OK to make my OT Pack narrower?

Hi all, I’m new to the board and wasn’t able to find the info I need by searching. So…

I was looking for something like a used Mohawk solo 13 or 14 when a nice Old Town Pack showed up at a very good price. Having read mostly nice things about it, I decided to give it a try even though it’s a little shorter and wider than I wanted.

I’m a pretty experienced flatwater paddler, find the Pack to be quite stable, and I have no trouble making it go straight with a single paddle. I have always preferred kneeling. I like the Pack, love it’s light weight, but now I want to tinker with it, like I do with everything else I own. :slight_smile:

So I’m thinking about making it a couple inches narrower at the gunwales by shortening the thwart and narrowing the seat. I’d strengthen the seat mounting arrangement so that the seat cross pieces would be acting like thwarts too, and would help keep the gunwales pulled in.

I’d first pull the gunwales in from the center and then get the new thwart and seat length from measuring where the gunwales naturally ended up.

Is this a bad idea? Will it stress the hull or gunwales (like maybe up near the ends where I could see the gunwales possibly being pushed end-ward by their being straightened a little)?

I don’t think I’ll mind if it’s a little less stable, but if the bottom ends up a little stiffer and I can reach the water easier I’d like that. I have an extra old seat I could try it with.

Any advice would be most appreciated!


pullin a boat in
I have done it to all my solos, no regrets yet. Go in a little at a time, and if you don’t like it, just go back.

pulling a hull in
Shortening thwarts and seats improves paddling station but, in ABS hulls, decreases rocker or can actually hog the boat.

A visual of this would be cutting the top edge of an envelope open. Then pooching the top edge open.

So go slow - a little at a time

Thanks! So, how much is “a little”?
Thanks for the input. I see the point about the rocker decreasing; pulling in the gunwales will make the top of the boat longer. I’ll certainly keep an eye on that.

Would 2 inches shorter in the beam be “a little” or a lot? That amount would make a nice difference paddling, I think.

I should say, though, that I have no real difficulty with it’s present width, and I don’t want to make the boat something it can’t be.

definition of “a little"
Start with an inch. By the way, the seat seems awfully far back; you may want to move it forward 'till 6” aft of center, and canting it 10dg would help too.

I see what you mean…
I took our the seat and thwart, held the canoe on its side, rested one gunwale on my feet and pressed down on the other with the keel right along a straight board. I could see the decks push forward and nose down. Rocker decreased, and by the time it was 2" narrower it was hogged about 1/8" in the center 2 feet of the bottom.

I’m thinking 1" or maybe just leaving it alone. With the thwart and seat out it naturally springs to a shape about an inch narrower, by the way.

As to the seat position, I’m going to make that seat a slider so it can be a bow seat also, and I’ll make it able to go closer to the center. I have an old, light seat that I’ll put in the other end as a stern seat, so my 9 and 12 year olds will have a mini-tandem too.

Thanks again for your input.

Squeeze her up evenly …
just an idea but if I were going to draw the gunnals in , I would get a six pack of those smaller type racheting straps , place them at strategic points along the length of the canoe , and adjust each one a notch at a time until desired shape is achieved … of course the ratchet crank would be in the open area between gunnals and only the flat strap touchimg the hull , all presures will be equalized as straps are tightened … you will probably have to do a couple test tightenings to determine how far off center to have the ratchet crank before final tightness is achieved , because I don’t think both halves of the strap will draw exacly evenly if ratchet crank starts in exact center between gunnals , probably needs be off center just at snug to begin … also the fore and aft decks will take on a slightly sharper V , so something has to give there , remove fastneres from both sides to allow the change and go from there ?? … just ideas ?? … I guess you could even take her for a test spin with the ratchets in place and dummy spreaders (thwarts) to get an idea of how she will handle , the straps will add a bit of parasite drag , but at least it will be symetrical and uniform … take something like a mason string line and fasten it to the tips at center of canoe at each ends highest point (over the straps of course), just a bit of tension should do it , and when the straps are tightened up (torque) , the string should get even a bit more stretched … use this string as center line enabling you to measure from it to gunnal each side to discover symetry progression (should be exact on each side of center line (string) …