Solo Canoe Sliding Seats???

for those of you who have solo canoes with sliding seats, how much do you make use of that feature?

I know that they say you can use them for trimming out a loaded canoe. I guess I can see that if your load is not balanced. Or do you make use of it to load your boat “Canadian Style” with all your packs up front? Not sure if there is an advantage to this or not.

How about for paddling in the wind? Theoretically you can use it to more heavily weight the stern to prevent weathercocking, but how effective is this? And how senstive are most boats to this effect? In other words how much do you need to slide the seat back to make a difference? A couple of inches…several inches…a foot?

I recently got a Swift Osprey. It has a sliding seat but I am not sure how much use of it I will make.

Of course the other factor that makes the sliding seat of perhaps less utility is the fact that you have to move your foot brace too if you are sitting, and the fact that if you have knee cups installed they will not longer be in the right place, etc.

I prefer knee cups for kneeling boats since I like the purchase they give on the canoe, but if I am really going to make use of the sliding seat in this boat I will probably just use flat foam so as not to have my knee position require use of the seat in one position.

Or…is the sliding seat really of little use and should I just put it in one spot and leave it there and not have to worry about the above…and if so where should I leave it? I assume about 3 inches aft of center is ideal.





solo slider

– Last Updated: May-21-10 7:44 AM EST –

Two of my solos have had sliding seats, a zero rockered Wenonah Voyager and a rockered composite Wenonah Rendezvous. Paddling without a load, I found the slider seat essential in both these boats when paddling in winds above 10 mph. When these canoes were carrying a load, only in the Voyager do I need to use the slider to compensate for the wind. I suspect your Osprey won't be anywhere near as susceptibility to wind as my two Wenonahs. I suggest you pick a windy day and head out with your Osprey and see if you have no difficulty holding a track without sliding the seat forward to peg the bow going into the wind or sliding backward to peg the stern going with the wind. I suspect at some point in wind strength you will find the slider useful, but that may be at or beyond the point that you care to be out in those conditions anyway.

I own an Osprey as-well, and use the sliding seat a lot

also because I alternate between sitting and kneeling

and it makes a lot of difference for performance in the wind

and waves:

Also, I use it a lot without a load with only me (160 lbs) aboard,

which means it is in fact too lightly loaden to paddle well.

To get a reasonable waterline for paddling at higher speeds then,

I have to trim a bit bow heavy.

Sliding seat in an Osprey

– Last Updated: May-21-10 9:11 AM EST –

I find the Osprey to be pretty trim sensitive.
90% of the time my seat is all the way back. But IMO the Osprey is a bit faster with the seat a few inches forward from there.
I wish I could slide back a little further when the wind picks up and is behind me.
Paddling into a headwind I often slide forward.

My Osprey has long flat knee pads. I'm considering replacing those with something like these that I hope will hold my knees better while alowing me to move fore and aft.
I'll use two pair to get 12" of knee padding.

Since I plan to use my Osprey again for mixed whitewater/flatwater tripping, I'm replacing the bench seat with a Wenonah sliding pedestal and small tractor seat. One pin/entrapment (that I was able to extricate myself from fortunately) was more than enough to convince me that bench seats have no place on whitewater.

I have a Raven with a sliding seat
and as its often used with varying load configurations (ie sometimes dog and sometimes no dog and sometimes empty) I use the feature a lot.

It is quite handy in winds.

For tripping where the boat is pretty full anyway I use a fixed seat and just swap the packs for trim (big pack and littler pack). Anyway I dont want to bother figuring different balance points for different seat placements when portaging five times a day which I would have to with actually using a slider.

Forward for into the wind,
and slide it back when going away from the wind, is how I have found my Osprey easiest to handle so far (empty). There are a few discussions on this if you search here. I also have it almost all the way forward when using the seat as a yoke for portaging.

I will be installing a foot brace for sitting and some flat pads for kneeling as I like to be noncommittal on how I sit/kneel.

using the seat doesnt sound appealing for two thousand meters a day of portaging…Unless there is another trick to keep the boat from sliding off!

Am I too optimistic?
I have not tripped with it yet. I have only tried it a little ways and it did not slide around, but the lack of contour was not pleasant feeling on my spine. I am hoping that having the hood of a pack support the seat will work.

Can you tell that I was too cheap to buy the portage yoke?

but I got a portage yoke some seventeen years ago. It was expensive then.

Its had a lot of miles on it and probably down to less than a penny a use now. I dont think I will ever have to buy another one even though I lose my temper at it now and then. It snags everything…is in the way in the bow or stern and maddeningly this weekend I tried it on an vinyl gunwaled Argosy. The slide factor was so annoying that I merely perched the darn boat on my head…and walked the 400 yd portage.

Got the Osprey out tonight on the water for first time. Have not paddled one for about a year. Great boat.

Wondering though about what seat position might help it to track straightest if you were doing a crossing or somethign where you were going to sit and switch with it.

The Osprey is not a good tracker. Normally I would think moving seat back to peg stern would do best to limit its maneuverability and aid in tracking…but this boat seems to almost have more looseness in the bow than the stern so I wonder if pushing seat farther forward to peg the bow might be better…???


Sweet Seat Spot
What works for me (at least in solo Wenonah’s) to find the sweet spot of where the slider seat should be when paddling in calm conditions is to first move the seat all the way back. Note how much yaw the bow has on each stroke. Then start moving the seat forward and watch the yaw. It should start noticeably decreasing. When you find the point where there is the least amount of yaw in the bow on your stroke, that is very close to the right trim in calm waters and the boat should be very near its fastest. Moving the seat forward beyond that may peg the bow too much, eventually making it difficult to control the boat at crusing speed, especially wanting to spin out. I suspect you could use a GPS and monitor speed as well to find the right trim.

…do try something…

– Last Updated: May-21-10 11:05 PM EST –

>Normally I would think moving seat back to peg stern would do best to limit its maneuverability and aid in tracking.

Grinder's method sounds great...
As an exercise try paddling backwards from any given seating point...without sliding..with a straight stroke and try to observe what paddling position produces better tracking. Might give a hint of what was previously mentioned.

I dunno
I find with my Magic Pro that I do set the seat farther back and I will try the techniques outlined above to get maximum benefit. However, my Magic with the sliding seat is not set up to do any kneeling at all.

I wonder though, the Kruger Sea Wind and other expedition canoes do not have a sliding seat. I guess you need to learn to adjust your gear instead. Those boats are all about efficiency.


Definately useful in changing wind

I just changed the foot brace in my Wenonah Advantage from the screw & nut type adjuster to the sliding foot brace so that I can adjust it on the water when I slide the seat to adjust trim when wind direction changes.

hmmm too much yaw?
Try bringing in your paddle to vertical if its not already and limit the length of the forward stroke.

The Osprey does have a loosish bow but you ought to be able to keep the yaw minmal to less than two degress with good forward stroke technique.

It does seem that yaw increases the further back you peg the stern. Thats because the pivot point moves forware under speed and actually most of your stroking forces (good and bad) are in the stern half of the boat. If you have iffy technique the yaw increases( and thats why mass marketers have skegged sterns to compensate for that. The bow might be a wiggling and a waggling but the boat is still going straight)

rudder changes everything
The Sea Wind has the ultimate in skegged sterns: a rudder.


Another advantage
Another (and my most used) advantage to a sliding seat is ease of entry/exit.I kneel and when getting in I slide the seat back,get in the open center section kneeling, and raise my rump up and slide the seat foreward to sit on. Getting out I reverse the procedure. Getting older this is easier than threading my feet under the fixed seat.