Longer Thwarts in Bell YS Solo???

I have heard of people putting in longer thwarts to change boat handling. I read online where a guy said he put I think 3 inch longer thwarts in his YS solo and said it increased the flare a bit and rocker making it a little more maneuverable and better in rough water. Also said it gave more distinctive secondary stability.

Anyone done this?

What about putting something like a 3 inch longer in front and a 4 inch longer in back to try to even out the rocker a bit since stern as that lesser differential rocker which really is not necessary.



Longer thwarts
will probably result in hogging the bottom…not a good thing. Personally I wouldn’t try to outthink the designer, particularly DY. If the boat doesn’t handle the way you want, get another one. There’s a lot more involved in the performance of a design than just the rocker.

Shouldn’t hog
Widening the rails should increase rocker, not hog the hull. Shortening the rails should hog it. Take a sealed envelope; cut the top off. Spread the center, longer thwarts, the ends come up, Bring the top together, shorter thwarts, the ends drop.

Pretty simple to try w/ 1X3 thwarts, pretty easy to go back if you don’t like the result. But, 3 and 4 inches is a lot and should make the hull unmanagably wide, ~34", which will likely preclude a vertical paddle shaft.

I’m intrigued.
Could this be a way to make differential rockered boat symmetrical (rocker)?

Changing thwart length
Although you can alter the rocker and other characteristics by varying the thwart length, (especially on a Royalex boat) I don’t think you’ll force an asymmetrical boat into a symmetrical form, no matter what you do. There are other shapes molded into the plastic hull. Even the thickness of the hull is not necessarily uniform throughout.

As long as the thwart length changes are not too extreme, you can play with the characteristics to your heart’s content. In the end, you’ll probably go back to what DY originally designed, or at least something close.My concern would be in making radical changes and 3" would in my humble opinion be radical. If the longer thwarts were left in place very long, it’s possible the Royalex could become permanently distorted.

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe Works

Custom Paddles and Cedar Strip Canoes

Yellowstone’s Differential Rocker
The first time I saw a Yellowstone solo in the local paddling shop, I was struck by how the tail end of the canoe almost looked like it hung lower than the rest of the hull, like a fat fin. I don’t believe it actually does hang lower, but the contrast in curvature responsible for that impression shows how there’s definitely a shape that’s molded-in to the last foot and a half of the keel line that will always be there. Maybe you can strong-arm the whole stern into a higher position, but that much adjustment seems like the “get a bigger hammer” approach to me.

1x3 thwarts???

You lost me on that one. How much longer are you suggesting going? Are you saying between one to three inches longer?

Was confused.

On what one of the posters said above about getting a different boat…yes that is an option but certainly not as easy or cost effective as changing the thwarts. And a couple of other posters implied that DY’s design probably could not be improved and that the way he has the hull is probably optimal.

Not knocking the design in the slightest, but it is designed to sell…so therefore designed to appeal to a large variety of paddlers and designed for a certain niche. Kind of like the asymmetrical hull. Is it better than a symmetrical? No…nor is it worse…but it is more easily paddled by most and therefore will result in a design that will appeal to a wider range of folks.

I like the boat, but would much rather have more maneuverability than tracking. I have a good J stroke.

A little more flare would be nice too as this boat is a little outgunned for some rapids to begin with.

Last, I am just not a super fan of the stability profile of the boat. Has more primary than I would care for and secondary that is just perpahs less defined and predictable than some boats. Not that it is tippy etc. but just not as well defined as the secondary on the Osprey or the Freedom Solo I had. Can’t really put my finger on it because again the secondary on the YS solo is quite high.

Personally I think I wish I had the Osprey back. I really liked that boat. But the YS is what I have now. Plus, the YS is royalex which probably suits my purposes better than kevlar for a river boat…but if I can find another Osprey I woudl proably go for it.

So…I am really trying to make the boat more like my Osprey which this may do. I found it to be more maneuverable, more seaworthy, and to have just a better defined and predictable secondary stability.

We’ll see…I will report on the results.




3" too much
4" inches and you’ll break your boat.

I moved my stern thwart back 8" in the boat. This was similar to adding a longer thwart, but placed it further in the aft to add a touch more rocker.

You’ll never be able to get the flair up front for whitewater. The Yellowstone just isn’t that boat.

I do like Bell’s vinyl trim for playing with thwart length though. The lip on the inside keeps the thwart from contacting the Royalex and spreads out the load nicely. Adding 2" to your thwart length will significantly change the boat.

now that is a good point…is it better to use the same ones and move closer to ends of boat or to put longer ones in and install in original location…goal is more rocker, bit more flare, more defined stability curve.

I would think maybe using same ones and moving closer to stems sounds like may make more sense as long as boat is still rigid enough.

I have new thwarts on order so I have either option.


bowler, I assume you have considered
messing with the trim as an alternative. Shifting your pedestal forward a bit might make the stern less sticky, and you can still unload the bow when you want by leaning hard backward.

I was suggesting using 1X3" softwood stock as temp thwarts; the wider stock may not break and the stuff is cheap. Try, maybe 2, over std to evaluate, can always be shortened. You’ll have to craft ash/cherry for longer permanent thwarts.

Here is where I got the idea from. Looking mostly for what he describes as more predictable secondary stability and a bit more maneuverability.


Ok so I did it today.

Got some new thwarts in the mail from Bell. Came in at 2.75 inches longer than stock.

I installed both 5 inches closer to amidships. Up front used the full length thwart at 2.75 inches longer than stock.

Rear would not be possible so I cut it down a tad. probably about 2.25 inches longer than stock.

Emplacing was required a bit of effort but not too hard. Got it set under gunwales, pulled up hard and then used rubber mallet to drive into position working from center of boat out.

Then drilled through gunwale into thwart. Slight bulge in royalex but who cares.

Started as wide as possible and can cut shorter if desired.

Got out on the water today. Made noticeable difference. Stability profile is more to my liking and can feel results of additional rocker.

More maneuverabilty and less tracking confirms rocker increase. Need a bit more correction in forward stroke but who cares.

Also may accelerate a bit faster which would make sense if shorter waterline.

I am pleased with the difference.


I did it also
Several years ago I experemented with longer thwarts in a Roylex Wenona Sandpiper. After a really fun cut and try period,I ended up with a radacally different,highly rockered boat that was ideal for narrow,rocky,twisty,shallow streams around here.A paddler friend named it “Tweaky” because it was tweaked. I lengthed all 4 thwarts.


Never thought about lengthening the carry thwarts…now you have me thinking!

I like the result so far.