Let's talk rudders

blondie

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Mark_Schilling said:
Does that mean we've succeeded in converting you to skeg boats? :lol:
Yes, I think it does mean that. 8)

Mark_Schilling said:
but we had Kiwis to search for on the Raikura Track, a brutal 3-day tramping (backpacking) excursion. It, too, made me appreciate sea kayaking that much more. :oops:
I remember thinking on my first kayak trip how much nicer it was to carry gear in one's boat rather than on one's back. But backpacking and kayak tripping each have their own charms.
 

lance_randy

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So, you finally picked up that used Nordy LV. If you tire of it I'll buy it from you no problem. Looking for a used one to chop up for redeployment.
If I ever decide to get rid of it I will certainly let you know. I like your plans for building the ultimate storm monger :)
 

mick_allen

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a boat with a skeg - so they could play with their skeg all day.
i don't see why not. But not by hand - the mechanism should be attached to a gaspedal so you actually can play around with it.
same with a (stern or the understerns shown previously) rudder of course . (like i mean deploy as well as articulate)


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windowshade

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Regarding the paddler who uses a skeg often when paddling a Nordkapp, but not often when paddling a Greenlander Pro, the reason for this is simple: rocker. The Nordkapp has a lot of rocker, especially at the stern. This contributes to the Nordkapp's exceptional maneuverability, but also means that it weathercocks quite markedly. The skeg takes care of this. As for the Greenlander Pro, it has far less rocker than the Nordkapp. Thus, it turns less quickly and weathercocks less (as there is greater lateral resistance at the stern). I own both a Nordkapp and a Greenlander Pro. I prefer the Nordkapp in rough conditions. I do not hesitate to use the skeg when needed; that's what it's there for. The Greenlander Pro is a fun kayak, but not as responsive.

One of the weaknesses of a rudder is that in rough conditions the stern is out of the water enough that the rudder is too often in the air rather than the water. Thus, when you need a rudder most it is of least use. A skeg is placed further under the kayak; it will be rare that it will be out of the water.
 

mick_allen

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One of the weaknesses of a rudder is that in rough conditions the stern is out of the water enough that the rudder is too often in the air rather than the water. Thus, when you need a rudder most it is of least use. A skeg is placed further under the kayak; it will be rare that it will be out of the water.
I’m sure you mean here: ‘one of the drawbacks of a typical rear mounted rudder . . . ‘

and yr right there – i/ve always thought that it was passing ridiculous that about ½ to ¾ of a typical pinhead rudder is out of the water and that even going over a tiny wave (like you say) significantly changes the rudder’s effective immersed area.

same thing with an end mount – and additionally just as strange – often the rear housing drags in the water to some degree or at least in some degree of sea.

but there are the understern choices shown way above (whether good or bad in their own right, plus the fixed shell or surfski type) available.


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Doug_Lloyd

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mick_allen said:
One of the weaknesses of a rudder is that in rough conditions the stern is out of the water enough that the rudder is too often in the air rather than the water. Thus, when you need a rudder most it is of least use. A skeg is placed further under the kayak; it will be rare that it will be out of the water.
I’m sure you mean here: ‘one of the drawbacks of a typical rear mounted rudder . . . ‘

and yr right there – i/ve always thought that it was passing ridiculous that about ½ to ¾ of a typical pinhead rudder is out of the water and that even going over a tiny wave (like you say) significantly changes the rudder’s effective immersed area.

same thing with an end mount – and additionally just as strange – often the rear housing drags in the water to some degree or at least in some degree of sea.

but there are the understern choices shown way above (whether good or bad in their own right, plus the fixed shell or surfski type) available.


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I used to make out pretty good with my deep draft rudder on my 1980 Nordkapp. Essentially used the rudder blade that comes with the Valley tandem kayak - long sucker that rudder. Plus, my Nordy was heavy so sat low and the stern of the fishform Nordkapp doesn't lift as much as some other hulls with a very fine exit. Very steep, short following seas would see a bit of rudder pull-out. Some skegs are not inboard amidship enough either.

Doug L
 

mick_allen

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I used to make out pretty good with my deep draft rudder on my...
but doug, heh heh - you and your yak setup are not the typical case!

