Wenonah Prism adjustable seat. What should i do with it?

hi, i am new to canoeing other then the occasional beer drinking alum canoe fall in the river 3 mile trip,then go home.

I recently decided that canoeing may be another form of exercise I could use for my weight loss goals. I have a small lake close to me, and a couple shallow ohio rivers. I bought an Old Town camper for the river, then decided my wife cannot paddle,so I bought a Graphite Prism. Wiggly thing it is,but getting better. I now wear straps on my glasses from bathing in the lake more often. I am also in process of buying the wife a solo something. Sigh, it should be noted that even though my wife cannot paddle well in the tandem(according to me), she is perfectly stable in the prism,not wiggly like me. I have determined this is because she is shorter and lighter. She liked paddling the camper solo.

Well, the Prism has that tractor seat that goes back and forth. I can’t decide what I should do with it. It does not seem to matter where the seat is, and I am sure that is because my skill level is too low to know the difference. I weigh 265 and am 5’10’’. Where should I put that seat and what is it going to do for me? I plan on making hard laps around the small lake for exercise using a kayak paddle.

I called Wenonah to ask. The tech person they transferred me to,told me they ship it with the seat forward. Seriously, that is what she said, followed by a long silence while I waited on her to continue,but she did not. I told her thanks.

The height of the seat plus being on the bigger side makes the boat feel uneasy at first but with more seat time it won’t be so bad. I’m bigger then you and have a wenonah encounter. To get your boat in trim have your wife watch from a dock with you on the water. Move the seat until the boat is level. Equipment will also affect trim so have that inside the boat as well when making adjustments.

The sliding seat is there to allow you to adjust the trim of the boat. Most of the time, a neutrally-trimmed boat will allow a maximal degree of control. Neutral trim means your body’s center of gravity is aligned with the center of buoyancy of the boat.

Having an observer check your trim as suggested is a good idea. But it can be hard even for one with a trained eye to determine whether the boat is trimmed. Part of the reason is that the sheer line of the canoe is quite asymmetrical. The bow height is greater than the stern height. One way to make it easier to judge neutral trim is to get some strips of 2" wide tape. Float the empty boat in water and carefully place a piece of tape near the bow and near the stern so that the lower edge of the tape is at the water line. Get in the boat and the tape will make it relatively easy for an observer to judge the trim.

A sliding seat also allows you to adjust trim for different loads. If you have gear in front of or behind your body, you may need to move the seat. There are times when you don’t want neutral trim. If you are paddling into the wind you may want to move the seat forward so that the rear of the canoe is relatively lighter (drawing less water) and somewhat higher off the water. This will make the stern like the tail of a weather vane, preventing the canoe from lee cocking (turning down wind). Conversely, when paddling against the wind, you might move the seat back to prevent the tendency to weather cock (turn into the wind).

A higher center of gravity can make a big difference in one’s perception of stability. With a waterline width of less than 30", the Prism is going to give you less sensation of primary stability than a Camper. You will need to develop a sense of balance to allow the canoe to heel under you without stiffening up your upper body, sort of like riding a horse. But as solo canoes go, the Prism is fairly forgiving and I suspect with a bit more time in the boat, you will come to feel comfortable in it.

Great!, thanks, i have tape and will do that. I did not think about matching what it does while empty. So i need to lean it to turn sharply?

The Prism is a pretty hard tracking canoe so don’t expect it to turn quickly. Try heeling the boat away from the side you want to turn towards. Most boats of this type will want to turn away from the side they are heeled towards. When you heel the canoe, stay loose in the hips and try to keep your upper body plumb to the vertical while your hips tilt the boat. If you can keep your head centered vertically between the gunwales as the boat heels, you will probably remain upright.

If you feel unstable heeling the boat, there are some easy modifications you might make. If your boat does not have one, you can add a foot brace to brace your feet against. If you have a foot brace, you might try some foam “knee bumpers”. These are simply pads glued to the sides of the hull, just below the gunwales that you can use to brace your knees against.

With three point stability provided by your feet, your knees braced against the sides of the hull, and your rear end on the seat you will have a greater degree of stability.

So you lean the canoe “out” of the corner instead of into it? That may be my problem.

