Canadian Canoe Routes

Seat and thwart position
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Author:  NaturalJosh [ July 22nd, 2007, 1:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Seat and thwart position

I have a 16' fiberglass canoe that I'm replacing all the wood parts on. Years ago when I took all the old wood trim I failed to mark where the seats and thwarts were placed. Is there and rhyme or reason to placing these. I'm planning on installing a central yoke, 2 thwarts and 2 seats(bow/stern) I've layed out were i think looks good for the thwarts...2 ft away from the center yoke is my thinking right now. Does this sound acceptable?

Thanks for any input,

Author:  Rapt [ July 23rd, 2007, 9:25 am ]
Post subject: 

If you're putting in a central yoke and seats two thwarts seems like overkill to me on a 16' boat.

I'd suggest that most 16' boats do fine with one single thwart/yoke at the midpoint.

At most I'd consider adding at most one additional thwart just behind the front seat unless you have a specific need for something at a given location. (Like a kneeling thwart, or a foot brace etc...) But personally I'd probably just forgo anything beyond the center one.

If you make the gunwales adequately stiff, then additional thwarts are just excess weight. And if the gunwales aren't stiff enough, more thwarts really won't help make up for it.

Author:  RHaslam [ July 23rd, 2007, 7:57 pm ]
Post subject: 

I have different thought s than the last poster....I always install two thwarts, as well as the center thwart...I don't think the extra .5 of a pound or even a pound adds a lot of weight. I think seat placement is more important. You can find some formula's for seat placemetn in Ted moores Canoecraft if the canoe is symetrical, which i am assuming it is. Once your seats are installed, find the absolute center of your canoe by getting a buddy to get on the opposite side and get the balance point. Then put in barrels or packs, whatever you normally carry, and place them next to the carrying thwart. Leave yourself a few inches past the barrels or packs and install your secondary thwarts there. Just make sure in the stern you have enough leg room, and in the bow, that the person's bum does not come in contact with the bow thwart. Reason I do this is for tie offs and also for hull rigidity. The canoe might last a few seconds more in a wrap situation if you have those thwarts. I also attach lashing ropes to them...Also, if your hull came with the extra two thwarts, there was probably a reaon for this.

Author:  Ghost [ July 23rd, 2007, 9:31 pm ]
Post subject: 

I recently rented a tandem canoe (17' Souris River) canoe that I paddled solo. I was a little disappointed because the thwart immediately behind the front seat prevented me from using the bow seat as a stern seat for soloing. I would put the centre yoke in and a thwart about half way between the stern seat and the yoke.

Author:  RHaslam [ July 24th, 2007, 6:15 am ]
Post subject: 

Yes, good point, if you are going to use it for soloing, leave that front thwart off, or put it on with wing nuts.

Author:  NaturalJosh [ July 24th, 2007, 9:52 am ]
Post subject: 

I'd be using it for both solo and tandem. I guess I'm inexperienced. Why do you turn the canoe around when going solo? I've done solo down the MO river a few times and never had a problem using the stern seat. I just put all my gear in front to wieght down the bow. Just curious more than anything.

I like the idea about doing wing nuts.

Author:  Ghost [ July 24th, 2007, 10:18 am ]
Post subject: 

NaturalJosh wrote:
I'd be using it for both solo and tandem. I guess I'm inexperienced. Why do you turn the canoe around when going solo? I've done solo down the MO river a few times and never had a problem using the stern seat. I just put all my gear in front to wieght down the bow. Just curious more than anything.

I like the idea about doing wing nuts.

Besides giving me the ability to shift my weight forward if needed, I find the stroke needs less correction, and I also like to be able to get my paddle more forward at times. I can't quite do a cross-bow pry, but I can do more there than when sitting in the stern seat.

Also having all of your mass at opposite ends of the canoe gives it a higher moment of inertia and makes it harder to turn quickly.

Author:  karl [ July 31st, 2007, 7:08 am ]
Post subject:  How many thwarts ?


The number of thwarts depends on several conditions.

1.stiffness of hull,this includes the dimension of inwales and outwales
2.hull material,fiberglass usually needs to well supported of hull,if the canoe is full volume tripper-more thwarts and if it lower
volume day canoe less should be good
4.more thwarts can give youe boat a nice look but make solo paddling hard
or make placing portage pack/barrels difficult

I would suggest finding another similar canoe and use its placement of seats as a guide.


Author:  scoutergriz [ July 31st, 2007, 8:40 am ]
Post subject: 

There are a couple of reasons for sitting in the bow seat and paddling the canoe backwards when soloing. When you sit on the stern seat, the bow will usually lift clear of the water and weathervane because of the large exposed surface. you also sacrifice a large amout of stability because you have effectively shortened the canoe and put the load at the narrowest point. You also have lost considerable mobility as now all corrections must be done from the stern. :(
My sugestion would be to only put in your seats, your yoke at the balance point and a kneeling thwart about 2' behind it ( standard thwart dropped about 2-3") and try it.
This arrangement will allow you to solo from the kneeling thwart using prys, draws, solo C strokes, and a racing switch. It will also allow you to trim the canoe better and give you plenty of space to store gear whether solo or tandem. :)

Author:  pake [ August 2nd, 2007, 11:39 am ]
Post subject: 

.....and one more thing to consider on thwart placement.

I used to believe that the extra thwarts might be overkill too. Especially so since most of my paddling is on flatwater, and wrapping around river obstructions wasn't a major problem.

As others have suggested, I long ago attatched the front thwart with wing nuts so that it could be quickly removed when I paddled solo from the front seat facing the rear. Frequently I just left the thwart off entirely as it didn't seem to be needed. I really noticed the absence of the thwart when transporting though. My main boat is a 17 foot kevlar, so there is some 'flex' in the hull. The rack is solid; Yakima. But a solidly mounted boat at the gunnels will still flex at the tumblehome and waterline areas, especially in heavy crosswinds. On several occasions I pulled off the road thinking that if I didn't the boat would take off on its own. When I checked, the boat was still solid to the rack. Adding the thwart back into the hull for travel dramatically reduced the effect. On composite hulls, the seat frames, thwarts, yoke and gunnels all work together to reduce side pressures.

Primarily for that reason I don't transport my stripper without both thwarts and the yoke in place. I don't like the idea of what might happen without them there.


Author:  Canucnu [ November 11th, 2007, 11:08 am ]
Post subject:  A Thought

Try installing a contoured kneeling thwart 2 to 3 feet behind center yoke, that will allow you to paddle without using bow seat, and should add enough stiffness to the hull. A thwart behind the bow seat on a 16 footer seems to be a little overkill as long as your seat trusses are sturdy enough.

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