There is an issue of trim [level front & back] with 2 people of differing weights on adjustable seats. If my memory serves from canoeing there is a unique wake wave pattern created by the trim boat weight distribution. Any tandem experts out there with advice? How does trim affect tracking? THANX

cadence & trim
I generally find paddling cadence affects tracking more than trim. A couple with truly good cadence, and more or less synchronized side swapping, can generally keep a reasonably shaped boat on track, not withstanding heavy winds.

On calm days, I actually like it when the boat is a little light in the bow, and heavy in the rear. This works out well for many couples, since the women are frequently lighter and less experienced, and thus wind up in the bow. Note that I’m talking about having the bow only a little raised, not a lot. However, in heavy winds, it helps to slide a cooler or other gear up closer to the bow to make for a more level boat, so that it doesn’t weathercock as badly. At no time do I want a bow heavy boat. You’ll know when that happens because there’ll be an exagerated vee wake coming off the front of the boat.

moving the weight FWD contributes to a ‘sticky’ bow and weathercocking.

why is the little lady always thought to be less experienced? cuz MEN always know how to drive??

you’ll want a very slightly stern heavy ride to contribute to a well balanced hull. this will seriously affect your tracking.


tracking / boat trim answers
Trim affects speed and tracking. The stern paddler has more leverage than the bow paddler and will “push” the boat to the opposite side even if perfectly level. Most flatwater racers trim their boat about 1" bow heavy. Under power the bow rises and the boat runs level.

If you’re running in whitewater where manuverability and a dry bow are important, trim the boat slightly stern heavy. This will give the stern paddler more leverage.

All the above comments apply to boats with little or no rocker that track easily and does not take wind into account.

Adjustments may have to be made.

I agree completely.

Bow heavy and you will be zig zagging on your course.



That’s why I said …
"At no time do I want a bow heavy boat. "

BUT SHE’S the Inexperienced HEAVYWEIGHT
AM I Doomed to Zig Zag Hell?

Are you doomed?
I’ve studied your situation carefully and after careful consideration of all options I’ve concluded the answer is yes, you are doomed. Sorry.

One other option
If you cannot get the boat trimmed by adjusting the seat, add some weight to your stern.

A couple of gallon jugs of water or equal might work.

If she is inexperienced than it is up to you to take the bull by the horns, and match her cadence, do the steering and also the power work, and the whole time you are doing it teach her the basic strokes such as sweeps, and back paddling, etc

We watched couples in tandems on a couple of guided trips that we were on in Ak, and the first day all they did was yell and fight with themselves. I pulled a couple of the guys aside and told them that it was much easier for them to match their bow partners stroke since they could see it, and the bow paddler doesn’t have a clue where you the stern paddlers stroke is. The second day went unbelieveably smooth.



And this was supposed to be fun!

A note to the Doomed man
OH, I forgot to mention, I’d keep the comment about “inexperienced heavyweight” just between us, if you know what I mean. If that gets publicized, you’ll learn the real meaning of “doomed”.


Nobody mentioned seats
If your seats slide, make sure they both are as far aft as they’ll go. Then like Jack said, add ballast to the stern.

JackL is Right!
The secret to success is for the stronger/more experienced paddler to take the rear seat and match the stroke and cadence of the front seat paddler/passenger.

My wife and I paddle a loon 160T. We really enjoy it, and I have not let it turn into a divorce boat.

Trim is important. If you are turning into the wind or waves (when you don’t want to) then put more weight aft. If you are turning away from the wind or waves, then put more weight up front. You’ll be surprised at how much difference a small adjustment can make.

Also, if she is a novice paddler, it would be helpful for her to paddle solo (perhaps not the tandem?) sometime or take a lesson. A little knowledge can make kayaking much more enjoyable.

But most of all, if she isn’t paddling the way you desire…keep it constructive or keep your mouth shut!

Boat symmetrical or asymmetrical?
Adjustments to trim are much more predictable in a symmetrical boat than in an asymmetrical boat. Best way to find out your boats reactions is to make very slight adjustments, as suggested, and this is especially true to asymmetrical boats that can go banannas with the wrong combination of trim and wind. Happy paddling!