Adding a center seat

I recently purchased a Wenonah Prospector 16’ in Royalex. I will, on occasion, be taking a young grandchild out in it. Still, I did not order it with a center seat. My thinking was that, for occasional use, I would just get one of those removable snap-in or adjustable seats to put in place as needed.

After a bit more consideration, I am thinking that a better solution might be to pick up a web seat and hardware on ebay and install it when needed; just 4 screws to fuss with, and it would be a much better, firmer seat. It would also useful were I to paddle solo.

My question: Is it alright to install the center seat in place of the yoke? My concern is that the seat would not provide as rigid a brace.

Thanks in advance for you help and perspective.

Can do …
My bell morningstar came factory equipped with a center seat and it has a thwart just aft of the seat.

While I love the center seat for soloing or extra passengers, I miss the carrying yoke.

If I were to do it again I think I’d get one of those seats with a built-in yoke

center seat
I made a similar modification to my Wenonah Saranac, an out of production tandem model that is ~15’ long and 36" @ its widest point. After exploring many possibilities, including one of those plastic snap-in seats, (wanna buy it?), I wound up installing a center seat a few inches back from the center of the boat. I purchased an extra wide webbed seat from Wenonah w/ the mounting hardware. You have to drill out the existing rivets in that area, slide the brackets up under the gunwales, drill new holes and install new rivets. The learning process involved with drilling out rivets made a few unsightly holes, but nothing a little black caulk couldn’t remedy.

I removed the center yoke altogether, and installed a new thwart a few inches behind the bow seat. The new seat and thwart gave the hull more rigidity than before. I can still carry the canoe myself with the center webbed seat resting on my shoulder.

The stock brackets put the seat at an ideal height and angle for sitting or kneeling, and the boat is now trimmed nicely for solo paddling.

child in bow seat?
Could the child just sit in the bow seat?

Also I’ve seen kids sit on the floor in one of those Therm a rest camp seats, keeps the center of gravity lower and they lean back against the center thwart.

solo seat in a tandem
Solo paddling tandems never works well. They are too wide to easily reach across the rail and apply a vertical paddleshaft. When heeled onside to allow easy access to the water, they carve offside turns, requiring more J or pry correction.

Installing a seat at the center thwart bolt will make that hull run down by the bow. The bow will grab and not draw to the paddle, the stern will skid out. These are not good things unless you need more frustration in your life.

That said, the best place for a solo seat is where the third thwart is installed. This should leave enough room to kneel/sit behind the carry thwart, which you will need to retain to portage the beast.

If spacing between stern seat is tight, consider a kneeling thwart; Eds or Essex.

The third thwart placement places one aft of center, where the hull is narrower; it’ll be easier to stack your hands.

I’d remove the thwart, put the seat/thwart in and forget fiddling with machine screws, nuts, drivers and wrenches. That’ll mess the hull up over time, particularly if it has wooden rails.

more frustration in your life?
Doing correction stokes and not being able to quickly turn is – believe it or not – a normal part of paddling. I’m sorry you find them frustrating.

The issues you bring up are only important when one gets into racing speed mode, does serious whitewater, when freestyling, or delights in challenging the weather gods.

But the fact is, even though reading this board would lead one to believe that everyone does these things, in truth it’s only a very small minority of paddlers who do so, which is why solo canoes are a rare sight in most parts of the country.

What I find frustrating is how we at P-Net can so readily tell someone he’s wrong when his goal is to improve his boat for all-around use and not to be an extreme paddler.

So Ed, all of this guy’s comments are true, but mostly irrelevant for a casual paddler, aside from the weight centering issue as you do want to place your seat so your bow is a tadbit higher than the stern when soloing.

Make Sure of Placement
I rigged out my MR Malecite to be a solo, since have turned it back to tandem. I put in a solo seat in the center and was off by just a hair so the bow would rise everytime I carried it. You can get a web carry thwart that is attachable, seen them used and have consider them. Might be some food for thought.


As CEWilson says
put the seat where the aft thwart is. On my Ranger Otter I installed a kneeling thwart about 24" aft of the center. It has since been replaced with a seat in the same position. The back of the seat is in the same position as the kneeling thwart. For my weight ,about 190, the boat trims out nicely.

Thinking it over
Thanks for all of your replies. You have really advanced my thought process on this.

Basically, it seems that if I go ahead with this route I need to carefully consider placement, and will need to add a thwart, probably just behind the bow seat.

I found the link to Essex industries to be quite interesting and potentially helpful. Certainly had never seen anything like that yoke/seat. I’m not sure exactly how that would be located, however. It would seem that a “center” seat is best mounted slightly astern for best trim, but that puts the yoke rail of the seat toward the front, which would seem to be conflict the sitting position.

A lot to think about. I’m now also considering an option that kind of splits the difference between these approaches by getting a web seat and then fabricating brackets would slide into place and rest on the top of the gunwales. Might at least work fine for the little guy.

On my Ranger

– Last Updated: Aug-21-07 10:28 PM EST –

The carry thwart is in the center. The seat is mounted behind it.

I also added a thwart just behind the front seat because I thought the bottom of the hull had too much flex. That fixed it.

Paddle it backwards
Somewhere I read that with kids you paddle in the bow and the kid paddles in the stern both of you facing backwards. It trims the boat pretty well and the kid can reach the water really well. With my 8yo nephew in a Malecite it worked really well.