Is more weight better?

Got to go out yesterday for the first time in our 17’ grumman.

It was great - much easier to make way than in the rental boats we’ve tried. More stable than I had hoped too. So overall very good.

Now with all of us in it (2 non-slim adults and 2 gradeschoolers) we approach 600 pounds. I took a short ride alone (250 lbs) and found the canoe easy to control (other than my J-stroke needs more practice-i still have to think way too much).

But with me in the rear seat the bow of the canoe appeared to be airborne. Certainly didn’t help with tracking. There is no center seat. Sitting on the front seat w/ the canoe reversed won’t work as there is a thwart under my thighs - way too painful to be feasible.

So I was thinking of adding a center seat and if anyone has plans/link for a homemade one that would be great.

But even with that, would more weight be a good idea? It’s easy to figure out what too much load feels like, but is there such a thing as too little load? (flat water canoeing only)

Trim is the term to describe using weight to balance the hull so it is more or less sitting level on the water. The way most people trim thier boats is by adding some weight, either towards the bow or stern, wherever it is needed to achieve the balance for a level ride (or just a bit bow light, more normally.

In a tandem boat, normally the weight will be up in the bow, especially if you want to sit in the stern seat - gallon milk jugs filled with water work well enough, or a dry bag with enough water in it will also work. Rocks or other items that are denser than water are not recommended as they can sink a canoe if it fills with water.

Try using a boat cushion on the bow seat - that will raise you up about 3", so maybe the thwart won’t bother you then. I’ve always used the bow seat/paddled backwards to solo in our Grumman and never had any issue with the thwart. Or you can put some kind of paddking down and kneel just ahead of the rear thwart, with your butt resting on the thwart - works well if your knees are ok.

There are third seats that just hook over the gunnels on the market - pretty pricey though, but would probably be your best bet.

For a homemade seat, an old beanbag chair will work if you can find one - some people use a car tire tube, half inflated and bent double then tied to stay that way. Probably a block of styrofoam of the right height would work ok too.

A guy at work says the key is to have a case of beer in front. Or a case of beer in middle as middle seat. Another big deal is to have a footrest to push off on. sells a neat adjustable footreat made of aluminum conduit. Drill thru sides of canoe. have fun and congratulations. heavier can be more stable becuase waves toss you around less. Have fun

But if
the beer is in the front, how can I reach it from the back? LOL

Beanbag chair? sounds funny to me.

cushion sounds good.

I can kneel but my back gets tired…i can try the butt on the thwart idea.

I wasn’t sure if sitting more forward would help control or not, besides the trim issue.

with kids I’ve got a steady supply of milk jugs!

Sling seat.
Old town used to sell an accessory adjustable sling seat that, I think, would work on a Grumman.

Here’s a home-made one I found after a quick search that might provide some ideas, if you’re handy:

Yes, usually your boat will handle better with a little more weight in it.

As far as adding another seat you could make a pretty simple one and bolt it in. Or you can buy a nice cane woven seat from one of the canoe manufacturers or online somewhere and just cut it to fit and bolt it to the thwarts. It will probably be much more comfortable than the aluminum seats in your boat.


For what it is worth:
Before I customized our C-2 comp cruiser and moved the rear sliding seat about a foot forward, we were always bow light.

It was so bad that one year on the Lumber River 40 miler, “Canunut”, (US Nationals champion) loaded a bunch of rocks in the bow of our canoe in front of my wifes feet to make the canoe trim.

We not only won the C-2 mixed class, but they jokingly awarded us the prize for the canoe with the most ballast. The finish line people couldn’t believe the amount of rocks that we unloaded prior to taking the boat out of the water.

With that in mind, just add enough weight to your bow to get the boat trim, and then enjoy your solo paddle.



Instead of adding more weight…
Try paddling from the center of the canoe or a little aft in a kneeling position. If your knees or feet give you some discomfort in this position then try adding a center seat and paddle sitting on that. Forget adding more weight, you’ll have to paddle harder.

A trip around a small lake or a short trip on a calm river with added weight is okay but an all-day paddle with extra weight adds up and by the end of the day you’ll be far more fatigued than you would’ve been without it.

If you can paddle a 17 foot Grumman
from a center seat, you must be about seven feet tall with arms to match !

With this paddler in the rear and some ballast in the front to bring the trim down, will make the boat a delight to paddle.