moving seat question

I am still relatively new to kayaking, but have a question.

I have a Wilderness Systems Sealution (about 17 foot). Been out in it a few times, and feel comfortable in it, with one small exception. I really have to work at bending my knees to get my feet and legs in the cockpit when entering from a seated position. (Make sense?). Anyway, I was checking it out today while washing it after a day on the lake, and noticed that there is about eight inches of room behind the seat. I was thinking “I wish that I had that space for legroom up front”, and then noticed that the seat is bolted onto the sides, with five bolt holes for adjustment. I can move it back two more holes, giving me maybe another inch and a half. Doesn’t sound like much, but it would sure help me get my legs in with my knees getting less flexible by the year.

My question is… how do I know where the “right” spot is for the seat? Obviously, I want the leg room, but am I changing the balance point or center of gravity? How do I know? Pluses or minuses of the seat forward or back?

Any help or insight is much appreciated! Thanks!

You may be entering wrong.
With some boat/person combinations it is possible to sit in the cockpit first and put your legs in afterward. But if that doesn’t work (and often doesn’t) you have to slide your straight legs in first and your butt last. It is more important that your boat be balanced fore and aft than that you be able to enter butt first.

More Leg Room
I was able to move the seat back on mine about 2 and a half inches. True it doesn’t sound like much but that extra leg room feels great. If it changed the balance of the boat I havn’t been able to tell.

I agree, but…
“It is more important that your boat be balanced fore and aft than that you be able to enter butt first.”

I agree wholeheartedly. And for the most part, I do enter legs first. However, putting my butt down first feels more stable, and to elaborate a little more, I did something today that made me think more about it.

We paddled up beside friends of ours in their pontoon boat today. While floating there & talking, I undid the skirt (it was HOT under there!), and bent my knees up, one at a time, to stretch them. I had to “help” my knees up with my hands. That’s when I noticed how close I was to “almost” having enough room.

I guess the main point of my initial question is how do I know where my boat is balanced? It may be obvious to some, but like I said, this is relatively new to me, so I’m not up to speed on the finer points. Heck, for the first few trips, I was happy to keep myself inside the kayak and paddling a relatively straight line! :slight_smile:


That’s me
"If it changed the balance of the boat I havn’t been able to tell."

That’s kinda what I think will be the situation in my case.

I won’t know enough to know the difference!

Hoping that somebody might have stopped me from doing something wrong before I do my typical male “I don’t need no stinkin’ directions!” thing! :slight_smile:

the only thing to do is try it… try it just one set of holes back and see if that makes the difference you need. Then, take it out for a test drive. if you notice it handles differently to the point you don’t like it, you can always change it back to the way it was.

That said, I can’t imagine being able to comfortably enter a SINK butt first… clearance issues aside, I would think it would be more stable resting your butt on the back of the seat, then sliding in… like putting a pair of pants on both legs simultaneously. :slight_smile:

Sliding seat
Come to think of it I have seen 1 kayak (Loon 111)with tubes mounted on each side of the cockpit and the seat is attached to the tubes with nylon webbing. The seat is made to move forward or back about 4 inches or so depending on the size of the paddler and gear being carried behind the seat. I have no regrets about moving the seat and really like the added foot and knee room, it made my kayak much more comfortable.

Take a picture,
or have another paddler tell you if the trim on the boat is correct. Compare the waterline to the seamline on the boat to see that it is relatively even and not stern heavy by having moved the seat back (remember that upon acceleration you will have some stern squat, so a tad bow heavy is not entirely a bad thing). Having someone take a picture at rest and another while paddling will give you a good idea. Hope this is what you are asking about.


That’s it!
“Having someone take a picture at rest and another while paddling will give you a good idea.”

That sort of thought actually crossed my mind, and then left just as quickly. I was thinking in the right direction, but didn’t think of having someone else look at it. I was thinking from “my” vantage point.