10,000 lb kayak, 2ft long tandem rudder, so fishform that the bow points to the sky and the following sea can't figure out what part of the yak to follow!

but to be serious for a sec, a long blade levering on a pinhead rudder (or any overstern) means a lot of slop (side to side) - and i don't care how heavy yr yak is or how narrow the stern, a rudder at the very back in varying sea states leaves something to be desired for consistent rudder action.

aside from the mechanism being inaccessible, don't you think an understern rudder about 1/3 to 1/2 the way from the stern to the ckpt might be an interesting proposition?

i sure like the idea.

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oldsailor

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mick_allen said:
but to be serious for a sec, a long blade levering on a pinhead rudder (or any overstern) means a lot of slop (side to side) - and i don't care how heavy yr yak is or how narrow the stern, a rudder at the very back in varying sea states leaves something to be desired for consistent rudder action.
I guess I just don't understand the rudder/no rudder or skeg/no skeg debates. I paddle a ruddered boat that behaves well and gives no sign of any damage to its mechanism after years of use. I also paddle boats with neither skeg nor rudder and like them a lot, too. I just don't think it's a big enough issue to make a religion over. But I sure wouldn't want a boat that was dangerous if the paddler didn't deploy the skeg or rudder for control.

aside from the mechanism being inaccessible, don't you think an understern rudder about 1/3 to 1/2 the way from the stern to the ckpt might be an interesting proposition?

i sure like the idea.
Wow... all the bad parts of a skeg (leakage, potential damage due to the boat dropping on a hard bit, and gravel clogging the works) combined with all the bad points of a rudder (not big enough to be really useful without being way too big, cables and other bits susceptible to breakage) in one demonic device. Plus the added manufacturing expense. I'm only amazed Hobie hasn't built one.
 

Doug_Lloyd

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mick_allen said:
I used to make out pretty good with my deep draft rudder on my...
but doug, heh heh - you and your yak setup are not the typical case!

10,000 lb kayak, 2ft long tandem rudder, so fishform that the bow points to the sky and the following sea can't figure out what part of the yak to follow!

but to be serious for a sec, a long blade levering on a pinhead rudder (or any overstern) means a lot of slop (side to side) - and i don't care how heavy yr yak is or how narrow the stern, a rudder at the very back in varying sea states leaves something to be desired for consistent rudder action.

aside from the mechanism being inaccessible, don't you think an understern rudder about 1/3 to 1/2 the way from the stern to the ckpt might be an interesting proposition?

i sure like the idea.

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I had my rudder so re-jigged that the sucker was real tight man, if ya know what I mean. Tight, as in a real awesome piece of work, and tight, as in no slop. Took me 10 years of tinkering to get it right. You think I make up this crap about running open water in near-impossible conditions? Nope, I'm tellin ya a seriously set-up deep daft rudder will make a believer out of you. I see them boys down yonder on the Columbia River Gorge runnin some serious sh*t out there in them skegged yaks. They don't allow guys n' gals with ruddered yaks. That's fine. I don't see them running out on the outer coast in the same stuff though. Or going around Australia. Solo.

Now Matt Broze. I know him. Done some back-channel'n over the decades and some yak yakking on the phone. Some full-on frontals too on Paddlewise. He worked hard on that Storm Island rescue article for Sea Kayaker magazine before one of the leading participants put a plug in the jug of what I was hoping would be a good group dynamics expose. Upshot is Matt has told me about some of his rough water mind-blowers. Stuff he ain't gonna tell no one publicalacilly about. He don't want no one trying to emulate that stuff and be then feeling responsible for something happening to them all. But I tell you, oldsailer's right about them Mariners. They got some kind of smack down happening out there with a good paddler driving - no skeg, no rudder. Me? A medical merit issue makes me yank on my yak's rudder to manouver my way through the gnarly big stuff. Ain't no religion though.

As for a big gaping hole for a understern rudder, all silly-nilly skeg-deployed like, I can see some merit there, but I'd be rippin that hull catching it on the unholy hole during seal-launching. I already got a big enough hole below my top lip, so no more gaping holes for me please. :D

I'd also like to see how these Hydroskegs/rudders effect the balance of the yaks they get shoehorned into. They must be weighing in differently than stock skegs.

Don't know what the perfect answer is. If Mariners are the perfect answer, they should be on every dealer's racks. They are not. I have yet to get one out in some really gnarly stuff. If I remake a Nordkapp LV, will you loose respect for me mick if it has a rudder behind it? A rudder under it? Or a rudder on top of it - not being used? You know, just sitting there, ready for deployment. At that point when everyone is questioning the existensial merit of not having a deep draft rudder. Yeah brother, I have seen the light.

