Repair or Replace Pedastal in Encore

This post request suggestions or repairing or replacing the foam saddle in my whitewater canoe, a Dagger Encore.

My Encore came to me with a foam saddle glued to the bottom of the boat. The saddle was also held in place by two thwarts on the fore and aft end of the saddle. On initial use of the boat, I found the two thwarts made it difficult to get in and out of the boat. I removed the thwart at the forward end of the saddle, and have enjoyed use of the boat for about a hundred outings since then.

Besides sit / kneeling on it, the saddle also serves as the carry device. With the canoe inverted, I set the saddle on a shoulder and the boat is mostly balanced for carrying. Saddle on one shoulder isn’t the most comfortable way to carry a boat, and if I’m going a quarter mile I try to find a tree to rest the boat on so I can switch carry-shoulder from L to R, or vice versa.

I recently brought the boat in to repair one of the airbags. I noticed the forward end of the saddle has come unglued from the hull. So I’ve reached a point where I need to do something about the saddle, and I’m considering options.

My least favorite option is reglue and replace that forward thwart. But aside from making it hard to get in and out, I don’t like the idea of saddle / thwart combinations. Attaching thwarts to saddles means the bottom can’t flex, making it more difficult and damaging to slide over rocks in the riverbed. And, it adds weight to an already heavy boat.

I am considering replacing the saddle with a kneeling thwart. I’d have to remove the present saddle and add a D-ring in the present position of the saddle to attach the thigh straps (presently attach to the forward end of the saddle), and I’d loose the foot pegs, too (attached to the aft side of the saddle). I’d also loose my carry-point, since the kneeling thwart would be behind the boat’s center-of-gravity. A final disadvantage is that the foam saddle consumes, oh, probably 10-15 gallons of space in the center of the boat, and this is space that will be filled with water on the frequent occasions when water somehow intrudes into the cockpit space (how’s that happen?).

What do you recommend? Just glue down the saddle? Glue saddle and put the thwart back? Rip out saddle and put kneeling thwart? Or some better alternative?


Can you use your D rings
… for the thigh strap anchors to strap the front of the saddle down? You’d probably have to put a hole through the saddle. But you could line the hole with plastic pipe or something.

If it were me, that’s what I’d think about. I anchored the saddle down on my Prodigy X like that. Even though it was never loose. I just thought it seemed a prudent thing to do. I didn’t have to put a hole through the saddle though. I just ran a strap over the front of the saddle. The strap couldn’t slide off forwards because of the shape of the saddle.

I re-read your original post
… and it sounds like your thigh straps are attached to the saddle itself, and not the hull. If that’s the case, obviously strapping the saddle to itself will be no good.

I’d consider adding D ring patches at the front/sides with the edges under the saddle so that the actual metal D rings are close to the edge of the saddle. You could strap the saddle down using those and attach your thigh straps to 'em as well, if you were so inclined.

If the saddle is comfortable, reglue it

– Last Updated: Dec-10-09 3:59 PM EST –

Unless you don't like the saddle for some reason, I'd just reglue it. Thigh straps should go to D-rings on the floor. Glue those well! (thanks Clarion I missed that too)
There's not a lot of stress on the saddle to floor connection. The thigh straps and knee cups take most of that.
If you do that I can't imagine any need for a thwart at the front of the saddle.

Keeling thwarts present an entrapment hazard. That's why you don't see many in whitewater boats any more.

Yea, the only reason I get nervous
… about a saddle loosening up is during transport. And that may just be a false concern I cooked up in my own head.

don’t understand why

– Last Updated: Dec-10-09 4:44 PM EST –

the forward thwart is causing issues. Aarons got an encore with the foam saddle, and removed the rear thwart due to potential entrapment of his size 13's. My encore has the perception saddle with thwarts fore and aft and I have no issues with my size 12's. Personally I'd go with the aforementioned reglue (we use massive quantities of 3m5200 with good success).Maybe if you're having fit issues with the forward thwart, cut an inch off the saddle?? Those hulls are tough, I've got delamination under my kneepads, but a little surgery and abs slurry will be going on when it warms up.
Skip the kneeling thwart. I've got one in the flashback and it's a bear getting in and I do get trapped from time to time. It's nice as it's a 27 pound boat and low freeboard, and I'm generally above water even on my side in that one, but the encores another story.

2 D rings

– Last Updated: Dec-10-09 6:10 PM EST –

Similiar to Clarion's proposed "fix"........

2 D rings, glued into the bilge, on the sides of the the saddle; "close" to the front corners of the saddle. Drill hole through saddle, in line with the 2 D rings. Run a short NRS tie down strap through the hole in the saddle, and through both D rings. Snug it down. You're good to go.

I've done that on foam saddles before, with 4 D rings(one at each of the 4 corners of saddle), and 2 NRS tie down straps. Didn't put a drop of glue on the saddle anywhere; just glued down the D rings patches. The saddle never moved an inch over the period of 3 years. I could put in/take out the saddle whenever I chose to, and in less than 5 minutes.
I lined the holes with plastic tubing so that the straps wouldn't tear into the saddle. Worked fine; not too expensive either.

I certainly would NOT have my saddle & my thigh straps attached to the same anchor however.


Sell the Encore to Matt
and buy yourself a new boat - or just reglue the saddle.

