Necessity and placement of thwart?

My MR Explorer (16’ Royalex/wood gunwales) came with only the center thwart/portage yoke. I seems that all other canoes come with at least one more thwart. Is this a penny pinching decision from MR or is it not necessary with the wood gunwales?

If it is a good idea, any tips for placement? Halfway between the yoke and front of the stern seat?



I wouldn’t worry about it, Mad River knows what they’re doing.

Its probably fine for now

– Last Updated: Apr-24-10 10:00 PM EST –

I wouldnt use it for serious loaded river tripping without an extra thwart a couple or three feet ahead of the front edge of the stern seat.

It may become more of an issue later if (and I have seen this happen) the ends of the yoke become dry rottd and pull out of their bolts mid trip. Thats a lot of trust to put in one space that is holding in the hull.

Perhaps quite a bit is relying on the wooden gunwales to add stiffness. FreeStylers sometimes take all the thwarts out of their boat. Some are so small as to get away with that and some wind up with a very floppy boat.

Yes, it is very flexible.
It kind of “wallows” through waves. I’m going to go ahead and add at least one in the rear.

Does anyone make a quick disconnect thwart?

Thanks for the info.

Haven’t met a thwart
that couldn’t be removed in less than a minute or so. So that answers the ‘quick disconnect’ question. Just two screws and nuts/washers.

Adding thwart: I would start by adding one several inches aft of the front seat.

Actually, it could be penny pinching.
In 1981 my MR Explorer on RX came with one thwart and two seats - that were inwale-mounted (no drops). I guess it was assumed back then that the boat was paddles primarily kneeling. Without drops the seats added rigidity to the hull & gunwales.


Quick disconnect thwart.
This is a multi use boat so anywhere I put a thwart it will be in the way at some point. I can’t solo the boat from the bow seat with a thwart there, and the rear thwart would be in the way when poling. I was just thinking it would be nice to have a thwart held in with pins that could be removed in a matter of seconds without disturbing the bolts/nuts on the inwales.

Check Wenonah’s system
for a QD yoke. It might be adaptable for a solo thwart.


My 1993 Explorer with Vinyl Alu Gunnels
only had that portage/center thwart. 3" drops to the seats as well.

I beat the tar out of that boat, learned whitewater and poling, pinned her a few times even and never felt it needed more. I did finally add a mast thwart though. You might need one of them if you sail her.

Aft of the front seat…
That was the most effective in stiffening my Ranger. The thwart aft of the center was a kneeling thwart.