Lower the seat of a Pintail?

I have a vintage Pintail with an ocean cockpit and seat hung from the combing. The seat is really comfortable and the boat has a very nice feel in the way it edges. I’m just wondering if anyone has lowered their seat in order to get a more stable, relaxed CG. What are the trade-offs?

I’m recovering from shoulder surgery; so I have time on my hands to mess around with it before I’m ready to paddle. My plan would be to (sob) saw the hangers and re-attach with glass. Good idea? Bad idea?


or you could just remove the bucket
…and replace it with a foam seat. Seems like it would return more stability.

I wonder if it would inhibit layback rolls.

What are the trade-offs?
I agree with seakak1; the Valley Ocean Cockpits aleardy have a rear coaming that is high for rolls (11 inches from hull floor on my Nordkapp). I think lowering the sea would limit, or eliminate, your ability to do a sweet layback rool, just as SK1 said.

It will also, possibly, ruin the resale of your boat. Most used boat buyers prefer to buy stock boats rather than those with mods such as permanently cutting out the seat. Esp if the buuyer enjoys rolling.

Maybe you have no plans to roll and intend use your Pintail as a casket; if so, these are not considerations for you.


I’ve never paddled that boat…
…but my understanding is that it’s not particularly tender.

Doesn’t bnystrom paddle one? I wonder if he modified the seat in his?

It’s not like that…
A pintail is nothing like a Nordkapp - the rear deck and coming are more like 7". Primary stability is good already; secondary is at best, sketchy. If I do a nice job with the fiberglass, the modification would not be obvious. And resale isn’t as important as paddling anyway. And what’s this stuff about a coffin?

gets you stability, yes but removes edging leverage (the other side of stability), reduces the ability to layback as far, and lowers (ever so slightly) your paddle angle of attack. Racers have real high seats for paddling leverage.

foam is the way to go if you want a more comfy seat and its wayyy EZ to do.



I cut mine out
I have a '95 Pintail (the last year of the old deck design, I think), and I didn’t fit in my bucket seat, so I cut it out and replaced it with foam, but I tried to keep the same height.

I don’t find my boat particularly tender, and as not-particularly flexible tall guy, I can easily lay back fully on my back deck. When my friends (in boats like the Romany) and I are screwing around and leaning out of the cockpit I do end up throwing a brace occasionally if I get off balance, but that’s at least part me being a goof and a clutz - and probably a bit of the boat’s stability.

But if I’m paying attention I have no problem getting into my day hatch on the water. And I wouldn’t personally trade more stability for less playfulness.

But, if you do want to lower it, do it with foam, and then it’ll be adjustable. Want it lower, cut out some foam from the bottom. Want it up again, add a thin sheet of minicell underneath.

Yes, I do paddle a Pintail…
…and I replaced the stock seat with a foam seat, but only because it’s more comfortable and suits my paddling style better. The original seat in mine was only ~1/2" off the hull, so it really couldn’t be lowered much. It’s a pretty stable boat anyway, so unlike my old Nordkapp with it’s 1"+ high seat, I didn’t feel there was much to gain by lowering it 1/4".

As Scary said, the aft deck of a Pintail is MUCH lower than that of a Nordkapp, so laybacks are not a problem, even if you were to remove the seat entirely and sit on the hull.

Thanks for the advice, everybody
I was just curious. It’s interesting that BNystrom’s seat was already low. Mine is over an inch off the hull. I don’t know how old the boat is but it had a deck mounted Chimp Pump and no day hatch. The hand layup is a very coarse weave cloth. Must be pretty old?


"I don’t know how old the boat is…"
The last two digits of the HIN (serial) number on the stern is the year of the boat. Sometimes there is also a label in the cockpit which has the HIN.

Seat lowering
The valley boats have their seats decently low. I too like the early Valley tractor seat and I don’t think you will gain any substantial stability by lowering it the tiny bit considering all the work involved. If you used a padded foam seat, you would probably be at the same height considering the padding thickness whereas the glass seat assumes that it will be a good fit with no padding.

If you insist in doing it, you would cut the seat brace in the center. Drop the seat down with some rubber under it for abrasion resistance and then make or (get) some glass sheet material or lexan sheet material that you would bolt behind the strut to make up the distance. If you want to do it with glass and an official perfect job, you would be forced into glassing in behind the strut a glass panel piece and sanding and tapering the face side and adding layers of glass (pheeeew) - you get the picture - a lot of work.

thank you

the new

– Last Updated: May-21-09 3:21 PM EST –

valley Nord LV has a plastic seat about 1/4 inch above the hull.. the seat is easily removed with 4 screws..

while the Q boat with a composite seat is about 3/4 of an inch higher..

I removed the padding in the LV because it has ridges that seemed to make circulation worse. (Ischemia)

It's more difficult to maintain a good j lean with the lower seat.. while it might be more stable with a lower COG..

I'll have to wait and see how the higher seating and higher COG responds to different clapitos..

Just from the way my lower spine is bending it seems like the seat was supposed to be a little higher..

I would just keep the composite seat the way it is until I knew what the result would be..

My stock seat was about an inch, maybe inch and a quarter, off the hull.

You can tell what year your boat is if it’s still got the serial number glued to the inside of the cockpit. I think it’s the last two numbers.

Edging a Pintail…
…especially the older style hull, isn’t a problem no matter what the seat height. It’s one of the characteristics of the boat that people either love or hate. :wink:

Your boat is pre-'95…
…but it’s impossible to say much more than that without checking the HIN, as there were many optional configurations over the years. My '93 had a similar configuration to yours, but I removed the Chimp pump and replaced it with a day hatch. I also added a bulkhead for the day compartment.

I was mistaken on the seat height
I just checked the boat and the foam seat is 1" thick, so the original must have been at a similar height. One thing I do know for certain is that I liked the way the boat handled with the stock seat height, so I didn’t lower it when I made the foam seat.

There are pics of the foam Pintail seat in my “Kayak Outfitting” album (it’s the purple boat) and pics of the removal and construction process (a 1/2" thick seat in an Anas Acuta) in my “Seat Removal and Replacement” album, both on Webshots at: