New canoeist with a used 16’, Royalex, Mad River Explorer and noticed that the current model has a rear thwart. Why did they change the design? I plan to use this for some river and lake tripping and think that a rear thwart might be useful to attach a compass and map pouch plus I suspect that it may add some rigidity. Should I add one to my canoe and if so any advice on exactly where? Thanks

match the one that is there with the same distance and materials. Add the compass in a better location to see it. The compass you use needs to be a good one and a cover to keep the sun damage to it. Needs to be an all weather type even lighted if passable. Even a kem-lite use for low vis. I am guessing you are hard core by using nav aids.

You can put a thwart pretty much any
where you want, as long as it doesn’t impede your moves or your preferred position. With Royalex boats, sometimes we add a thwart to pull the hull in or out a little to manipulate handling.

As stated previously an additional thward can be added just about anywhere as long as it doesn’t restict your mobility. Since you use the canoe for tripping, be careful not to place it where it will make loading packs difficult.

I’ve built solo strippers that were more than ridgid enough without thwarts. None the less, I always recommend one a few feet forward of the seat simply because it gives you a place to hang a thwart bag etc.

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe Works

The only good thwart is a gone thwart!
I hate thwarts.

Take them all out before I trip over them.

The only reason I can think of to add a second thwart is if they made the gunnels less rigid. Can’t see any reason to add one into an older boat.

But hey it’s your boat.

What does pulling the sides in versus pushing them out do to the handling of the canoe?

If the hull is fairly flexible you may be able to change the rocker by changing the thwart length(s).

Or if it is a straight keel you could also risk “hog-backing” it.

It is a Mad River Explorer with 2.25" rocker in the bow and 2.125 in the stern. I am intrigued by the idea of reducing the rocker for flat water use but I am a new canoeist and a) this might be a stupid idea or b) the canoe might not be flexible enough for this. The thwart idea for me was originally a place to hang gear and maybe a foot stool.

I don’t think you would make an
Explorer faster by pulling it in to reduce the rocker. It might track a little better, but the Explorer is not a hull that can be driven at speeds where rocker makes any difference.

One thing might be accomplished by pulling the sides in… making it a little easier to paddle solo. But an Explorer is not a solo boat, though a friend of mine used to solo an Explorer down section 4 of the Chattooga, the Chauga Gorge, and the upper Conasauga.