Solo in N.C. Prospector

Hi, wanted some opinions, on the hanger seats on my prospector. The story is with old shatterd tibia/leg injury the kneeling twart is ok but not for long, so was thinking about lowering the stock seats/ foot braces etc. Bottom LINE kneeling aint cutting it. Thoughts on pro/con of lowering seats? Best, Ravenwolf;

I assume you are going to sit?
If you plan to sit all the time and not use the seat as a support for kneeling you can lower the seat as much as you like. If you plan to kneel occasionally and tuck your feet under the seat then you will of course by limited by how much you can lower it.

Your center of gravity goes down and stability goes up the lower you sit. Depending on your torso height, sitting too low might make it feel like the gunwale is in your armpit, though. I find that I can get more power on the stroke if I am not sitting too low down.

You can make seat hangers out of some hardwood dowels. One problem you can run into if you want to lower the seats quite a bit is finding stainless steel hardware long enough to reach through the gunwales, through the seat hangers, and through the seat frames. Ed’s canoe and other vendors sell #10 x 24 tpi stainless steel machine screws that are 6 inches long, which will allow you to lower the top of your seat frame up to about 4 inches below the bottom of the inwale. If you want to go lower than that and would like to use stainless hardware, you might need to go with stainless steel carriage bolts.

Prospectors are fairly popular in the UK
where they often paddle them heeled to one side. Before you drop the seats a whole lot, you might try kneeling just on your good leg, with the other one out ahead or partly flexed with the tibia crossways. Heel the boat toward the side of your good leg and see if that is better, overall. If so, don’t lower the seat so much that you can’t kneel on the good leg. When you want to sit, it’s easier to extract just the good leg from under the seat than both legs.

I’m a very left-sided paddler, and can go 90% of the time on one side without tiring. I think some who heel their open boats develop the same degree of preference, and it might work for you.

Kindred spirit?
Well, almost. I solo a NC Prospector a fair amount of the time and also have an old knee injury… but so far I’m still able to kneel. Actually, when they did the surgery they cut some nerves in the knee and I now have spots where I have no feeling at all. So my good knee hurts more than my bad knee. (Kinda’ makes a fella wonder about how “good” and “bad” should be judged in regard to knees…)

Anyhooo… If I ever get to the point of having to forgo the kneeling thwart and hang a seat, I think I’d put it forward of the location of the standard kneeling thwart. At the factory kneeling thwart position the bow rides pretty high and it takes a lot of dead weight in the bow to trim out properly. You’ve probably noticed that.

Just a thought… if you’re going to hang a lower seat anyhow. Its a pretty wide boat, of course. Heeling it helps, but I think unless you’re a pretty tall fellow, the lowest possible seat location you can get bolts for might make paddling a boat that wide, solo and from near amidships, a little tough. Higher than the lowest possible seat position might be preferable just to make the reach a little easier. Worth thinking about anyhow.

NC Prospector
is pretty stable. So, if you’re thinking you need a lower seat for stability, I’d like to suggest that maybe you don’t.

I have one, a 16 footer, that I frequently solo. It does have a kneeling thwart which I normally use, but I’ll also turn it around and sit backwards in the front seat. I’m usually fishing when I do this and I’ll throw a bit of ballast in the “new” bow to keep it from blowing around too much. My seats are hung on 6" machine screws which I think is standard for Nova Craft Prospectors. I’ve never felt that I needed more stabilty than this arrangement provides. And, I’m up high enough to throw an occasional cross-stroke.


Goodbye kneeling
After a back surgery and a knee surgery, kneeling is out of the question for me. I have found that my absolute most comfortable paddling position is standing. I can run up to class 3 rapids standing and I can see the lines so much better. Make sure your paddle is long enough that you aren’t reaching down or bending over. It is worth a try. I always carry a sit-length paddle in case the wind really picks up or if I need to rest my legs for a short while.

Yep - stand up.
That’s what i was going to suggest too. The NC Prospector is easy to stand in. Paddle it or pole it standing.

Or you could just do as also suggested and sit backwards in the bow seat with ballast in the other end. If you are thinking the stock seat at the stock height is tippy when solo, it’s most likely because without ballast at the other end, your weight is still putting the boat out of trim so it’s not getting the benefit of the whole hull being on the water.