Hi folks this is only my second post but have been reading a lot and want to thank everyone for all the information I’m gathering. We live up close to Lake Erie lots of inland lakes and waterways. She has been getting into kayaking with her friends and they want me to come along also. We live real close to French Creek and that is where they mainly go and mostly float. I have been around boats my whole life and at 65 a kayak is not my cup of tea. We plan to buy her a solo sit in Old Town and I was in the market for a solo canoe. A neighbor had this one a double and for 150 bucks I grabbed it. Here is where I’m at please be kind if I’m way off course.
For me the solo canoes seemed to small and at 14’7” when I got this home seemed cramped for a double but what I would like as a solo. The first thing I did was sat in the bow seat and the foot box was pretty tight and I couldn’t picture ether of us liking it. The stern seat was fine but as a solo I know I wasn’t going to like the balance without a lot of counterweight up front. The way I always used a double as a solo was to sit backwards in the bow but the molded seat didn’t allow that and it still felt a little far back. The canoe didn’t come with the seat backs and when I saw the price I thought I could make one.
I took out the bow seat and turned it around and reused two of the four holes. Doing that it moved that seat about 8 more inches and looked like a good balance point for a solo. I cut two triangles out of 8-ply marine ¾” plywood and drilled two new holes thru the gunwales and adapted the seat to sit backwards. Doing this also lowered the seat ¾”. Seemed very ridged. I then had some old aluminum tent frame poles and I made a new thwart for behind the seat in the unused holes. That placed that thwart 48” from the tail of the boat. I then took out the old stern seat for good and made and added another thwart 48” from that end. Those plastic seats weigh quite a bit. I then removed the center yoke as I wont be carrying it overhead as I have a dolly. I made a thwart to replace it getting rid of the heavy oak piece. I wanted a front bench slightly ahead of center in case I do have a passenger and the plan is to use kayak paddles if the second person is to paddle. My thoughts are the boat is wider now at both seats. The seating spacing will be more like a tandem kayak. I’m not worried about paddling that way as it will be rare or the passenger will just be going along for the ride. I might even move up there when still fishing. I built a wooden drop for the bench seat to hang on and I can remove the bench completely if I am solo and need that space. The drop gave me an excellent place to mount my foot rail that I made like the thwarts and it is placed exactly where I need it in reach with no adjustments. I like to be able to move my feet wide or close or drift flatfooted and I also have a kneeling pad to further break it up.
I used a neoprene sleeping pad for the floor, bench, my plastic seat and seat back.
Another addition is I wanted capsize floatation as I will be out alone fishing a good deal and would like to be able to right the boat and get back in solo and at least limp back to shore. I started pricing air bladders and said no. Thinking outside the box I started thinking about yoga balls. We have a couple of them. I found they now sell long oblong ones called peanut balls. I bought two and stuck them inside two army surplus laundry bags. They add about 7 square feet of flotation to the boat and fit nicely into the two 48” ends with room for ropes and small bags in the corners. I strap them in with straps between the new thwarts and the deck handles. They can’t come out. The bags over the balls provide a little protection and keep the balls to a given size. the balls are pretty tough we have rolled on ours for years and never have to add air. They do come with a little plastic foot pump.
I plan to drill the hull on both ends and put in a rope loop to tie off to. I’m also building a DIY roof rack for the KIA soul I will be toting it with. I will add some photos of it so far and add more later as things change.
Any advice would be appreciated. I know it is a budget boat and it came with a little hog. I have a brace that I made that spans the gunwales and a board the runs a few feet down the center and I have a threaded rod between them that pushes the hog out. I have been putting it in and flipping the boat over on a couple sawhorses and the sun has been slowly working the hog out. I figure I will just always store it with the brace in and see what happens. Not too worried about it as I’m long past trying to go fast I just want to get out on the water and float the creek or drown some worms. Retirement is a good thing.