Rudder rigged 'backwards' from 'factory' ??

Discussion in 'Boat and Accessory Building' started by JohnAbercrombie, Nov 24, 2017.

  1. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    A friend recently bought a brand new kayak, which has a rudder. From a well-known Canadian company....

    When we were looking at it on the beach yesterday, it seemed to me that it was installed improperly.
    (Unfortunately, I don't have pictures or many specific details for you - yet...more to follow..)
    The rudder didn't have much in the way of brand labels, but it looked to me like a Smart Track - type rudder. It had a coil spring trapped in the blade, a molded knob on one side of the 'axle' and a locking pin on the other.

    It is rigged so that the single line to the jam cleat is a 'downhaul' - it pulls the rudder down into the water. The spring flips the rudder out of the water and up on to the deck when the control line is released from the jam cleat.

    This means that the rudder has no 'kick up' capability (aside from stretching or breaking the control line).
    Questions:
    Isn't this 'backwards?
    Do any of the Smart Track rudders flip 270 degrees to lay parallel to the deck?

    I'll have more details next week when the owner is back in town, and I can have another look at the kayak.

    I'm not a rudder expert; my Panthera has a SmartTrack 'Race' rudder which doesn't lay down on the deck when retracted.

    Help! :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2017
  2. AM

    AM Paddler

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    John, I removed the SmartTrack rudder from my Tahe Wind a couple of years ago, so I'm going on memory here, but I recall that the spring deploys the rudder and the haul line retracts it from the water (to a vertical position). In this configuration, it will indeed kick up when it strikes an object. The problem was that the spring didn't ever have enough coiled energy to deploy the rudder completely (ie: 90 degrees into the water).

    I know that some SmartTracks systems do have 270 degree range of motion (lying flat on the deck when retracted). I don't know how spring deployment would hold up over the long term with that sort of arc.

    Cheers,
    Andrew
     
  3. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    EDIT: Rudder is a SmartTrack Hybrid Foil
     
  4. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Thanks, Andrew.
    Most of the Smart Track rudders I've seen have a method of adjusting the spring tension. After pulling the locking pin, the knob/axle can be partially retracted and then turned to give more/less spring tension - two short bosses on the knob engage holes in the aluminum rudder housing to keep the knob from rotating when it's fully inserted with the locking pin in place.
     
  5. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Here's some info on the Smart Track Hybrid installed on a P&H kayak:
    http://www.phseakayaks.com/skegRudder.php
    The description indicates that the cord is a downhaul with the spring retracting the rudder on to the deck.
    A stainless steel spring holds the rudder up on the deck when not in use, to deploy simply pull the cord to flip the blade into the water.

    This seems to me like a poor way of rigging a rudder, since we are always running into kelp and sticks where a spring-loaded 'kickup' is best. Also, with the line holding the blade in the water, forgetting to retract the rudder would result in damage when landing. In addition, if the line breaks, I'd rather have the blade in the water (so I could steer), vs the 'auto-retract' system described.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2017
  6. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    I've emailed SmartTrack.
    Hopefully they will reply with some clarification!
    I'll keep y'all informed. :)
     
  7. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    I found these comments at the MEC website - they used to sell the Hybrid Foil......

    huwon9

    · 9 years ago

    it seems to work backwards

    I bought the Venture rudder as inexpensive steering for an old wooden kayak.

    The Venture rudder is based on the SmartTrack Control System. The rudder blade incorporates a spring that deploys the blade automatically. If the blade hits a fixed object, the spring allows the blade to deflect upwards then return to full duty. Varying the spring tension controls the amount of deflection.

    However, in real use, the spring seems to be mounted backwards because the blade is always in the up position. The only way the blade can be deployed is to lash the up-haul line tightly to a cleat but that means the blade can no longer deflect and will be ruined when it hits a fixed object. Since the spring can only be mounted in one direction, the design seems self-defeating.

    I did not want to jump to conclusions and there is every possibility I am nuts, so I asked Patrick, the designer of ONNO paddles and rudders, if he had any experience with the Venture rudder (Venture is part of the P&H line of kayaks). He replied the Venture reminded him of the SeaLine SmartTrack rudder design and when he tested the SeaLine, he thought the spring was backwards.

    I dunno. I think the spring is backwards in the Venture rudder. If anyone has gotten the Venture rudder to work properly, please correct me.

    yakadoozer

    · 7 years ago

    works good with mods

    I have used the Hybrid Foil Rudder on a modified Paluski Spirit for 2 years now. It steers excellent on this boat since it reaches about 7" below the hull. I have it set up so that when its tied off it is in the down position, and loose is in the up out of water position. To tie it off I use a spring at the end, this way if i go over an obstruction it can ride up and over without damage. It has worked very well and I have had no issues with construction. I have included 2 pictures showing the spring end tie off. Cheers

    Answers to Rudder Complaints

    Hi All,

    Sorry to hear that the two of you had trouble with the foil rudder. Here are some thoughts:

    The Venture rudder is indeed a SmartTrack foil rudder and is provided as spec'ed by SmartTrack. I contacted the company to ask them about the spring alignment and they assured me that the rudder is intended to spring into the up position. The rope is intended to act as a downhaul.

