Fore and aft seat positioning

Anybody have any thoughts on advantages or disadvantages of positioning a kayak seat a few inches one direction or the other.


i think it’s mostly about
the trim of the boat. moving the seat affects how your weight is distributed accross the boat and how it sits in the water.

Spray skirt
I’ve thought about it since at least some (including one of the testers in SK) thought the CD Caribou seat would be better back a little bit, to make skeg-less tracking somewhat more stable and less affected by the wind.

My concern with doing this, other than dealing with the actual detachment of the seat (it appears to be glued to the bottom) would be sprayskirt fit. It’s stretched plenty tight in front of me now, an inch or two more stretch might be uncomfortable, as would more bunching-up behind. Also, it would possibly make the rear coaming interfere with the my PFD back.

My particular boat has a skeg so I’m probably leaving the seat alone and instead working on coming to grips with the mental anguish of using the skeg from time to time.


That’s why the skeg’s there
If you move the seat to trim it aft to alter weather helm it’s a 100% thing. If you only need it in certain wind conditions part of the time - better to use the skeg. That’s what it’s for.

For trim as it relates to speed - use caution. Some boats are very forgiving of large shifts fore/aft - others will be affected more. Small steps, marks on hull to measure results, etc. Only do this is trim’s off, not to try to correct stern squatting at speed. Squat is is normal - as long as bow does not lift (and you maintain max LWL). Trimming bow deeper than needed in an attempt to reduce stern squatting only buries the bow more and can have negative results.

I’ve only had this boat for a couple months, and had read a lot about the weather helm concerns before I got it. I don’t have too much of a problem with the idea of using the skeg, when there’s appreciable wind and waves.

Of more annoyance, so far, are very light-breeze conditions, say less than 5mph such that when going downwind you are basically in still air. I find the boat just a little too happy to veer off course. It’s right on the edge, you can detect a difference in the veering willingness just by leaning forward or back a bit.

Yes, if you are vigilant with your paddling you can keep it on track, but sometimes I just say to heck with it and drop the evil fin. Going upwind in similarly light air is so much more pleasant, boat tracks great with no skeg (no veering), yet is still responsive to turning strokes, something it’s much less so with the skeg down, of course. This is why I think just a touch of weight bias to the rear might have been better in the original design. When loading the boat people solve this by putting more load in the back, but I paddle empty and really don’t want to be bothered with putting ballast back there and hauling that around even when it’s not required.


Which boat? If…
for your Q700 search the archives as it used to be a hot topic.

Someday I may move mine a little forward so I have more room between rear coaming and can get closer to a layback. Mine has the cockpit 8" farther back than yours, and new ones are 3" forward of mine, so I doubt I have to worry about an inch or so. Darn seat is so well glued in though (and got it fitting well, so) I’m not sure I want to mess with it.

On yours, with the original centered cockpit, can’t say, but you run with rudder anyway which should cover you if weather helm is altered unfavorably.

If a different boat, well, obviously disregard the above!

I Moved Mine
I wanted even more knee/shin clearance in my Tempest 165. Had the seat moved back several inches. The guy who did it was concerned that it would affect the speed and handling of the boat. It didn’t do anything. GPS says the boat holds the same speed. Skeg position in the wind didn’t change either.

Yep the 700
Still desperate for comfort so rather than try my hand at carving out my own foam seat I have a Surf to Summit tractor type seat made of microcell foam on order.

I have considered moving forward a little for lay back room and I also get more thigh under the combing but struggle a little getting the legs out when landing. I have also considered or wonder if backing up the seat will get me over a wider section of the boat and will it increase stability. I think the widest section of the boat is just behind the cockpit.

Getting some numbness out the CD Storm also, but not to the extreme as the QCC, I guess I can chalk it up to that being 40 something and falling apart.


Like that boat
Paddled one twice now (most recently being a VERY short one, but was as I remembered).

