Mad River Malecite Solo

Anyone ever set up a Malecite for solo paddling? The used Malecite I found doesn’t have Mad River’s center solo seat so I’m playing around with seat placement. I’ve found in the past that I like my solo seat in a longer boat about 2-3 feet aft of center. Experiences? Tips?

In whitewater boats
You want your bellybutton slightly aft of center. If you are going for a bow light placement, you would go a couple of inches further back than that. Personally I’d probably go for a bow neutral placement. The boat will turn easier with the bow light, but would also be a lot more susceptible to wind.

Placing the seat depends on how light you want the bow, and where your bellybutton (front body plane) ends up relative the to the seat. The result might be different if you primarily kneel rather than sit. I would think that around a foot would be something close to bow neutral. I might do a foot to a foot and a half. Three feet seems a bit much to me, but I’ll be interested in what others say.

usually six to eight inches aft of

You lose a lot of control over the bow three feet aft.

If you are bigger eight inches. Smaller and skinnier six like Eck says.

That said I hope you are bigger and taller. The Malecite is wideish for a solo… 34.5 inches. You have little hope of a vertical stroke unless you slide to one side. Bigger taller people can be centered.

Tried It Once
and then put the tandem seats back in. I’m not an overly tall or big guy and kept having to switch with the paddle. Plus in my case it was way to bow light. I loaded more rocks into the bow than I care to think about!


Answered this question here before.
You might be able to find it in a search. I’ll measure my factory solo seat placement again if you like. I think it is ideal. IIRC, the front edge of the seat is 7 or 8 inches aft of center and angled down slightly.

Setting the solo seat very far aft of center would be counterproductive, IMO, as burying the stern would inhibit the boat’s good handling characteristics and make too much of a reach for any useful forward paddle placement for turning if ballast is used to get the boat back in trim.

I’m 5’ 11" and fairly limber, and getting a vertical paddle is a stretch - but I have no trouble making the Malicite go straight. Turning takes more effort.

Measured again
Probably not the same way I measured before, but easier to replicate. Measuring from the front seat drop bolt to the point of the stern with tape hooked on the bolt - 95 inches. Measured the same way to the bow - 106.5 inches. These are straight line measurements - not following the gunwale.

BTW - I always kneel when soloing the Malicite. Can’t get enough reach or leverage seated.

My approach
is to position the front edge of the seat 10-12 inches behind the center.

I normally sit but kneel when running a rapid. The 10-12 inch aft position places my knees just behind the center line when kneeling and provides a slightly bow high canoe. The back of my thighs are against the front edge of the seat.

When sitting the canoe bow is susceptible to being pushed around by wind. If paddling non-whitewater I’ll trim it out with 2-3 gallons of water up front and/or double blade the canoe. When paddling WW I leave it without added weight in the front but can drop to my knees to get the bow down into the water if the wind picks up.

I had mine 18" behind
the center thwart (Which I suspect is a bit ahead of center due to the heavier bow). I like the bow to side slip a little more than the stern when I do a draw stroke. I would not go more than that with the wind in mind. You can pick your spot by kneeling over an unattached foam block, bucket or whatever to experiment with different locations.

In a perfect world, kneeling paddlers should have the seats front edge 4.5-6" aft of center to trim the boat, have the bow respond to draws and cross draws and to effect functional side slips. That distance is for trim folk, super-sized will want to add a couple more inches.

Unfortunately, Malecite is a tandem canoe, and depending on the variation in hand 34.5-35" wide amidships. Unless he paddler is very rangy it will be difficult to impossible to present a vertical paddleshaft across those wide rails. So, most of us leave the portage yoke in place and install a solo seat or kneeling thwart enough aft of center to provide narrower reach across the rails and room to enter and egress the space between seat and yoke.

So it goes, Malecite is not a solo boat, some compromises will need be made.

malecite solo
I have mine set up so the leading edge of the seat is dead center. Best for portaging as well.

Without a sliding seat any fixed position is a compromise.

I’m a tall guy and paddling a malecite solo, assuming you are going from point A to point B, is not pleasurable but doable. If you are just floating around, it is fine as a solo.

The joy of paddling a malecite solo is progressively diminished according to the hours spent in a dedicated solo boat.

progressively diminished
"The joy of paddling a malecite solo is progressively diminished according to the hours spent in a dedicated solo boat."

Right on, jjmish. Before I had my solo canoe, I enjoyed paddling the Malecite solo. Now - not so much. Still - it’s worthwhile to have the boat set up for solo for those times when it’s the only boat you have and the paddling partner stays ashore.