Best method to solo in a tandem canoe?

I have a 16’ Mad River Adventure and was wondering which would be the better method to solo in it?

Add ballast forward of the bow seat(90lb), and paddle from the stern?

Or don’t add ballast at all and paddle from the center seat?

Would I have more control paddling from the center or paddling from the stern with ballast up front?


Personal opinion
Personal opinion: more control in the middle. You gain a whole second set of options because motions in front of the canoe’s center of rotation will have different effects from those behind it. Most important I think is the fact that you can add a drawing motion to the start of a stroke, which augments a J at the end (c stroke, I think some call it). It’s very handy when there’s no other paddler to balance your tendency to turn to the off side. That just doesn’t work from the stern, because the draw pulls the back side of the canoe, not the front.

But, why not take an afternoon and try both, and see what you prefer?

Easy one to answer…

Yep, I think I’ll just try both…
My only concern about trying to solo in the middle in this canoe is the width, it’s pretty wide. I’ve heard a kayak paddle is an option, but I guess I’ll just try a few different styles(stern with ballast, canoe paddle-center and kayak paddle-center) over the course of a couple of weekends and see how they feel.


Moving water and white water
I paddle from the middle - or backwards sitting in the front seat. Flatwater I sometimes stick a heavy weight (big rock works but probably not safest, water container works well) in the bow and sit in the stern seat. What you do will vary with the circumstances you are facing.

As far as width,
You might try scooting toward your paddling side a few inches. It makes the boat float crooked, but who cares. It may even handle better that way.

Candian style
Yep, that’s what the Canadian’s do. Er something like that. Anyways, when conditions are calm, put both knees into the on-side chine and heel the boat over almost to the gunwale. Now that big wide canoe is easy to reach over the side of and the ends come up out of the water making it effectively a shorter canoe and easier to manuever.

Kneeling in center seat
The construction of the Mad River Adventurer series does not allow kneeling from the center seat. But its heavy enough to allow the paddler to sit off center and slightly heel the canoe while seated.

Depends on the paddler
This is me in a 17’ Pat Moore canoe. I added a solo seat just aft of center.

tandem solo
i have a mohawk xl15 with the triple saddle in it. it is the best thing i have ever seen. call mohawk and get ya one on the way.