I say resist dropping that skeg unless you are being blown off course (and maybe you are even in a light tailwind like that - I’ve felt that on occasion - paddle faster or give a little skeg). Do not use it as a tracking fin in calm weather - it will only prolong your learning to work the hull.

'bou seemed to track well enough to me (at @210). Quite strong I thought, yet very easy to turn (relative to my boat with a good foot more LWL).

That characteristic of being able to alter tracking with leans fore/aft is good IMO. Adds to maneuverability/control. Something you’ll appreciate whenever conditions pick up or a wake/wave grabs the stern. 'Bou is reported to be good in rougher stuff, I suspect this is partly why.

Give it a few more months. Wandering usually disappears with mileage. Certainly to early to be doing seat surgery on a great boat.

PS - Did that Folbot double you paddled before this have a rudder? …

Folbot Rudder
I didn’t buy it with one (didn’t want the complication), and for the first few trips where I was doing most of the paddling it was fine without. Then my wife got a bit stronger paddling and pretty soon we were veering off course quite regularly. It was also the case with any other people I went out in with it. And when that ship gets headed off course not much other than an extreme ruddering stroke would get it straightened out again.

So, had to get a rudder, to keep my sanity. Most people recognize a rudder in doubles as a virtual necessity so I didn’t have a problem with the idea from that standpoint.

Yeah, I won’t do anything drastic the Caribou right away, and I’m sure the responsiveness to the trim changing is a good design feature. I’m just thinking the balance is a touch on the unstable-tracking side of things. I believe that was what the one tester in the SK review thought as well.


Sorry to keep at you on this, but having got my Q700 quite cozy - would like to be able to see you achieve something similar. Paddling must be hell when in pain like that.

I would not hold too much hope in that StoS foam seat. Doesn’t sound like lack of cushion’s the trouble. I am fine on the bare seat pan - better than I was on the pad. Being able to slide a little helps. I know you’ve already tried that - but a good backband completes it. QCC’s RapidPulse seat is just not adequate for their narrower higher performance boats.

More annoying questions:

  1. How tall are you? If close maybe we could swap boats for a part of a paddle? Even if not, maybe I can adjust mine to fit you (pretty easy by adding/removing foam layers and adjusting backband). Our boats are outfitted very differently, but same basic hull (except we have that extreme difference in cockpit locations too!).

    While my outfitting won’t be the right answer for you, it might be different enough to give you some ideas or at least a different feel for the hull - and likewise for me if I feel what your setup is like. I think I’d be in for a surprise with yours. Between the moving pegs and much more forward cockpit position it may feel more different than similar.

  2. Does your coaming have the thigh braces? Sorry, didn’t notice and probably asked before - can’t remember.

  3. Do you always use the rudder, or just sometimes? If paddling without sometimes, have you noticed a difference in discomfort (either amount, or how long before it’s bad)?

    My thinking is still to start at the feet and work back. Many issues can start there - with the symptoms showing farther up. Go to a fixed peg system (keep same rudder/cables). Either SealLine, or Yakima Braces with KajakSport pedals. The latter would be most comfortable - if the pedals flex enough to work your rudder.

    Then again, maybe it’s just the short hamstring thing. Mine aren’t that flexible either with as much time as I spend in an office chair. Got a stretching routine (I don’t!)?

    Just thinking out load, as usual…

Ability to move the seat for and aft is
great… besides what the other guys stated, if you can move your seat fore and aft, this gives you the oppotunity to shift the heaviest ‘ballast’ the boat will ever see. Use it to equalize an odd load or to trim your boat for a long fun downwind run whoohoo. Even sweeter is ability to do this on the fly. Just like the bicycle there is sort of an all-round sweet spot to be had and once you get it right you may never want to change it. Even then leaning your torso fore and aft is a good way to help initiate or slow the boats turning response.

I have unskegged Caribou
Watch before you rip out seat and reinstall it…

How will it affect your rolling capability?