    That being said, if you want the rudder to spring into the down position with with a rope uphaul, all that you need to do is reverse the spring in the rudder housing assembly. This is easy to do and works great.

    I hope this helps,

    Brian P&H/Pyranha US
     
  8. AM

    AM Paddler

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    Yes, that is how they work in theory. In practice, twisting the knob and seating it in the back in the housing can be a PITA, and even then your mileage might vary in terms of results. The force is non-linear, so it runs out of juice towards the end of the swing.
     
  9. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Yes- as the tension on the spring increases, the 'bar' part of the spring that fits into a slot in the plastic axle doesn't slide easily at all, and it's hard to get the knob and axle seated properly.
     
  10. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    I started another discussion about this rudder at kayakforum.com, and there have been some interesting replies over there as well.
     
  11. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Here's a pic of the spring in the 'standard' Smart Track foil. The recess for the spring is asymmetric, so flipping the spring would require some machining to expand the recess.
    mini-DSCN5610.JPG


    mini-DSCN5615.JPG
     
  12. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Here's what the Smart Track Hybrid Foil rudder looks like on a P&H kayak:
    smart rudder_down.jpg


    smart rudder_up.jpg

    Notice the taut 'downhaul' control line when the rudder is down.
     
  13. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Here's a more typical Smart Track (a Race in this case) in the down position. Notice the slack control line, which is used to retract the rudder.

    race down.JPG
     
  14. Mac50L

    Mac50L Paddler

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    I was making that style (vertical stow) back in the mid 1980s though the blade was held down by a bungy tensioner. Gave up and used a decent design by one of our paddlers. The style (90 degree stow on to deck) that KajakSport (a decade) and Sea-Lect copied two decades after we'd been manufacturing them

    One wonders if these things are designed by people who never get in a kayak.
     
  15. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Did 'yours' have kick-up capability?
    I'm not sure but it doesn't seem that the KajakSport or Sea-Lect will kick up - I need some informed advice about that.
     
  16. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    From the link
    https://sites.google.com/site/kayakamf/kayakrudders
    it sounds like thoseDon Currie rudders aren't being made any more?
     
  17. Mac50L

    Mac50L Paddler

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    Of course mine kicked-up. Who would design a rudder without kick-up ability. That would be an absolutely stupid thing to do.

    In production? No though I do sometimes make one for someone who asks.
     
  18. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    Here’s a fairly good explanation of the Hybridfoil install process. Omit the footpegs used:



    It quite plainly shows that the blade gets fixed in the down position.
    Hybridfoil-side.jpg

    My guess however, if the spring can retract the blade upwards, with a little fairlead helping route a retracting line over the top of the rudder, I wonder if reversing the spring would put it in less tension than for the spring-retract. It seems logical to me that more work is required to lift and retract versus that of deploying the rudder downward – however the initial spring-lift off the deck might be determining factor . . . The odd asymm shaping does not seem for either orientation and just might be ok left as is so as to make the test easy.
    hsg5.jpg

    It sure doesn’t look as if you would do any harm to set up a quick test – and then make a more definitive line routing fairlead situation if it does actually work. Really, if that's the case, what’s to lose?

    and edited to add: I agree with Mac5oL - this is a ridiculous rudder as presented. I wonder - as the usual SmartTrack rudders and pegs are so overly detailed designed - if the value engineering department decided to choose a cheap spring that subsequently required the rudder to be retract/deployed backward from an original intention of a more normal kickup/spring deploy. For instance even though the details are OCD, there is some design integrity there that possibly was shortcircuited in the financial office: it just seems very odd.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
  19. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Thanks, Mick.
    In my friend's boat (Seaward Guide 17) the deploy line is chafing as it is led differently. The chafing was the reason he asked me about the rudder, once I looked at it it just seemed stranger and stranger.

    Absolutely; I'll see what the owner thinks once he's back in town.
    My guess is that it was a desire to meet the market demand that a rudder for 'sometimes' use should stow parallel to the deck. None (as far as I know) of the other Smart Track rudders will do this- they either rotate up enough to clear the water- like the SmartTrack Race - or swing 180º to stow vertically.
    I think the idea of the rudder on the Seaward Guide 17 was to have the rudder available for touring, and use the boat with the rudder 'up' for day paddling and playing. IMO, a different rudder (like the KS or SeaLect) might have met the requirements better.

    It's bad enough that you can't back up in a rudder boat if you are in kelp, but crazy when you can't go forward either! :)
     
  20. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    I forgot to mention:
    If you have to keep with the original setup with line deployment, it makes sense to use a flexible line that just overcomes the spring tension so that there is an pseudo approx. balance. Maybe it's a 1/4 inch bungie, maybe 5/16.

    That way you can deploy by overpowering the spring, but have all the kickback a serious hit might need.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017