Looks like next weekend is photo day on the lake…


Again, you’re dealing with a new guy here. I’ve tried both legs sliding in, butt in first, etc. My actual “favorite” is one leg, butt, bend other leg.

We launch from a shallow rocky lakeshore, and standing beside the boat in the water is how we go.

Every time I try the sitting behind the cockpit and sliding in thing, I end up with a foot suddenly planted on the bottom of the lake anyway to keep me from making a less-than-graceful splash as I lose my balance. I just can’t master that one yet. On the few times that I’ve been quick enough to slide into the boat before going off sideways, I feel like I’ve cheated gravity and won!

So for now, it’s gonna be my butt on the seat while I have a foot on the “ground” (underwater) for stabilization.

One step at a time…

move it
by all means. the sealution can use a little stern tracking and the extra room will be wayyyy more comfy. in reality this will make the boat weathercock LESS! BTW- the S weathercocks alot.

If you feel the boat is unbalanced just store your lunch, kit, etc. forward.


I Did It
I had the paddle shop move my seat back two inches for the same reason. I’m kinda leggy. It didn’t affect the boat negatively at all. Not a bit sorry that I moved it.


– Last Updated: Aug-14-06 6:59 AM EST –

Move the seat to where you want, then take the boat out in a 15 knots plus day. Only way to find out how the altered trim will react to the wind (which is what to worry about when moving a seat in either direction). If you find the boat, wanting to turn downwind (most likely when moving the seat back too much), then you have to figure out if you can reasonably deal with that by putting more gear up front. If it is still too much, move the seat back foward a bit. Personally, I would rather deal with 2-3 minutes of contortion to get into the boat, then hours of leecocking in windy conditions (which can be dangerous with offshore winds and the lack of ability to cope).


Extreme opposites of one end to the…
I had a trim problem with a Kayak I had, related to my weight and heavy muscular legs. I did research on this, and found an interesting article on the internet on Kayak Trim. I’ll outline the extreme ends of the trim situation, so if you get near there, you will know. otherwise move the seat, and as long as the boat behaves ok for you, you will be OK.

“IF” you have a kayak that is loaded really heavy to the front, you will notice the kayak will seem to have a mind of it’s own. Again, I am talking REALLY heavy to the front. You will be paddling along, and seem to be making a straight track, and all of a sudden the boat will want to make a sharp, hard turn to one side or the other. The turn will be like you turned with a rudder, and the kayak will just head off in a direction. It is a really wierd situation. This is the one I had. I have been paddling for 4 years or more, and never had trouble in any other boat, but the cockpit opening was 4 inches farther front than other boats I paddled. I moved the seat back 2-1/2", and put my kayak cart in the rear hatch, and it was like a totally different kayak. It tracked straight, and turned easily. (for more info, see my review on the Boreal “Nanook”)

“IF” you severely load the back too much, the kayak will just want to wander back & forth, just being generally hard to keep going in a straight line.

The article I read had to do with loading a kayak for week long trips, but it also applies to general day to day paddling.

Move the seat to where it feels comfortable, and see how the boat handles. Front to back trim can also effect speed, and ease of paddling, so watch how your boat moves thru the water after your seat move.

If you like, call the QCC people, and ask them about the first coupld years they made the QCC 700. I understand they moved the cockpit opening front to back a couple times, the first couple years, to get the right “Trim”.

Happy Paddling!

moved it
Well, it’s moved back. Read all of the responses, noticed that everyone who had moved theirs liked it (and their boats still floated :slight_smile: ), nobody really had a reason not to move it, so…

Looked at it last night, pulled out a few tools, and 10 minutes later was done.

Sat in it and noticed that the extra little inch and a half felt HUGE.

And… noticed that my legs/knees come up into the thigh braces with a much better fit now. I hadn’t realized before that it just wasn’t quite right, but felt a definite difference afterwards.

Hoping to get it in this week and try it. As long as I’m not popping wheelies around the lake, I think I’m gonna like the extra knee room, a lot.

Thanks to everyone for the responses!