kneeling thwart??

In the process of replacing all the aluminum trim with new wood. I decided to go with a kneeling thwart in place of the standard. Do I mount it in the same place as the original, or no.??? If not, how do I know where to mount it. And yes, this is not the last of my dumb questions. Thanks in advance as this is all new to me.

What is the location of the thwart
that you replacced?

Normally kneeling thwarts are around 18 inches aft of center.

Not in the center as that will make the boat bow heavy and very difficult to control.

The precise placement depends on the point at which with you in the boat the boat is level.

If you have a sizeable boat you probably will want to retain a center thwart or yoke.

perhaps it helps if I tell you i have a Bell Northstar. It has a center yoke. From the center there are now two aluminum thwarts, but I don’t know the distance at present. .

6" aft of center
If you are replacing the center thwart with a kneeling thwart you want your belly button over the center of the boat. That’s more important in a 12’ boat than a 16 footer.

If you are leaving the portage thwart in the center then I agree with Kim. 18" back in a 16’ boat will give you decent trim and clearance from the center/portage thwart.

My way…
Here’s the way I do it and it’s very helpful to have another paddler to assist.

Materials required are your canoe and paddle, a kneeling pad, a wooden stave long enough to rest on the gunwales when placed across the beam, masking tape, a flatwater venue. First place the kneeling pad in the approximate center of the craft while in the water and kneel on it. Have the other paddler in another canoe or the shore to help eyeball the longitudinal trim of your hull. Once you are satisfied that the hull is at level trim place the wood stave on top and across the gunwales behind you and move it around until it is in a comfortable spot for resting your butt when kneeling. Mark its position with a couple of strips of masking tape. Remove yourself and hull to shore and install kneeling thwart where the tape strips indicate. This is probably not the only way, but it is my way.

Keep the Open Side Up!


I do too
I generally try to trim out the boat on the water as well, if I have an observer at hand, although it is sometimes tricky for an observer to judge when a highly asymmetrical hull is in trim. Sometimes putting some tape strips on the sides of the hull at, or just above the intended water line makes it easier to judge.

Kneeling thwarts are generally suspended several inches below the gunwale line and sitting on a prop at or just above the gunwale line will have a slightly different result. Sitting higher pulls the knees back a little and thus moves the center of gravity slightly aft of where it would be in a lower kneel.

For most boats and most people, placing the socket of one’s hip joints 6" aft of center will result in pretty neutral trim, so Tommy’s advice will generally work well.

Eighteen inches aft of center will usually result in a boat that is pretty bow-light, although if one regularly paddles with some gear in the boat, this isn’t a bad way to go, as one can place the stuff just in front of you within easy arm’s reach and trim the boat with the weight of the gear.

the problem is that you have
to think of entrapment. I have been very uncomfortable in boats with 12 inches of clerance between the center thwart and the kneeling thwart.

I really would keep the center thwart in. As the forces on the kneeling thwart go down and tend to pull the sides in, I would think it important to have something to maintain the hull shape.

center thwart
If I am going to mount a kneeling thwart near the center of a canoe I take out the center thwart and mount 2 shorter thwarts evenly spaced off the center such that one is comfortably abaft the kneeling thwart and the other comfortably forward of it.

Center thrwart
I agree with Pete. Once you get the kneeling position. You may want to move the other thwarts to have room to move. As Tommy said, this will be less of a problem in longer boat.

I don’t and for one reason only!
I am speaking from a tripping perspective where you will have to portage the beast and having something at the midpoint to balance it is really a good idea.

But I suspect that most here never trip where they might portage and this little wrinkle is not a big deal.

Kneeling Thwart in Bell NorthStar

– Last Updated: Apr-21-10 6:59 PM EST –

I have special knowledge of the NorthStar. I speced the hull to Yost and set the trim, including thwart spacing.

While it is my favorite tandem it is in no way a solo boat and is too wide to allow a vertical paddle shaft with even a very rangy paddler set ~ 6" aft of center.

It solos pretty well with a kneeling thwart hung on drops replacing the third thwart, which was placed to allow just such substitution. It will still have the disavantage of all tandems; the solo paddler is too far aft to draw the bow easily.

It is also contra indicated to replace a fail safe carry yoke, [with Chosen Valley pads please], with some a dis-mountable option.

Maybe you want to consider a saddle? If you’re only going to be kneeling, you may as well be comfortable. I recently installed a Harmony saddle in my canoe. I determined the position by using a level, and moved the saddle fore and aft until it was. I’d do the same with a kneeling thwart, but would seriously consider a saddle first.

I guess I just
assumed that the kneeling thwart will be dropped below the gunwales, in the normal fashion. I obviously do not mount it on top of the gunwales. I keep forgetting that in this forum no assuptions can be made.

I go along with Kayakmedic, and allow plenty of room for foot release.

Keep the Open Side Up!


Forget the saddle
When I recommended the saddle, I was unaware that it was for a bigger, wider canoe. With a saddle, you’ll be stuck in the middle which will make it impossible to get a good forward stroke. The saddle is only going to work on something narrower. Sorry.

what we really need

– Last Updated: Apr-21-10 7:55 PM EST –

is a drop in kneeling thwart. This assumes that the force will be down..if you keep the sunny side up, this should work.

Azland makes a sling seat but its got straps for opengunwale boat.

Now a drop in thwart with a clamping mechanism to keep it from sliding so you dont have to deal with structural support..

I just come up with ideas (good and bad) and am not a good executioner(not that way)

Actually, I’ve been thinking about this too. Maybe a T&G sliding tenon at both ends of the thwart, that slide into a mortise on each hanger. Maybe make the tenon out of brass and thread a hole in the end to accept a knobbed bolt from below…

Got it
Sorry for the name change, but I started the thread. Thank you for the advice. It sounds like the best move would be to keep my eye open for a solo and keep this tandem just like it is. I wasn’t hoping to use it solo, but wondering if I could. All the answers make sence and i have learned from it. Thanks again.