a soloized Explorer and a soloized Penobscot, with the tandem seats removed and a center seat installed. I added extra thwarts to both for increased lateral strength and stiffness. But even so I wouldn’t run either canoe in Class 4.

Even small rapids can be hazardous to canoe well being. I added a wide double-hung utility thwart to our Freedom Solo. My son pinned it on a small Class 2 section; the RX hull has some wrinkles on both chines, but it didn’t fold up and the gunwales are unbent.

If the desire is to occasionally paddle solo bow backwards that thwart isn’t gonna work in its current location, but I would be somewhat hesitant to take out if running serious whitewater.

Moving it nearer the yoke for bow backwards legroom would further reduce pack or barrel space. Moving it to the other side of the bow seat would preclude tandem use.

If you could tolerate taking out and reinstalling a thwart between tandem and solo uses maybe cut a second thwart that would fit in front of the bow seat and switch them out when you want to go solo bow backwards.


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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2019, 10:47 am 
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Hey swampwalker, I'd hesitate to remove that thwart since it adds both bending strength and torsional strength to the front of the boat...the thwarts and yoke are ideally placed to help create a box type structure for the boat. Without the thwart twisting loads from the front of the boat will increase and will be transferred directly to the fasteners on the center yoke and in the unlikely event that the yoke loosens or breaks a fastener you are paddling a noodle. The twisting loads could be pretty high in a fully loaded boat. Ideally you could add a kneeling thwart in front of the rear thwart for solo paddling and remove it when tandem tripping or second best would be to replace the rear thwart with a kneeling thwart and move it a bit closer to the yoke.


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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2019, 3:46 pm 
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Thinking that you can just remove the thwart for solo trips. Can't see how the thwart is in the way for gear on a tandem trip. Maybe too much gear? We trip in our Presage and all gear is between the seats. If Esquif put the thwart in I would leave it in for WW tandem trips.


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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2019, 11:41 pm 
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Mike McCrea wrote:
But even so I wouldn’t run either canoe in Class 4.


Either would I except when you think it's only a Class 2 coming up! My (more skilled) partner was in his ancient Perception HD1 and had a clean run, I followed and missed the zigzag at the end.

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PostPosted: June 23rd, 2019, 10:12 am 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
swampwalker wrote:
(1) It takes away valuable space for loading bags and barrels. (2) I occasionally like to paddle solo from the bow position


Thinking more about 1, and 2. The thwart behind the bow seat appears to be (maybe) 10 or 12 inches behind the seat. In several of our canoes I have additional thwarts, most often a “utility thwart” with a sail mount, bungee and other doodads.

The utility thwart is about 28” in front of the seat, mostly so the sail positioned correctly, but that leaves gobs of leg room. There is a regular bow thwart 13” in front of the utility thwart, and a reason for that distance; a 45L barrel slips in that slot perfectly

ImageP3200675 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

No gear storage room is lost, the space between those two thwarts is perfect for a big portage pack or barrel. Especially a barrel, trapped where it can’t roll around. To augment that anti-barrel roll I have a minicel wedge glued in place to further trap it in place

ImageP2170546 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

(Essh, decaying 20 year old no-longer-brightwork. All removed and refinished)

Where I’m going, and I took a while to get there, is there room to move the bow thwart towards center enough to provide sufficient bow-backwards leg room, and maybe create a space to trap a portage pack or barrel?

Still has a bow thwart, didn’t lose any gear storage room (and possibly improves it), can be paddled bow backwards.

I’m still curious if the Canyon has a full-box aluminum insert in the gunwales.


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PostPosted: June 23rd, 2019, 7:49 pm 
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What's the beam measurement? My Trailhead P16 Royalex does not have a 2nd thwart - it is very similar to my Nova Craft P16 Royalex which does except it is about a 33" beam and the NC is about 36". Not sure if that makes a difference or not but I see no signs of it being an issue.


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PostPosted: June 23rd, 2019, 8:12 pm 
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The lack of that "2nd thwart" isn't an issue until it is! If you paddle flat water and calm rivers and never have a serious high impact collision or wrapping scenario then you would never miss it. If you do have one of these incidents then you'll know why it would have been a good thing.

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PostPosted: June 24th, 2019, 8:46 am 
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1) Sounds like it's not the right boat for you so next time you're in MB, you can give it to me!

2) Take the thwart out. Make the boat work best for what you want. If there's any issues with flexing, you can always put it back in. We were just looking at this doing this to a friend's Canyon that he'll be using while instructing. Being able to solo it around makes it way more versatile.

3) If you're worried about what it'll do when wrapped, lash all your gear in to keep it from getting wrapped as bad. That would probably do more in the long run than an extra thwart.

4) If you're thinking of soloing it and will take the dog in that boat, buy some think closed cell foam to put behind the bow seat. Our smaller dog gets that spot in our prospector so I put foam there to make her more comfortable (vinyl is slippery for their little paws) and it'll double as a kneeling pad for me when I solo it.


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PostPosted: June 24th, 2019, 11:51 am 
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Neil Fitzpatrick wrote:
1) Sounds like it's not the right boat for you so next time you're in MB, you can give it to me!

2) Take the thwart out. Make the boat work best for what you want. If there's any issues with flexing, you can always put it back in. We were just looking at this doing this to a friend's Canyon that he'll be using while instructing. Being able to solo it around makes it way more versatile.

3) If you're worried about what it'll do when wrapped, lash all your gear in to keep it from getting wrapped as bad. That would probably do more in the long run than an extra thwart.

4) If you're thinking of soloing it and will take the dog in that boat, buy some think closed cell foam to put behind the bow seat. Our smaller dog gets that spot in our prospector so I put foam there to make her more comfortable (vinyl is slippery for their little paws) and it'll double as a kneeling pad for me when I solo it.


1)I’ll give you a leaky Coleman raft and two almost new pool noodles for the Canyon

2) Absolutely. Make it your own. I have altered things, thwarts, seat placement, even a wee bit of gunwale width on most every canoe we own. And that’s not counting personalized outfitting, D-rings and webbing ties and minicel.

3) Shit happens. I am all about risk management. But pinned open-side upriver in whitewater damn near any empty boat will fold like a taco. Gear can help occlude some water pressure, on day trips floatation tied/laced/strapped in helps even more, and an errant boat will float higher in the water.

4) Yes, some dog padding on the bottom. On blazing hot sunny days some kind of shade is good too.


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PostPosted: June 24th, 2019, 12:19 pm 
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Thank you all! These are all helpful suggestions and considerations.


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