Heeling the canoe in either direction will shorten its water line length and increase rocker, because you are heeling it onto the greater curvature of the side. But straight keeled boats with sharp stems will often tend to turn away from the side they are heeled towards.

Experiment by getting the canoe going as straight as possible, then lift your paddle cleanly out of the water and heel the boat. See what it wants to do.

@wick said:
So you lean the canoe “out” of the corner instead of into it? That may be my problem.

In general - yes - on flat water, especially with a straight tracking hull. The keel line will then curve in the direction that your are turning. Edging in can work as well as you are still usually reducing the tendency of the ends to resist turning. When turning across a current differential such as making an eddy turn most of us will lean in so as to present the bottom of the hull to the current If most of us come into an eddy with an offside edge we will get the opportunity to cool off and rinse out the boat.

Pblanc, i will do that test to see how it turns when i heel it. I imagine i will get wet. So far i cannot lean too much without falling out.

Rival51, if i understand, i may be able to lean out in flat water, but better be leaning in on more lively water, putting he bottom of canoe as my shield to the eddy. I think,

I bet that graphite only sees flat water. I am thinking obout a royalex solo for the river/rocks

Your boat will turn away from the direction heel. Try kneeling for more stability and control when heeling the hull. The term “lean” is a bit misleading as you don’t want to lean from the waist up…use only your lower body to heel the hull to one side or the other. As a simple drill, hold your head completely still and maintain it in the same position while you rock the hull from side to side using your hips. When comfortable, try holding the heel for a few seconds on each side.

I had a Wenonah sliding seat many moons ago and was able to kneel with it…albeit not with the comfort of a bench type seat. Kneeling will almost always help with your feeling “tippy”.

I tried kneeling in the prism. Lol,It isn’t going to happen. The bucket seat and the fact that i don’t bend too well eliminated that quickly. I can kneel with the bench seat in the camper and slick floor for a short time, but need foam pad.

You may be able to use ping-pong or other balls to measure the trim of your canoe.

Toss in some balls when the canoe is empty on still water to determine the center and mark it with a Sharpie. Then do the same while you’re sitting on the seat and adjust until the balls collect in the center.

@melenas said:
You may be able to use ping-pong or other balls to measure the trim of your canoe.

Toss in some balls when the canoe is empty on still water to determine the center and mark it with a Sharpie. Then do the same while you’re sitting on the seat and adjust until the balls collect in the center.

That’s a really clever idea. Noting where a puddle of water ends up along the length of the boat works too. One thing to watch out for though is how the bottom of some canoes (Royalex boats as one example) will flex upward once you put your weight onboard. My old Wenonah Vagabond would sit empty with a little bit of bilge water ponded in the center, and when I got in, that puddle would split, some going forward and some going backward (unless I were to put all my weight on the center of the floor - and no one paddles that way). The bottom would flex up so far that you’d need close to an inch of water in the boat for the front and rear puddles not to be separated by the hump in the middle of the floor. The ancient Mad River Eclipse that I often paddle tandem does this too, but much worse.

Here’s a video on basic eddy turns. You can see what Paul Mason is calling ‘tilt’:

Pblanc gave excellent advice. many methods to balance the boat. Another way is to move the seat forward, and see how the boat handles. It will plow to one side or the other. Keep moving the seat back in small increments and notice how the plowing is reduced. when you get to a point where the hull darts to one side or another, you are too far back. In a tight solo boat it is critical to have knee/thigh contact and a footbrace. Try wenonah for a foot brace that slides in upon itself and take a couple of rivets to install. I have lowered the seat height in most of my solo boats to gain significant stability where I feel safe during midwinter paddles among the ice flows. Half an inch can make a huge difference… Not familiar with your model boat but I have had wenonah make an aluminum seat frame to my dimensions and installed that to replace whatever seat came in the canoe. Seat height is critical for stability. Of course if you use the boat constantly, you will eventually feel stable and confident. The higher seat height is a better position for racing. Don’t know why so many manufacturers place the seat as high as they do. Get some hard foam as used to pack electronic equipment and use contact cement to glue to the sides so your knees can brace against them… if your boat is narrow enough. That is also critical to stability and manuevering. Ignore the ads rating manuerverability, they can psyche you out and limit your expectations, locked into a straight hull and with experience, you’d be surprised what you can make it do.