Let's talk rudders

Pawistik

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So, in conclusion, if you didn't want to build your own system, which rudder & pedal combo would you install on a "rudder ready" PVC kayak?


Heh, heh, heh, :lol: Hope you liked my little joke there "in conclusion", as if kayak gear geeks of the likes we see here will ever conclude a discussion! Regardless, I am enjoying the non-concluded discussion. :)

(In related news, I'm giving up on fighting with the WS Focus 145 and installing a rudder - just not sure which one and I don't have time for DIY at the moment. viewtopic.php?f=3&t=7010 )

Cheers,
Bryan
 

Mac50L

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Pawistik said:
installing a rudder - just not sure which one and I don't have time for DIY at the moment.
If no time for DIY then aren't you are stuck with what ever a supplier will fit for you? Meaning, you need to say what is available at your nearest shop and that they are willing to fit.

Otherwise if you are going to do the installation yourself, it isn't going to take much longer to make a really good system, far better than you can buy and at a fraction of the cost. The only excuse I can see is that you don't have even the most basic tools available or the ability to design a very simple cheap rudder (none of those we have been talking about).

Looking at the link to a previous post about it, it looks like a dog of a boat, no rocker, very short and the recommended rudder pedals are the worst designed in the world (sliding pedals).
 

Pawistik

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Mac50L said:
If no time for DIY then aren't you are stuck with what ever a supplier will fit for you? Meaning, you need to say what is available at your nearest shop and that they are willing to fit.

Otherwise if you are going to do the installation yourself, it isn't going to take much longer to make a really good system, far better than you can buy and at a fraction of the cost. The only excuse I can see is that you don't have even the most basic tools available or the ability to design a very simple cheap rudder (none of those we have been talking about).

Looking at the link to a previous post about it, it looks like a dog of a boat, no rocker, very short and the recommended rudder pedals are the worst designed in the world (sliding pedals).
I don't think fitting a manufactured rudder kit to the stern of this "rudder ready" kayak is in the same ballpark as building a DIY system from scratch, even if that system is the superior system. I don't particularly care for the Wilderness Systems rudder with sliding footbraces for exactly the same reason that you don't. I am leaning toward the Sealect Designs system, at the moment. As always, cost is also a factor so that favours the DIY approach, I am just not convinced I can get it done by this summer (or better, early May when I will be using this kayak a couple of times a week for lessons).
 

mick_allen

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Stick on the 3' long 1"x1" skeg pc I suggested in the other thread and see if that settles everything down. Then glue a shaped one on with G-flex. Simple, but oh oh, not a rudder!


Mac50Lwrote:
a weak link somewhere is . . a good idea
The mounting bolts might be best.
But I agree, your welded Tstructure is stable and extra construction is redundant . . . but if it had been built any other way, the simple pin engagement modification would aid in stability. Did any of the commercial manufacturers you mentioned utilize the T-head?

**
So all these Slot Rudders: Lettman, Lightspeed, Venture, Islay, Pietsch, Thomasson, Fiberline [and probably more]. . . . And this group are all hunt and peck: the rudder design itself will not self-align the blade so that it will automatically align itself to the ‘slot’ upon retract or especially impact.

[venture] peck, peck, peck, ahh retract.

Venture-peckretract2.jpg


Some users employ an indirect method by having the rudder pedals either bungeed forward or made of stiff flexible material that always returns to centre when pressure is released, but your feet have to be off and the lines have to be balanced, firm and tight so that the rudder is stable and straight where you want it. But this system obviously is acceptable and workable enough for a big enough proportion of paddlers for them to be catered to by having this option.

The advantages of the ‘hunt and peck’ Slot Rudder are quite seductive:
- The first and most important is its inherent simplicity: it is no more complex than any other rudder plus a housing. The hardware essentially consists of that housing, a hinged blade, a rudder shaft, and a tiller plus the 3 or 4 lines to steer and retract it as any other rudder has. As the housing connects the hull to the deck, it is a contained system and no additional leak points exist.​
- They are hidden [mostly – some expose tillers] below the deck level so that cowboy mounts, towing, and line entanglements won’t happen.​
- Aesthetically they allow clean kayak lines​
- When retracted, damage possibilities are minimized.​
- When retracted, aerodynamic and hydrodynamic drag is minimized if not eliminated.​
- Aesthetically they don't require the back of sharp ended or narrow kayaks to be cut off vertically just to allow a transom mount​

And yet they all portray different characteristics: some have extremely tight slots [one even only 2mm wide – one heck of a lot of pecking there!], one with a massive depression. Some have narrow blades, some rounded, some long and narrow. Some have thin shafts, some wide. Some with tight post tolerances right to the bottom of the hull and some with large leeway around the rudderpost bottom.

