I just purchased a 16’ kevlar tandem with wood trim. It does not come with a bow thwart. My plan is to replace the stern thwart with a kneeling. I was wondering if moving the old stern to the bow would be better for the boat, or is it just adding extra weight? I will be car topping the boat at highway speeds quite frequently. I have searched around and it seems that about 1/2 the 16’ boats out there do not have a bow thwart. The new Mad Rivers do not have a bow or stern thwart. My paddling is in quiet waters and minimal gear, but with 1 or 2 passengers when I am not going solo. Thanks for any insight.
It may hurt sitting backwards
Ouite often I like to paddle solo by sitting in the bow seat facing the center. With a thwart there you loose that option. I’m not certain what you gain by having the thwart there.
Try paddling it without and see
You will give up some rigidity swapping a stern thwart for a kneeling thwart since the kneeling thwart will be suspended and the hangers will act like a cantilever.
Try paddling the boat solo and tandem with the kneeling thwart in and see if you appreciate much hull flex. A lot of tandems in the 16 ft length range do add a second thwart (in addition to the center thwart or yoke) just behind the bow seat. Presumably, if you are adding a kneeling thwart astern of midships, you don’t care about being able to sit backward on the bow seat.
If you notice flex sure, go ahead and mount the thwart just enough aft of the bow seat that the bow paddler’s back won’t contact it, or as far forward as its width allows if it isn’t long enough to be mounted that far forward.
Thanks for the info pblanc. Speaking about regidity - looking at the Swift and MR sites, their 16 ft boats have no twarts (just a yolk). If anything the twarts also help with portaging and lifting the boat. I’ll play with it and see.