Seat height


WCHA 7403
Paddling my recently acquired 1940 OT Yankee, I feel like I'm riding high, both literally and emotionally. Both the bow and stern seats are mounted almost directly under the inwale, except for small spacers to compensate for rising sheer height. Still very new to the wood/canvas world, I'm used to seats that are mounted lower. Reviewing photos of other Yankees, I see that most seats are mounted in this high fashion, with only a few dropped down a couple inches. Was there a standard height or drop-down for Old Town, or is it just a matter of personal preference and fit? If the seats are dropped down, is there a traditional standard? I've seen mostly wooden dowel spacers, but also like the single-piece "bridge-like" seat drops.
Stu from Stillwater
You didn't give the length but if it is a 16 or longer, using either the stern or bow seat would be "high" for a solo paddle - then again, you didn't specicially say solo either.
If solo, you will want to move forward of the stern seat. If not solo, what is the weight of you and the other paddler? How does the height seem with 2 paddlers and 100 pounds of gear?
Your seat heights sound fairly typical for Old Town canoes, the stern seat is usually tight up against the gunwales forward, and the spacers are sized so the seat sits level. In general the stern seat is higher than the bow seat to improve the stern paddler's line of sight.

There is no rule that says you can't change the seat heights. There is a limit to how far you can drop them and still fit your feet under the seat while kneeling. If you want to drop them and need longer bolts, you can get diamond head bolts from Old Town still. I've only seen dowels used as seat drops in Old Town canoes, but you can do anything you want. Some folks even like angling the seat, especially if they are kneelers. Feel free to experiment - it is something that is easily reversible if you don't like the changes.

If you think you'll be doing a lot of solo paddling, consider getting one of Tom Seavey's Saddle Seats. It is extremely adjustable, and mounted just aft of center in the canoe makes for a great paddling experience.
Hey, thanks for the comments. By the way, it's a 16-ft, and I might get some longer bolts and do some experimenting. I expect most paddling will be tandem, but like to solo also. I did try it solo and it wasn't too bad just sitting on the bowseat, although then the gunwale-height seat was an advantage since the thwart was right there too.
I haven't paddled this one with a pack of gear yet.... so far just getting acquainted.
I like to set the seat heights so that the top of the frame is about 11" above the floor height. Comfortable to sit on and get your feet under, and out again.
Sturt said:
Was there a standard height or drop-down for Old Town,

The standard drop down for all of the four Old Town canoes currently in my garage is 0.75 inches at the rear of the stern seat. The bow seats are usually dropped 2.25 inches down at both the front and rear or occasionally bolted directly under the gunwales. Wooden dowel spacers are used in all cases where the seat has been dropped. My Yankee model from 1936 and Charles River model from 1907 each have a dropped bow seat. This is really a personal decision so use what feels best for you.