16' penobscot solo paddling configuratio

That can work, but if you also want to
maneuver in whitewater, your weight needs to be at the pivot point of the boat. If you’re there, you’ll still have enough “cab forward” reach to get good acceleration, and also (somewhat depending on the boat) to ditch your J stroke. I can accelerate my boats straight ahead with a single stroke and no correction at all.

Solo in Penobscot
I agree with bushwacker. Canoeing is a very traditional sport. People have been turning symmetrical boats around and paddling from the bow seat for a very long time and it works. Especially with some dunnage or a trained dog to control the ballast. If your boat is empty and you have a head wind you may have to kneel once in awhile which is no big deal.

Many things “work” until you try
a better approach. You can support mediocrity if you wish.