weight distribution

-- Last Updated: Dec-30-07 12:20 AM EST --

I'm brand new at canoeing and I am currently reading and learning as much as I can about the sport. Probably a dumb question but I just purchased and Old Town 147 and I was wondering if I want the fat guy (250 lbs) or the skinny guy (140 lbs) in the front of the boat.

Ideally a level boat
is best.

The 140 lb guy in front is the next best option.

The 250 lb guy in the front will guarantee that the 140 lb guy trying to steer will never paddle a canoe again, because it will stagger all over the water.

You can level the boat out some by giving the 140 lb end some more weight (maybe 50 lbs or lunch or a dog) or moving the 250 lb guy closer to the center. Do not give the 250 lb guy the lunch.

skinny guy
Thanks, I’ll tring eating at more all-you-can-eat resturants for dinner.

weight distribution
If the big guy wants to paddle bow, move the front seat back. If he wants to paddle from the stern, move the back seat forward. To find the right position for the seats you could experiment on calm water with a couple of boards and C clamps.Take out the seat that you contemplatew moving. Clamp the board across the gunnels in the proposed new location. Both of you then get in the boat and see how it levels out. Adjust the seat location until the boat floats level. (The board will be clamped high (at gunnel height)so the boat will be tippy during this test stage. Once the correct location is determined, remount the seat using the orininal spacers or brackets. You’ll probably have to buy a new seat because the old seat will most likely be too short to fit in the new position.

An alternative would be to install an adjustable bow seat. This will give you more flexibility with regard to paddling partners.

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe Works

In a short boat like that, I might move
the front seat forward, so the smaller guy would balance the big guy in the stern better. It’s an alternative.

Or, make the small guy bigger…
This being the holidays, your smaller person could ALREADY be bigger! If the skinny guy has failed to pack it on, go and buy yourself a strong 30-40 liter dry bag. These are usually used to keep things in them dry; however, you are going to use it to keep your canoe level (and dry, too). Fill the bag 2/3rds of the way w/water (do this at the put-in, not at home!) close it up really well and then place it as far forward in your canoe as possible. Under the bow paddler’s seat is ideal. My wife weighs almost 100 lbs less than I and we have used this technique (using a 40 liter bag) for many years to level out our various canoes. Great luck and good paddling!