Canoe saddle height

My first question in a forum so please keep that in mind! Does any one have any experience with raising the saddle height in a 11-12’ WW canoe to 13-14". I’m really wondering about how it affects stability. I’ve had a caption for about 20 years and recently had to raise saddle height because of bad knees. And most everything about me is old and worn out. Question is i’d like to get lighter, shorter boat but will the tall saddle height make it too unstable?
Thanks for any advice or experience with this.

I’d say that the answer is Probably but may depend on the canoe. You would need to give it a try.

A good paddling friend of mine bought an Encore in the mid-90s & found it pretty unstable with the stock saddle. He cut about 2" off & spent years paddling class III & IV.

thanks for the reply. I’m hoping to find someone that has actually raised height on an outrage, ocoee or something similar. The Caption i have was actually bought to paddle tandem with my sons when they were growing up. Its just getting a little heavy for me as I’ve gotten older. Might have to take up kayaking. Really hate to it took darn long to get descent at canoeing.

Higher saddle means a higher center of gravity, which means less stable. 11" to 12" is already pretty high - I can’t imagine 13" to 14". I have an 11" inch pedestal in my old Encore - very comfortable, but some of my friends call it the “Tower of Doom”. I now paddle an Outrage with a 10" saddle - other guys in that boat have 8" to 9" pedestals. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try it, especially if that is what it takes to stay in a canoe, but I think you are probably better in a bigger boat with a higher pedestal.

The pedestals in my whitewater canoes are typically a little over 8 inches above the hull bottom near the “nose” and around 9" high at the hips. I agree with ecklison that 11-12" is already quite high. An increase of height of a couple of inches can make a big difference in stability in some boats.

If you are looking for something lighter there is a nice looking Dagger Rival listed in the classifieds here. I think the price is a bit high but it is fully outfitted.

My Ocoee saddle is 9". One of my local runs is through a gorge, and it has a many mile flat water paddle out to the takeout. As my knees got worse with age I started carrying a couple of pieces of flat minicell foam to tuck under me to lift me up a couple inches. Stability definitely decreased, but comfort certainly increased. I ended up carrying the foam with me all the time, and would slide a piece under me for mellower stretches, and take it back out when the difficulty ratcheted up a notch or two. The minicell stuck to itself remarkably with little to no sliding (assuming I was cranked down tight).

I’d certainly recommend playing around with removable pieces. A paddling buddy of mine uses velcro on his after losing his extra padding during a swim. Put the soft fuzzy side up on the saddle so that if you don’t have your extra piece of foam on you won’t be on the scratchy hard velcro.

It sounds like the previous owner was very comfortable with that boat. You might also become that comfortable, someday. All boats have some peculiarities in handling that take time to figure out.

I would cut down that saddle an inch at a time and try it to see if it fits me right. Whatever it takes to allow you to get it on the water is the key.

Save all of the cut off pieces and add them back as your confidence rises. The higher the saddle, the more mechanical advantage you get with your paddle stroke, but the more unstable the whole thing gets.

Make it work for you, now, tomorrow might be something different for you.

Hi all
Thanks for comments and suggestions. I think i’m going to bring some asst closed cell foam pieces with me on my next paddle and see if the knees get a little more flexible with paddling before looking into smaller boat.
Thanks much

late to the party, but betting a height increase makes a large decrease in stability. My son and I both paddled Dagger Encores primarily for a few years. I had a Perception saddle and was quite comfortable keeping it mostly upright. Ended up selling the boat for $50, beat and patched, to a young guy who saw the light. My son moved out, and I started paddling his Encore with a foam home made saddle. IIRC the saddle is around 13" and requires pretty much a constant brace, even if passive, in moving water. Huge difference in stability, and made me appreciate my kids ability even more.

Hi Mat
I’m thinking i’ll have to get legs more flexible if i want to keep paddling WW in an open boat. When I paddled last week a I told a friend I thought i could get away with raising the saddle yet another 2". He suggested at that point it was getting into stand up paddle boarding territory.
Thanks for your input.
Appreciate it

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My son recognized knee issues early and raised his saddle. I remained stubborn, and after some runs found my self initially unable to exit the canoe/C1 without a lot of pain. Had a couple boats, gyramax and a converted kayak with 4" saddles. Loved the gyramax, but couldn’t take the pain. A typical after work session would be 15 minute intervals,gyramax/squirtboat forcing my legs straight out, then the Flashback,seated on
thwart lower than my feet, probably 8".Great fun,but too much pain by the 15 minute mark in the canoes, and raw feet in the squirtboat.Eventually we both got primarily into canoe poling, way too much fun in cl.2, no shuttle, full body workout, and easy on the knees. Gave it a couple years back,still have 4 canoes but preferring biking, running and weight training these days. Getting near retirement, and don’t want to hit it as a cripple.

My son with a 13-14" saddle. Me with the Perception. He made it look easy. I felt like a drunk in that setup.

I switched over to the dark side (kayak) when the saddle height in the c1 was higher than the cockpit rim. The canoe saddle height was approaching the gunnels. At that point it just became a science experiment in balance. It kept class II interesting but I got a bit more swim practice than I wanted. Thus for me the butt boats. It’s all good, if it gets you out on the water and you are having fun. As far as what is possible, well there’s always ww striding!