|Here are a couple pictures taken three years after launching, and
with lots and lots of good hard use. Everything I put into it seems to
have worked more or less perfectly from the very start, which just goes to
show it's better to be lucky than good sometimes.....
But mostly what I wanted to say here is that I have learned a little
about canoes, and can now say there are lots of options when it comes to the
seating arrangement. I selected a racing canoe set up, with its sliding-seat-on-a-pedestal and foot brace, and am delighted with it.
The pedestal-mounted seat has proven to be a very comfortable affair in
every regard. It's not a bad little chair/stool to perch on any old time, and
it offers instant access to the kneel position so I can swap between seated
and kneeling quite easily. Which brings up the three positions I routinely use in this boat:
Standing up; unbeatable for fishing, birding, sightseeing,
Sit-and-switch; with feet planted on the brace and a solid full
body forward stroke, it's the way to go for covering goodly distances,
dealing with stout headwinds, going upcurrent, etc.
Kneeling; it's a always
good idea to hit your knees when encountering waves or rapids, not so you
can say your final prayers, but for increased connection to the boat for greatly
improved stability and control.
Kneeling also makes fly casting pretty much as natural and easy as when
Switching between these positions is also very helpful for keeping
comfortable, and preventing muscle groups from going
numb during long days in the boat. It's just one of the many luxuries
canoes offer, that you don't get in kayaks.
The foot brace is not only just the thing for transferring effort from
paddle to hull, it's also great for hooking your toes under to get a positive connection
for leaning. Also extremely handy for hooking toes under so you can lay
all the way back without using your hands, to get under low obstacles like
foliage, low bridges, etc.; a feature I use fairly often, and always
I'm finding lots to love in my Merlin!