Placement of Kneeling Thwart?

Well… I was thinking about getting one of those Dagger RPMs…until I heard how SCARY they were - so I figured I’d just adapt this here canoo…

Have you’all any bits of wisdom to share on placing a kneeling thwart in a 16’ tandem?

I figured ideally it would be between 6 to 10 inches aft of center, but with the carrying yoke in place (at about center) I don’t think those rough guidelines would work.

How close to (how far under??) the center thwart can your knees be for safety and comfort when using the kneeling thwart?

I didn’t see this as brain surgery, but figured I’d throw it out there to see if I’d overlooked something. Thanks.

Hows about you replace that …
…carrying yoke with one that goes on and off pretty easily? Your new kneeling thwart can take care of any reinforcement issues in the center portion of the boat.


– Last Updated: May-16-07 5:06 PM EST –

Yes, a clamp-on yoke would work.

I'd rather not go that route since:

1) >50% of the time I'll be tandem in the boat and have no need to have a removable yoke

2) I'd likely forget the darn thing somewhere, most probably the house, like I used to with the kneeling pad for my solo boat (I finally glued some in)

I WILL be removing an aluminum tube thwart between the rear seat and carrying yoke after I install the kneeling thwart...

Another Idea
"c2g" posted a link to some pictures a long time back that showed a home-built system for both mounting and storing a yoke. His system used some neat quick-connect pins to fasten the yoke to the gunwales, and the same method to connect it to a pair of little wood blocks glued inside the hull. That way, if the yoke isn’t attached to one spot it’s attached to the other. It’s never off the boat. It’s something I’ve considered building at times, and it’s an idea that might appeal to a anyone who likes to build and modify things.

Kneeling thwart placement
In symmetrical solo craft, one wants the front edge of the seat about 4" aft of center, more if the paddler is heavy physically.

This isn’t a solo boat, so we’re just trying to place the paddler to trim the hull better and place him/her at a narrower paddling station.

If the hull already has a third thwart, place the thing there. If not, figure where the thing leaves enough room for the stern paddler to get in an out comfortably and the solo paddler can do the same.

Be sure to measure with a tape from the stern to make sure the thing goes in straight. Very embarrassing to nmot do so - I would know.

thwart placement
Sounds like you’ve already gotten great advice. You can also use something like a small hard cooler to experiment with seating positions and once you find a place that seems right…you place the thwart under the spot where your butt is. Might help you figure out how far aft you can go to avoid the yoke without getting too bow light.

I’m planning on putting a foam pedestal
seat in a 17’ canoe, and I will put it in so the center thwart/ portage yoke is just above my thighs. Of course I will make sure the kneeling pedestal does not interfere with my head when I am portaging. I will pad the yoke downward so my thighs are supported.

I think kneeling thwarts are fine, but with size 15 feet, I do not like to have those feet under a low thwart if the boat spills in a rapid.

Funny you should ask
I’ve just come up from the shop where I installed a seat in the 16’ Chipewan. BTW, Coyoteequip, I think I’ll take the aluminum channel back to Lowes. I cut out a pair of hanger trusses and installed the seat tight to the hull, dropped 3" in front, 2" in the rear. It’s nice, tight and rigid. The leading edge of the seat, which will serve as a kneeling support when the situation calls for it, is 12" back from center. Won’t know if that is quite right until I paddle it.

In my Tripper, I have the kneeling thwart 14" back. I’m looking to get center of gravity a few inches back from center. I still have the carry thwart in the Tripper, and I have swum out of the Tripper enough times to assure you that your feet won’t get stuck. My knees are a little in front of the carry thwart when I paddle her while kneeling.

A marvelous paddler I know recommended setting it up so your belly button is 2" rear of center. I had never heard a guideline like that but the 14" offset of the Tripper’s kneeling thwart probably puts my belly button about where Julie recommended. I think the 12"-rear-of-center seat will also do about the same.

G2D, I hope the 17’ boat you are going to set up with center saddle is narrow. In the Tripper, with its 37" width, I cheat and slide to the side where I am paddling. I’m okay with a saddle in my 30" wide boat, but would not want to be restricted to the center of the Tripper. But I guess it is a matter of personal preference and paddling style. I suspect you know what you are doing.

~~Chip Walsh, Gambrills, MD

Chip, my boat is 34" wide, but I’m very
tall, and with my reach I can manage pretty well. When I had a Tripper, it had an ethafoam pedestal running most of the length of the boat, just leaving a space for standing to pole. Paddled solo, the Tripper was willing to lean a little, so I could still manage strong strokes.

Some people used to shorten the thwarts in Trippers, to pull the gunwales in and take out a bit of rocker. Our Tripper was different. The center thwart was full length, and the foam pedestal forced the bottom down, so there was more rocker, and a definite center pivot point. It was a very hot handling whitewater boat, if you discount the impediment of all that swing weight in a boat close to 90 pounds.

good stuff
Thanks for all the info guys! I figured there’d be some experience out there.

Chip - I’m kinda’ glad to hear you went with the seat hangers for your add-on; sounds like that’ll work out fine. I appreciate your detailed specs on my thwart question. Having knees just under the yoke is farther foward than I expected to place myself- good to know I’ve got room to spare

…pedestals are nice…IM-ww-O…
A pedestal, just behind center(or wherever you can stroke easily), works great… Get the knee and ankle padding right for real comfort…


Got a picture
how the kneeling thwart/portage yoke are set up in my Swift Dumoine. Boat came this way, I wouldn’t change a thing. Plenty of room between thwart and yoke. Boat is 16’4" with 37" beam.

pics of initial install
Thanks again for the info folks. Here’s a few shots of the initial installation. My “shop” has been reduced to hand tools and a portion of a carport, so the wood drops are gonna have to wait until I at least have a bench…

I’ve since removed the rear tube-thwart. Hull flexibility has increased but it remains to be seen if it’s an unacceptable amount.

Sure Is A Purty Boat, Jarvis
Glad it went to a good home! WW