You need mileage on this boat for sure. It took me several months before taming it; now I have the appropriate edging for going across wind and downwind.

In high seas the boat tends to broach but I skeg the stern down by tossing a couple of 5 liter wine bags inside…move them more to the stern for a skegged effect. This reduces weathervaning

If you have weathercocking you can use the same system in the front.

Both weathervaning and weathercocking will become less noticeable with time.

I did cut out my entire seat as it just wasnt comfortable but the replacement out of minicell is only about half an inch back of the original.

Another option…
… for fixed braces I forgot: Prijon gass pedal type. Have never seen a set in a boat. Set on eBAy now.

My gripes
Im sure stretching plays a big part of my problems but am making strides in that department by creating a simulated kayak seating position in the office while surfing the net.

I just changed the back band on my CD Storm and thats a major improvment from the plactic back seat that gouged you more and more as I would keep it nice and snug.

Lower back is bothering me these days, off and on and no doubt doesn’t help the leg issue. Getting some spasms and twitches just to keep me on my toes. Gotta get one of those little mail order girls from Tokyo that are are skilled in walking on backs.

The QCC doesn’t have thigh braces but I do fit pretty snug with the rudder pedals backed up (Cause of problem…hummmm, maybe) but had to remove the thigh braces from my CD Storm 3 years ago because they created the hamstring problem.

Along with the new squishy seat Im going to get serious about padding out the boat and most likely try padding the thigh area to bring down the angle of my legs.

Maybe I can get my self locked in without having to apply as much pressure with my legs and lower back. I will be changing out the backband on the QCC also.


Moving the seat fore or aft
Brian - proceed with caution in moving a seat that is not designed to adjust fore or aft. Try to get a reasonable idea of where your boats center of effort is relative to its center of lateral resistence. The CLR should be roughly near the center of the seat (depending on hull design) The CE depends on how much windage the bow and stern have. This will be affected by things on deck (storage bags, paddle floats even a pump,or rudder up). The further aft your CE is relative to the CLR the more weather helm you’ll have. Good Luck.

Seen an MD?
Common enough complaints/symptoms - but now on land too? If you’re noticing changes like this, particularly if progressive in nature and/or not alleviated by exercise/stretching, you should definitely have it checked out (says the guy who hasn’t seen a doc in maybe 6 years?).

On the water is not the place to have your back go out. I have a history of lower back problems(several episodes bad enough to lay me up 4-5 days each time). These were often random, but could be aggravated by almost anything.

Even though it seems paddling has “fixed” it - (as in “Miracle cure!”)it is never too far out of my thoughts (could be just a long spell without?). Pain like that is hard to forget - one episode - exercise related - was so bad I blacked out from the pain for 45 minutes! Good thing I was on land.

Anyway - just adding the obvious cautions.

Help Me Out
My seat gets moved back several inches. My bow comes up a hair and stern goes down a hair so in a crosswind I leecock a hair more than before. HOWEVER… since my wind-catching body is more astern a crosswind is making me weathercock a hair more. One might negate the other?

My understanding is

– Last Updated: Aug-04-04 11:15 PM EST –

that moving the trim back moves back the point where the lateral water resistance against the hull of the moving kayak would be considered centered (this is the point where the kayak would pivot). Water being a much denser medium than air, this effect overrides the effect of moving the paddler's upper body back in the air stream.

Note that when the boat is moving this center of lateral water resistance is somewhere forward of where it is if the boat is stationary. This is why stationary boats don't necessarly weathercock even though they do once they are moving.

Note also that the center of aero force is a combination of the above-water boat portion itself and the paddler's upper body. So the center of aero force moves back only a fraction of how far the paddler moved back.

I got this off of some John Winters page I read somewhere.

Different hull shapes would vary in their response to doing this. I've read at least one person say that hard-chine boats are of more than average responsiveness to it.