Why all the variation? Is it irrelevant? Or put it this way – are some of them missing something or all of them in one way or another. Are there secrets missed? What are the disadvantages?
 
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Mac50L

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mickallen - Did any of the commercial manufacturers you mentioned utilize the T-head?
None that I know of in the form I use. They usually go for something complicated and expensive and often of weak construction. KajakSport design is not strong and always looked prone to having the blade holder pop out of the "hand" that holds it, especially as the plastic ages. The "hand" part has the vertical steering pin through it. Both parts are plastic.
 

Mac50L

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Pawistik said:
I don't think fitting a manufactured rudder kit to the stern of this "rudder ready" kayak....... I don't particularly care for the Wilderness Systems rudder with sliding footbraces for exactly the same reason that you don't.
All the commercial designs require drilling holes in the sides of the kayak to fit pedal rails. My system doesn't, there's a bar (bar, rod, tube or what ever) down the keelson line, held by something (block of foam?) at the fore end, bolted to the seat at the aft end to stop it being pushed forward by feet on the pedals. Also "one strap" pedal distance adjustment as the lines auto-adjust. Simple.
 

Pawistik

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I'll have another look at your system Mac via the links/diagrams provided. I do like making my own stuff, I just seem to be way behind in everything and have a couple of unfinished projects stalled out. In the meantime I'm waiting to see what Wilderness Systems has to say about this kayak and it's odd performance.
Cheers,
Bryan
 

Bluenose

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Here on the east coast rudders are rare. You'll find them on beginner boats, rental fleets, and rec boats, but as soon as someone gets serious about improving their skill the ruddered kayaks disappear.

I have to admit that my skill level improved when I ditched the rudder. Even if you tell yourself you'll only use it if necessary, it's still in your head that it's back there. I've found it interesting how certain geographic areas use specific groups of kayaks. Most paddlers in Nova Scotia use poly skeg boats. Glass kayaks and rudders are not that common.
 

Mac50L

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Here we have a windy country. Here we have someone here who has paddled vast distances and written about it and pointed out he was paddling a 10-20% greater distance per day with a rudder.

There is the argument that rudders aren't traditional, always by people paddling with fat blade, feathered, European style paddles.

Yes, I can paddle without a rudder and yes I use a traditional style Greenland paddle but I'd always have a rudder on my kayaks and definitely not North American style rudder and pedals.

Skill level? What type of skill? Paddling in a straight line or keeping a narrow K1 style hull upright in a lumpy sea? The latter is real skill.
 

Bluenose

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You win.

I was just pointing out that different parts of the world use different boats. My overall ability as a paddler improved after I sold my ruddered boat. I don't paddle in a straight line and I do paddle with a Greenland paddle. I surf, rock hop, run the largest tides in the world and play in tide races. Yes, my skill improved. I might even be able to keep a K1 upright in a big see without a rudder.
 

AM

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I hope we can keep this topic focused on rudder design. This has been an excellent and extremely informative thread, and I would hate to see it turn into another rudder vs skeg dead end.
 

mick_allen

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Yes, this is just a "rudder, this: rudder that" thread:

there are a million "rudder vs no rudder" threads out there and this is not one of them - it's just a very simple, simple rudder thread:

What's out there, what has been out there, what's interesting, what's new, what's trending, what should be, what shouldn't be, what could be better, etc, etc, etc.
Even skegs could be thrown in a bit, as much of the mechanism is similar to a rudder deploy mechanism in a slot rudder.

Like say our typical pinhead rudder, the type doesn't matter:

PinheadRudders.jpg


why is so much of the blade out of the water to just catch wind, whether deployed or retracted? Should that part of the blade be turned into the shaft like any other rudder? Wouldn't that reduce a lot of unnecessary windage? What is it doing out there? Are we just too lazy to care?
 
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JohnAbercrombie

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mick_allen said:
Should that part of the blade be turned into the shaft like any other rudder?
I don't recall ever seeing a transom-hung rudder on a sailboat- especially a dinghy- with a rounded 'shaft' (aka rudder stock).
I wonder how much difference in windage there really would be, with something that close to the water (and in any wind/waves, underwater for part of the time).
 

