Adding a Thwart for Solo

I have been paddling my OT Penobscot 17 solo; stern first and heeled, of course. I have added a closed-cell foam pad with Barge Cement: gunwale to gunwale, allows for across beam movement. Because sitting backward in the front seat lifted the stern (now front) too much, I added a thwart, 21" bow-ward of the mid-ship yoke/thwart. It is just a simple 1x2 sanded. It seems to be in about the right place to lean back against while kneeling. There seems to be enough room to still use the yoke AND be able to wet-exit safely. But it is all crude, unrefined, no padding. And I can’t sit on it, very long anyway.

Has anyone added such a kneeling/sitting support? What did you use? Dimensions? Padding? Shape? Position relative to Yoke/thwart and Front Seat etc.?

There are several canoes that come with
a kneeling thawrt, Two that I can think of are the Bell Northstar and the Curtis Northstar, The Hemlock Eagle is another that can be ordered with the thwart. The thwarts are made from straight grained Ash and are 3/4 x 2 1/4 with routed edges to round over top and bottom. you usually have to specify the drop, around 3" depending on the depth of the canoe. Or make your own. Placement is about 21 inches aft of the center yoke like you said. Here is a photo of a stock Curtis Northstar kneeling thwart…

Bell kneeling thwart

– Last Updated: Sep-01-06 11:32 AM EST –

There's one in the Northstar.

The hangers have a couple of inches of drop, and are angled so that the front edge of the thwart is lower than the rear.

I bought one from Bell for my Morningstar, but it'd be pretty easy to make one.

Added one in the Tripper

– Last Updated: Sep-01-06 11:40 AM EST –

I added a home-made kneeling thwart to my Tripper. I think it is closer to center than yours, maybe about 16 inches, and I added mine on the stern side. I first installed the thwart further back, but then moved it forward to its present position. My knees contact the hull right under, or maybe a bit forward of the center thwart. I was shooting for a neutral or slightly behind neutral trim on the boat, which I didn't get with the first placement.

My thwart is about .75" x 4 or so inches, oak, and I beveled and rounded the leading edge for a more comfortable butt contact. I do sometimes sit up on it. When I sit, I sit across both the center thwart and the kneeler thwart. In sitting position, the center twhart contacts the back of my thigh above the knee.

My thwart is bolted right up under the gunwale. Occasionaly I feel it is too high, but the sitting position wouldn't work if I lowered it.

Picture of me, the Tripper, and the kneeling thwart-->

~~Chip Walsh, Gambrills, MD

Seat instead of thwart?
If you spend a lot of time sitting, consider adding a seat instead of a kneeling thwart. For me it is much more comfortable to kneel on a seat than sit on a kneeling thwart. I replaced the kneeling thwart that came in my Northstar with a cane seat and am very plesed with the change.