Rudder pedals

Discussion in 'Boat and Accessory Building' started by JohnAbercrombie, Apr 28, 2019.

  1. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    In the thread:
    http://westcoastpaddler.com/community/threads/dagger-seeker-rudder.8442/
    there's been some discussion about rudder pedals.

    A few years ago there was a discussion about rudders and rudder pedals here:
    http://westcoastpaddler.com/community/threads/lets-talk-rudders.1862/

    I think it would be helpful to collect some pictures and ideas about rudder pedals (only, not rudder designs, rudder flip-up, etc..) for sea kayaks in a separate thread.

    A lot of my friends use rudder boats for trips, and have started to think about replacements for sliding pedals.
    The commercial 'gas pedal' replacement from SeaLect is once choice, but it can be difficult getting the height correct, and they don't allow driving (pushing) off ones heels.
    sealect rudder pedals.JPG

    sealect rudder pedals detail.JPG

    Sea Lect Video:


    There's a good discussion about the SeaLects along with problems and solutions at:
    https://www.duckworks.com/product-p/k7472x0-parent.htm
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
  2. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Another commercial pedal is the Smart Track Performance Toe Pilot:
    Smart track toe pilot pedals.JPG
    Smart track toe pilot pedals detail.JPG
     
  3. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    A well-tested DIY system has been developed in New Zealand by Sandy Ferguson(Mac50L, a WCP member):
    https://canterburyseakayak.wordpress.com/rudder-pedals/
    Construction details:
    https://canterburyseakayak.files.wordpress.com/2019/04/rudderpedals40v2.pdf
    NZ pedals DIY.JPG

    NZ pedals DIY photo.JPG

    These have a flat one piece full-size pedal and allow driving off ones heels.
    The pedals are also large, so you can move your feet while paddling (and put your knees in the center of the boat, with your legs straight) if you want, and there is no chance of your feet 'slipping off' the pedals.

    The center-line fore-aft attachment can be secured to the seat.
     
  4. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Surfskis use fixed bottom footplates with hinged top sections, and the same idea can be used for sea-kayak pedals.
    surfski stellar pedals.JPG
    surfski huki pedals.JPG
    surfski flow pedals.JPG
     
  5. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Side rails are more secure than a mid-line rail- there's a lot of alternating force when using leg drive.
    I had a DIY center rail footplate (Nick shade design) in my first sea kayak, and the clicking noise and slight movement got on my nerves.
    The problem that arises for adjustable pedals if using side rails and a solid cross-bar assembly is caused by the widening of the hull as the pedals are moved aft.

    There are several solutions:
    -make the side rails parallel by tapering the rails or adjusting the supports with shims
    - make the attachment to the footplate assembly adjustable or sliding
    -attach the footplate to rigid 'straps' (plate bars) that are secured aft to the hull
    A nice solution with tapered side rails was posted on Bjorn Thomasson's website:
    https://www.thomassondesign.com/en/news/njord-in-new-zealand
    njord in NZ rudder pedals.jpg

    This design has a central rail , too- which addresses the 'twisting footplate' problem when the heels push on the lower plate.

    Notice the elegant fore-aft adjustment with one cap screw sliding in a slot, with a second fastener engaging holes in the rail.

    The problem with all tapered rail systems is also visible - the feet/toes can't move all the way to the hull. This can be a problem in boats with restricted foot space.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
  6. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Here's another tapered rail system:
    My filename is 'Mirage footrest', but I've lost the link to the source.
    MirageFootrest.jpg
     
  7. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Here's an installation with Stellar foot pedals:
    stellar.jpg
     
  8. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Adjusting the footplate width to allow fore-aft adjustment.

    Here's an example from Expedition Kayaks (Australia) - the BigFoot footplate.
    BigFoot kayak foot pedals rudder.jpg Expedition Kayaks BigFoot plate .jpg Expedition Kayaks BigFoot plate back .jpg

    Note: the same company also sells this design without the movable pedals for use in skeg boats.
     
