Mad River Synergy - Seat Placement

Need some advice on placing a center, solo position seat in a MR Synergy. The boat is asymeterical, so I’m concerned about putting it in just aft of center…any thoughts?

I have been soloing in a Synergy since
about '98. I will make some measurements about where I ended up placing the center seat. I would not suggest moving the seat back too much, as for solo use, the boat is very fast when paddled mostly on the forward portion of the hull. Any time it becomes necessary, one can lean back hard to engage the outside edge for turns, or to unload the bow when trying to avoid taking on water on a drop.

MR Synergy Seating
Thanks…I appreciate any advice. I plan on using the boat primarily as a solo whitewater tripper, with occassional tandem play. While you’re measuring, could you also let me know where you placed the tandem positions? I was lucky enough to find a new synergy so I’m working with a clean slate.

Your weight, and height? They will
affect my highly subjective advice.

Hi Kevin,

I just outfitted a 14’ Vertige X for 3-positions.

You might want to cocnsider using adjustable saddles - they have pipe through them and cinch down to saddle anchors glued to the hull.

That way you can adjust it differently for every paddler/load/trip. And you can take the tandem saddle right out for solo trips.

We took the hull and saddles out to the lake with some $5 levels, masking tape and some markers. Then we just found what trim positions felt right for us.

I did my solo position as I would for a smaller ww solo - with my chest about at the boat’s centre line.

Good luck, P.

p.s. The more boats I looked at (Synergies, Captions, Nexus, Probe 14,…), I noticed a fair bit of variation in how close the paddlers were.

Bell’s Nexus looks relatively similar to the Synergy? Maybe you could get some specs from Bell; or even Mohawk or Esquif. But nothing beats testing it all out for yourself (and being able to adjust them a little if you didn’t nail it).

Synergy Seats
I’m 6ft tall and 190lbs.

OK, I’m 6’ 5" and 220.
Here are the dimensions I took off my boat. They are referenced to the distal (end-side) surface of the carry handles, a handy place to hook my tape measure.

I moved the center thwart back 1.5 inches.

The center thwart is now 71" from the front handle

87.5" from the rear handle.

The front end of the Mohawk triple saddle is 49.5 inches froom the front handle.

The distance from the front handle to where my butt bones rest on the center seat is 81.5 inches.

The butt-bone position of the front seat is 64" from the front handle.

The butt-bone position of the rear seat is about 57" from the rear handle.

I lengthened the triple saddle so that it is now 64" long.

I am going to post this and then add more advice in another post so that I don’t run into the 30 minutes delayed ejaculation penalty.

Whether to use a triple saddle or
individual moveable seats is a serious decision.

The advantages of a triple saddle are that it adds tremendous strength to the boat and that the triple saddle is VERY stable for the paddler(s). This is assuming that the triple saddle is not only glued in, but supported at the top by at least two and as many as three thwarts.

The disadvantages of the triple saddle are that it interferes with bailing, takes up some low-down center storage space, and that it may put tandem paddlers closer together than is desirable. Trim may also be an issue, because saddle placement which is optimal for a solo paddler with an empty boat… may result in a tandem team being a bit too far forward.

Modifications I made to my triple saddle include: glueing 2" slabs of minicell to the sides of the seats so that the seats are now 10" wide. Very comfy.

Mad River’s advice on seat placement was faulty. When I had trouble with the stern tending to “come around” the bow when paddling tandem, they told me to move the seats forward. But the reason the stern came around the bow was that the narrow, mild-V bow was digging in while the flattish, wider stern was planing around with the least excuse. I got a distinct improvement by splicing several inches onto the stern end of the triple saddle, so that I could sit at least 6" farther back.

Let’s talk about what sort of boat you
have. I’t speed comes mainly from its narrowness, which also makes for easy solo paddling. Contrary to Mad River’s description of the boat as “fish form,” the hull bottom is Swedeform. That is, the bow is narrower and a tad more v-d, while the stern is flatter and wider. This applies to the waterline, not the gunwales.

The boat accelerates wonderfully for its weight. It spins well on eddy lines and tolerably on the flat, at least if it is not too loaded. It does not have enough flatness to ferry at steep angles. My Mad River Guide ferries better at steep angles. But if you lean the Synergy severely enough to get the upstream edge well clear of the current, it ferries tolerably.

I don’t side surf this boat much. The tubular hull is pretty grabby. But again, if you lean farther downstream than you think you should have to, you may not get flipped.

The Synergy is not a particularly dry boat, even paddled solo. When I was soloing the Dolores at 800 cfs, I learned not to ride through the haystacks; I ran beside them. I wish I had taken a pump, because with a boat full of gear, there was no place to work a bailer, and the boat was too heavy to tip to get water out at the bank.

I have fantasies of designing a drop skeg so that our Synergy can be paddles on lakes. If you do Canadian paddling, you will have to deal with lakes as well as rapids, and a skeg could be useful. If I devise something effective, I will post.

deck plates
Better check to make sure that you guys have the same type of deck plates/handles!