Submitted: 09-12-2012 by BConklin
I picked up a kevlar Independence second hand. When I took it out for the first time I realized pretty quickly that the factory position for the seat was all wrong for me. I paddle Canadian style in larger, slow moving rivers or ponds and lakes. But with this canoe I had a great deal of difficulty with tracking and turning the canoe. The seat was also quite uncomfortable as a kneeling brace and when I sat on it upright, the canoe felt very tender.
My solution was to remove the seat, fit a thwart using the holes for the leading edge of the old seat, then rig a leather sling seat a few inches forward of the rear thwart. To keep it from pulling the gunwales inwards I fitted hardwood rails between the thwarts on either side and hung the sling seat from those rails.
I don't think the boat gained any significant weight but it's a whole different canoe now. Paddled heeled over to starboard, it tracks very well and steers very easily now and even without added ballast in the bow the canoe points up into the breeze very nicely and handles very well on all points of wind. It seems very predictable and I feel very comfortable in it. With more breeze I can move the seat forward on the rails to compensate some...but at winds of over 15 mph I think I'll need some ballast in the bow. I was out in gusts up to 25mph and I did struggle some with the bow getting blown about - but hey - I'm 6' 215lbs and my weight is less than a foot forward of the rear thwart. It doesn't sound right....but it FEELS right and the boat paddles beautifully that way - at least for me.