JohnAbercrombie

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mick_allen said:
Like say our typical pinhead rudder, the type doesn't matter:
I agree that the one pictured is particularly clumsy.
IMO,either mate a plumb rudder with a plumb stern on the boat, or angle the (redesigned) rudder to follow the stem (horn timber).
On a lot of kayaks, the rudder looks like an 'optional afterthought'.

Something like this looks much better to my eyes:
 

mick_allen

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like any other rudder?
sorry, I wasn't paying attention and was just thinking of the 'universal rudder' layout of tiller, shaft and blade.
Here's one that [maybe] shows the idea:

Ericson 25 Unifoil D.jpg

[edited later - this is not quite the correct image]


and I guess applies to any understern layout. An intriguing notion is that Sandy's [Mac50L] T rotator rudder could actually be setup to duplicate this layout!

on second thoughts, the T would have to offset by the shaft diameter, but the blade would not have to slide [oh no! - another type of rudder], one could have a slot for the blade and then the rudder would almost disappear, but the rotation/retraction leverage would suck bigtime.
 

Mac50L

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The rudders I make actually have some balance i.e. there is blade ahead of the vertical shaft. This takes a lot of "weight" off the steering. Admittedly the balance part is near the tip but it still works OK and the blades are quite strong enough to handle it. Aerodynamic balance can see seen on aircraft and a typical example would be a rudder with a bit forward of the hinge line and above the fin or an elevator which will have two balance parts, one on either side at the ends of the elevator and again, ahead of the surface (elevator).

TenuousPinhead.jpg


The picture above has the maximum amount of steering loading possible and will be quite inefficient i.e. a lot of drag.

The picture below shows a Spitfire rudder and elevator that have some balancing to reduce control load.
spitfire-rudder&elevator.jpg
 

Doug_Lloyd

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Another rudder design tweak, nothing really new here but I was intrigued by the recess that appears to give the stored over-stern rudder a way to negate being dislodged. Pics are from an Australian boats-for-sale website.
Skuk-Blade&Pivot-desc.jpg


deploy sequence:

skuk-investigation.jpg

[admin - apologies to Doug if these are the incorrect jpgs]

Doug Lloyd
 
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JKA

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Hi Doug et al,

My first post to WPC and it's about rudders! That's potentially an unwise move. :D

Looking at the photos posted above of the white kayak atop a vehicle, it's an NZ Sisson-manufactured Nordkapp, or one of his Arctic Raiders. I can never tell them apart, as the differences are subtle. Sandy, can you tell which is which?

I have a Sisson Nordkapp, with the same slot for the rudder, but I removed the Paul Caffyn-designed rudder and replaced it with one of my own. The design follows the same principles that Paul followed and has written about, but the construction is much more solid. Paul was always driven by weight, and he gently mocks my "over-engineered" creations.

NZ-TransomHousing1a.jpg


Apart from the rudder itself, I have also made two ears to guide the blade into the slot. They are made from GRP and have an alloy loop attached. This loop stops the blade from bottoming out in the slot, and actually has a piece of plastic tubing in the bottom as a bump stop. I have glassed in tubes to guide the stainless steel rudder cables through the deck, and the deployment lines run through plastic blocks. This was all done to reduce loose lines flapping about, which I hate.

NZ-TransomHousing1b.jpg


The rudder lines are crossed, and the controls are "gas pedal" styles, giving me solid bracing and a foot pump.

NZ-TransomHousing1c.jpg

[admin - I think these are the correct re-attached photos]

I was introduced to WCP by Gary Jacek, with whom I paddled in the Victoria-area a couple of years ago. Solid info on this site, and I'm slowly working my way through. Thanks for having me.

Cheers

John
 
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scott_f

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Welcome John. I'm not a rudder guy and maybe this is a stupid question, but what do you mean by "the rudder lines are crossed"?

And that custom rudder will certainly deter a cowboy scramble! :)
 

Astoriadave

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Scott,

The usual rudder cable rigging runs from the rudder yoke directly to the foot pedal on the same side of fhe boat, viz, right pedal to right side of the yoke. When the paddler presses on the right pedal, the rudder swings right, and the bow moves right. Crossed cables reverse this, so the right pedal depressed causes the boat to turn left.
 
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