First, don’t worry about the hull not
being able to flex if the saddle is supported by thwarts. My 12 year old MR Synergy has been my principal boat for the period and has a triple saddle supported by thwarts. The minicell saddle flexes enough, and in fact it may not be good for your old Encore to flex more than the thwart allows.

On my new Millbrook “Big Boy,” in order to provide a flexible suspension effect, I put a minicell beam across the triple saddle, with the beam supported at its ends against a thwart, but not in the center. But I’m not sure it is an advantage, and I would not have done it except that it also provides a place to hold my river map and my double quarter pounder with cheese.

Now, on your loose saddle, as others have suggested, you could put a D-ring at the front end of the saddle to hold it down. You could glue the saddle, but it might not hold.

For a single saddle, I would put one thwart across the approximate center of the boat to hold the saddle down, and skip the rear thwart. I use the center thwart in my boats to support my thighs, and I do not use thigh straps. The thwart is padded, and in one of the boats I need to used knee cups.

Okay, Reglue. Procedure?
Now it can’t be as simple as picking up the loose end, shoving some adhesive under there and calling her done.

Can it? For one thing, seems likely that I’ve collected some grit under there. And it seems logical that the thigh straps would be more securely hooked to the hull than onto the side of the saddle.

The idea of strapping the saddle to floor mounted d-rings does not appeal to me. The D-rings will have less total glued area than the saddle, and I’ll have to remove the saddle and clean up the area to install the D-rings. Sounds like it would work but I don’t see any advantage and seems like more work.

Should I remove the saddle so I can prep the hull under the saddle by removing old adhesive and getting the surface as clean as possible? I so don’t want to do that, but think I know the answer. Hate that prep work. That was part of the appeal of a kneeling thwart, to avoid the prep.

I have lexel left over from the Kanoe Latvija bulkhead install. Will that do, or should I go get the 3M5200 Matt recommends? Also have epoxy and contact cement around. What adhesive?


Contact cement is fine
The best thing would be to remove the saddle clean everything nicely and reglue.

If it was my boat I’d run some coarse sandpaper through the existing gap, lift it open as much as I could without tearing more, apply the cement leaving the gap open until the cement was tacky then weight it closed overnight.

You still have to clean and glue a d-ring for the straps though.

I don’t see how you can avoid the prep
I had some outfitting come loose that I lived with for a while and I was was surprised at the film of silt or something that formed between the surfaces. And that got through a very small crack.

I guess I wouldn’t shun the prep work if it were me. I love messing with WW outfitting. But like anything else you’ve got to be able to find the time. And this time of year a warm space too.

As for the surface area of the D ring patches, I think everyone was assuming a standard vynabond or similar adhesive for the patches and not contact cement.

Good luck Chip. Heck, post some pics when you’re doing, it if it’s not too much trouble.

Thigh strap anchor
Thanks for that Brian.

The anchor holding the thigh straps in front of the saddle will take more stress than anything else in the boat. I’d want something with a lot of surface area.

And I’d be very carefull glueing it down.

I’ve had good luck with Vynabond. You definately don’t want to use contact cement for that 8-o

Put Mike Yee Outfitting
in the Encore that I bought from OC1. The stuff is great, but it ain’t cheap - paid more for the outfitting than the boat. Got an extra tall pedestal (10 1/2") so I can kneel in comfort. I did start out with an empty hull - fortunately it came that way, I didn’t have to strip it. Used vynabond for the anchors, contact cement for the pedestal.

Pull it out and reglue it.

– Last Updated: Dec-12-09 11:08 PM EST –

Once the saddle starts to come loose in one spot, water and grit get under it, and they start loosening the rest of the saddle.

best to just pull it out, clean the hull and bottom of the saddle, and reglue with contact cement.

definitely keep the saddle thwart- it's good insurance.

I once ran the Indian and Hudson with my saddle totally unglued, held in place only by the thwart.

Pull it out and do it right

– Last Updated: Dec-13-09 2:10 AM EST –

I used to paddle WW on a kneeling thwart, which has some advantages over a saddle. That is, until the day I got pinned on a rock in '85 and couldn't get my feet out as the hull buckled. Thank goodness I was strong enough and the vinylester resin was weak enough for me to rip the whole glassed-in thwart out of the hull.

I walked off the river and vowed never to sit on a thwart again in WW, and I haven't.

Sounds like you have one of those old foam saddles that mount between two thwarts. I never liked those. A lot of unnecessary foam in front of you, and that front thwart is annoying. I'd replace it with a shorter and lighter foam pedestal. Maybe you can even chop the saddle to form a pedestal.

If money is an object, I would make or get a pedestal and make the straps myself from Strapworks -- rather than spend a lot of money on a bunch of overdone name brand outfitting.

I have an Encore -- fuchsia, of course -- with a short foam pedestal and wrap-around hip blocks, all carved by Tom Foster. I don't buy the let-the-hull-flex theory. I buy the opposite theory: stop it (mostly) from flexing. I'd rather wear out the bottom and patch it than have a structurally oil-canning bottom. Hence, I favor mounting with one thwart on the rear.

The Perception saddle is a special case. I like them, even though they are heavy and use two thwarts. Did my best boating on that saddle in an ME and a Whitesell.

Once braced on the Rapid River in Maine in my club's rental Sunburst II and the whole Perception saddle came loose. It hadn't been glued on the bottom; just wedged under the thwarts.

Do it right and tight.