  9. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Using solid 'straps' to secure the footplate-
    Here's an example from Flow:
    flow pedals.jpg
    Details at:
    http://www.flowkayaks.co.nz/accessories/kayak-footrest/


    And my imitation of the same design:
    rudder footboard.JPG
    rudder footboard adjust.JPG

    After I had used this footplate for a while, I realized that it was a mistake to allow the bottom of the footplate to rest on the hull. The small movement of the (glassed plywood) footplate rubbed on the inside of the hull and wore the glass. Luckily it's a wood-core boat (Panthera), so no serious damage was done. I've added more glass to that area (with silica in the epoxy) and also added a split plastic tube to the bottom of the footplate.
    A better solution might have been two securing bolts on each side (to 'hang' the footplate), which might/must (?) be the system used in the Flow kayaks.

    I adjust the rudder lines by re-tying the lines if I need to move the footplate. I had a system like the surfskis use with the line passing through the pedal to a forward attachment point (similar to Mac50L's system) but I didn't like it- difficult to adjust. It's easy in a surfski where the footplate is in the open, not so when it is buried in the hull.
     
  10. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    What a wonderful portrayal of the many footpeg/plate systems out there! Thanks so much.
    And in the interest of completeness, here are the old slider rudder pedals that all the criticism has been about [Nimbus Telkwa HV]:

    Sliders.jpg

    **
    I must admit that I hate the then shelf-angle type horizontal rail support attachment system as they intrude so much into the precious interior space as well as allow a neoprene boot or 'little toe-slicing' hazard. My preference is also for systems that allow open space between the footplates/pegs to allow a little forward gear stowing as well as leg stretching.

    I wonder if the Flow footpegs approach with flexible side rails could be adapted to the old aluminum yakima siderails into a more readily adjustable approach. Maybe even the Sealect approach could be adapted.
     
  11. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Here's the '91 Necky Tesla slider setup - aluminum slider bar with plastic 'Keepers' footpegs attached.

    tesla sliders.JPG

    This pic was taken before the bulkhead (which had shrunk) was removed and replaced.
     
  12. Mac50L

    Mac50L Paddler

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    Very well done John.

    A note, hold your leg up and bend your foot back and forth. See how the heel comes back as the toes go forward? Hence my hinges for the full-foot-pedals are level with the ankle, not the back of the heel.

    The pedals, if you really want to be picky could have a "back of the heel" holder to keep them off the bottom of the kayak.

    The auto-adjust rudder line system was shown by Don Currie in 1992 to NZ kayakers. He thought the idea might date back to WWI aircraft rudder pedals.

    Auto-adjusting rudder lines - like many things there is one small critical item.

    The line must go round the hinge pin or in line with it. The line length from the forward fastened point of the rudder line (bulkhead or support bar), to the hinge pin, to top of the pedal, does not change as the pedal is moved for steering.

    If the pedal unit is moved to suit leg length, the line slides round the hinge pin point and through the top of the pedal hole. Hence the line is NOT fastened to the top of the pedal but free to move through the hole if the pedal's position is changed.
     
  13. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    I understand the idea. I've tried it and it works pretty well in a surfski, but wasn't convenient in my decked kayak.
    Reportedly, it works well for other people! :)
    A couple of points:
    -With a 'one piece' solid pedal it may work better . With a hinged-top pedal, it's useful to be able to change the angle between the fixed and movable parts of the pedal, and I found that difficult to do with the sliding line. With a surfski, it's a simple matter of leaning over and arranging the line and pedal. In a kayak there's little room to work, and it's inconvenient.

    The whole issue of adjustability needs thought. I usually wear the same type of footwear in my rudder boat, and I am the only user, so easy adjustment of the pedal distance isn't very important for me. It's the same with the fixed bulkheads in some of my (non-rudder) boats. I have a few layers of foam for 'fine-tuning', but they don't get changed very often.
    If you share a boat or paddle in bare feet and big boots depending on the season, or if it's a demo boat, it would be different.

    Without that 12" or so of adjustment, some of the angle rail systems (Mirage, BigFoot, etc) could be more low-profile.
     
  14. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    it's useful to be able to change the angle between the fixed and movable parts of the pedal, and I found that difficult to do with the sliding line

    If there's a means to shorten or lengthen the cable a tiny bit up near the ckpt sides [say betw hip and knee] that'd allow adjustment on the fly. The slider I showed above seems to allow this by using a webbing insert in the system that can be adjusted, so that could be a possible.

