going solo in a tandem canoe

We have an Old Town Dicovery 133 that is great for when the 2 of us go out, but when I am using the boat by myself the bow lifts out of the water. Because of physical limitations I need to sit on a seat and I prefer the rear. I weigh 150lbs. So are there any suggestions to combat this problem?

If it was me,
I think I would get one or two of those collapsible 5 gallon plastic water carriers, and experiment with them as close to the bow as possible.



Molded seats?
Does that disco have those blasted molded seats that fit only if you face the bow? Is that why you prefer to sit in the rear seat? If so, Jack is right on with the weight idea. If not, sit in the bow seat facing aft so your weight is more towards centerline. Or, if there is room in between in that length boat you may wish to consider adding a solo seat.

Old Town
Now shows the Disco 133 with a center seat:


A variety of seats are availible as accessories:


Shouldn’t be too hard to add one.

If you have the plastic molded seats
like most Old Town Discos’ nowadays do, I would change them over to a web or cane seat. I prefer web because of comfort, longevity and dryness.

I just picked up a 158 for the livery and changed the plastic bow seat over to a web seat in about 5 minutes.

If the trim is odd because of weight distribution when the stern is facing front, then the weighted water idea is perfect. But, I’d be surprised if turning the bow to the rear didn’t work. Good luck, hope it works out. OTs are good boats, solo or tandem.


Word of warning
If you sit in the rear seat while canoeing and the wind kicks up it’s nearly impossible to bring the nose of the canoe around in the wind. That is why you would need some weight forward to balance the canoe, other wise the bow sits out of the water and the unbalance profile will grab the wind. With out the weight steering can also be unresponsive but it can be done? Try the water weight 5 gallon camper jug trick to balance the canoe or sit in the forward facing the stern…don’t forget to tie the jug in to prevent sudden shifting. If you have the molded seat tough it out it’s not that bad or replace with a webbed seat or better yet buy a drop in seat that old town offers and sit where the balance is perfect several no-bolt drop in canoe seats are on the market and can be used for a third person guest… Paddle on https://www.oldtowncanoe.com/catalog.

A center seat is a good idea if you can fit one in. I used to solo a WENONAH echo. I sat in the center and rested my butt on the thwart. However since that is not an option the best way to go is weight up front. I never messed with bringing anything with me. I just got some big rocks from the put in. Once or twice I even made an anchor out of them. Wiegh it down till it feels good to you. Another piece of advice: Get a big good paddle. You are trying to move lots of boat from a bad position. The closer to the center the easier it is to controll and you are in the back. Get a long paddle with a wide balde to give yourself leverage. I normally paddle a bent shaft 50 inch and go to a 52 or 54 for solo. Straight shaft goes from a 54 to a 57 or a 60. Good luck Have fun

if you have molded seats
you may have a problem, but I find that solo, in the stern, is ackward at best. If I’m solo I always sit in the “bow” seat facing stern. It’s better balance and keeps the bow controllable in a breeze. No need for throwing a weight up front, especially in a short boat like you have. If the seats are molded to your rump, try to find either wood and cane or plain plastic.


– Last Updated: May-23-04 9:29 PM EST –

Like the others said, put some weight up front. I've soloed a tanden often. When in a rocky area I put in a few good sized rocks. When at home I use a 60 pound dumbbell. Easier to carry then the water jug, you don't have to fill it at the lake's edge, and easier to place in the canoe then a forty pound 5 gallon water jug (a gallon of water =s about 8 pounds). At 150 pounds I'd think a 30 or 35 pound dumbbell placed way up front would be what you need.

Yig and Yag
Find your center!!! also good wholelistic advice which could apply to paddling on the whole good stress relief excerice PRESSURE!

Soloing a tandem canoe

– Last Updated: May-25-04 12:27 PM EST –

The right way to do it is switch bow for stern and sit on what WAS the front seat while used tandem.
I have an Old Town Dicovery 133, mine has cane seats, no prob soloeing this way, and no need for weights. Adding weights is a terrible frequent advice...just, do not listen.

I love the suggestions of putting rocks in the bow of the canoe! Too funny. So when you flip and the rocks get wedged in your seat your canoe sinks.

If you are gonna go with weight, use something that has less density than water.

Better yet, paddle the canoe from a more manageable position. Paddling solo from the stern seat puts you in the most unstable part of the canoe, and as previously mentioned you cannot go anywhere but downwind if there is the slightest breeze.

That was too funny. Thanks for the laugh everyone.

Thanks blackfly.
Let’s start a:

“The top ten most told advices about canoeing”

#1 load stones in the front.

#2 take toilet paper in your survival kit.

Omer Stringer used to do that
but on the frequent Algonquin portages, rocks were a real pain and it slows you way down.

Try kneeling in the bilge of the boat in the center with something under your butt for support. I use a Buddha bench.

When it gets windy turn around; now your weight is a little forward of center and you will retain control; the bow wont sail away.

Even paddling from a center pedestal
in an Old Town Tripper, I found it useful to add a rock or a heavy log to the bow when we got off a river and onto a reservoir where we had to paddle into 20 mph headwinds. I guess I just never expected to flip the boat on a lake, and for that matter, the objects I used, though heavy, were not going to wedge in the bow if the boat flipped.

Few ideas are COMPLETELY bad ideas. Most have occasional applications.