    **

    for the auto-adjust, here's a diagram I drew some time ago illustrating the concept :

    AutoAdjustFootPeg1.jpg
     
  15. Mac50L

    Mac50L Paddler

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    Adjusting rudder-line length -

    On my most regularly used kayak, just aft of the pedal position webbing clamp is another one which clamps the rudder lines. This means the rudder-lines go to the fore end of the centre bar/tube and come back / loop back, to the line-adjustment clamp. that clamp basically just in front of the seat. It would be near impossible to make it easier to get at unless you wanted / put that adjuster on deck.

    As for the pedal position adjustment, also just in front of the seat and simply putting your hand between your legs, couldn't be easier.

    All adjustment can be done while sitting upright in the seat. Any other kayaks anyone paddles have that convenience, have it that easy?
     
  16. JKA

    JKA Paddler

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    Hi John et al,

    I think rudder pedals that slide to enable direction changes are the work of the Devil, and any kayak fitted with them probably needs an exorcism! Or burnt.
    Pedals-Nordkapp.jpg Pedals-Opus.jpg

    Here's a couple of my efforts, both fixed-position rudder pedals.

    The top one is in a Nordkapp and uses a fibreglass chassis to mount full gas-pedal type plates. The centre frame holds a small pump. This is a major build and took a lot of work. It's actually too strong and heavy.

    The one below that is in an Opus, a light-weight multisport kayak, which was fitted with standard adjustable pedals with toe-operated controls. I had fitted a longer rudder blade and installed foam bulkheads and hatches, to use it on the sea for training, when I decided I wanted a plate-style footrest to give me heel support for bracing while paddling hard.

    I quickly cut a thin sheet of marine ply and screwed it to the foot pedals, with shaped wedges to angle the bottom back towards the seat. I added ply to the toe parts to bring them to the same level, glued on some closed-cell foam, and called it a temporary job! Ten years later it's still in use, unchanged.

    I am a strong advocate of heel support to relieve tension in the back of the legs, the butt, and the lower back. Pushing the toes onto standard 'post-style' pedals means the body's posterior chain is engaged in maintaining posture, rather than being used to generate power.

    I will be building a system similar to the Nordkapp's model, but adjustable for different paddlers. It will be going in a plastic shell I have and it will be a bit of a design challenge to make it easy to move, while still being strong.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2019
  17. AM

    AM Paddler

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    Your second design, like John's purple-yoga-mat job, is exactly what I would want. That large padded area is key for comfort over long paddles.
     
  18. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Update: A friend had me order a set of BigFoot Pedals from Australia.
    I'm going to install them in his Telkwa.
    The shipping was extremely fast - I ordered the BigFoots on Sunday and they came to my door here in Victoria (BC) on Wednesday afternoon.
    The install looks quite straightforward; I'll probably report here if there are any interesting details.
     
  19. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Pedals went in without any problems. The rails have two mounting holes but I didn't use them (spacing was wrong for existing Telkwa holes). It was a simple job to new drill holes in the aluminum rails. The movable top pedals are touching an under-deck neoprene 'shelf' in the Telkwa- still usable, but I'll recommend to the owner that he remove or alter the shelf.
    To move the pedals (to suit different leg length or major footwear changes) involves two wingnuts at the bolts which attach to the side rails, and loosening/tightening 4 philips machine screws which secure the footbar. It would be possible to adjust the footbar machine screws to 'just tight enough' to allow some side-to-side movement (to allow for the hull taper) but in practice I think it will prove to be better if the attachments are tight. There are nylock nuts on the back of the machine screws for additional security.
    Expedition Kayaks BigFoot plate marked .jpg
    The stock picture shows the installation in a fairly narrow boat. In the Telkwa, the side 'arms' are extended quite a bit further - almost to the end of the adjustment range, when adjusted for a 5'9" or 5'10" paddler. For a shorter paddler or a wider boat (than Telkwa) it would be a good idea to contact Expedition Kayaks about the width adjustment range.

    The webbing adjusting straps have sewn loops on the ends. If you are installing new rudder cables ,it will be easy to loop the wire through the webbing loop before swaging.
    It's possible to just loop the webbing through the cable loop, but not so neat.
    Or you could use string line to connect the cable loop and the webbing loop.

    The webbing/buckle provided doesn't allow very easy adjustment- the webbing is a bit thick and needs to be 'fed through' the buckle, but it will not slip, so better than a more slippery alternative, I suppose.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019