Okay, so there are some skilled paddlers who don't got no stinking rudder, no smelly skeg, and no mannered Mariners. Not the typical case either, not in the super-booper soupy stuff of a real Vallahallahellofastorm. Then again, there's always nice uneventful smooth safe easy-kayaker club-med Sunday-paddlin taking it easy-peasy doin it right n' mild paddling. Uh huh. That's the way we like it! (background chorus in paddling land). A hull and a paddle are sufficient.

Doug L
 

mick_allen

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this discussion line isn't rudder/antirudder - just rudder this and rudder that, etc.

and it (the discussion) sorta presupposes the mechanical bits that make it or a skeg work can be acceptable for kayaks under certain circumstances and that the lines and rods and cables aren't bad - they're just part of the system being discussed.

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Doug_Lloyd

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mick_allen said:
this discussion line isn't rudder/antirudder - just rudder this and rudder that, etc.

and it (the discussion) sorta presupposes the mechanical bits that make it or a skeg work can be acceptable for kayaks under certain circumstances and that the lines and rods and cables aren't bad - they're just part of the system being discussed.

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I'd like to get some feedback on the Hydroskeg rudder. Lots of positive comment coming in about the skeg, but not much on the rudder yet.

Doug L
 

mick_allen

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Took me 10 years of tinkering to get it right.
I’ve got too many questions to ask you on this. Maybe later.
They don't allow guys n' gals with ruddered yaks.
I’m a complete believer in a rudder capabilities being many steps better than the capabilities of a skeg. It’s quite straitforward: rudder has same blade but with an additional whole range of possibilities. It’s just that the usual blade in the usual location with the usual system comes with it’s own drawbacks – mitigated somewhat by what you’ve done it sounds like.
But I tell you, oldsailer's right about them Mariners. They got some kind of smack down happening out there with a good paddler driving - no skeg, no rudder.
heresy, but i have a problem with general purpose vessels that are pointed on both ends that only are designed for going forwards. Not my type of paddling. (specific designs for specific purposes, I have no prob with ie surfyaks and many others)

As for a big gaping hole for an understern rudder . . . .
It’s a matter of comparing 2 approaches. I would far rather have a thin slot in the hull versus alternate issues of exposed mechanism to damage, injury, rescue and tow compromises. And I do give that the rudder examples shown have huge wide unnecessary slots – even the best example has to accommodate the width of an extra housing and mechanism.

And like we discussed on Beaumont beach, there are mitigating factors that can be used for the slot (skeg or rudder depending) – offset a few inches from the keel, jam release line, belled slot, thru slot, non axled, 180 rotator or 360 rotator, small separated twins, etc. etc.

I'd also like to see how these Hydroskegs/rudders effect
I'd like to get some feedback on the Hydroskeg rudder. Lots of positive comment coming in about the skeg, but not much on the rudder yet.
The karitek hydroskeg/rudder would prob be only a few pounds more than a typ skeg, so no imbalance issues there. And prob just double the mechanism weight of their skegs for the additional steering capability.

However even with only the pictures, we can make some preliminary comments about both the skeg and the rudder.
Skeg
Firstly, it is a well engineered and thought out approach for both skeg geometry and the equally important actuation. A clear, direct approach that is missing from many skeg designs. It suffers from being over engineered however, with all kinds of extraneous bulk added in the interests of having an 2ndary inserted housing to hold the slave cylinder as well as the skeg itself. Plus there is the extra bulk of the master cylinder being under the deck actuator knob. Summarizing, a thoughtful skeg but in too huge of a presentation.
(i can’t see enough to comment about the line or rod deployed options)

Rudder
It is based on the skeg above, but above size criticism can be lessened somewhat as it is a much more complex problem. However the final engineering is not to the same degree as the skeg as the foot steering looks way too cumbersome, the steering slave and tiller is completely exposed to jamming or damage from packed gear and drybags. As well, I do not see how the steering mechanism stays engaged upon retraction and I just wonder if this has not yet been dealt with. Whatever the situation, a provocative work or work in progress – too clunky and prone to jamming for now. And at about $800, a little pricey too!

mick

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Doug_Lloyd

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I didn't quote you but your comments are in the previous post. Thanks for, once again, your thoughtful analysis.

I'd certainly seriously entertain an understern rudder and will gladly retrofit a good one into any future rebuild of whatever yak I go for. But like you say, perfection has not been acquired yet (a few posts ago).

I like the offset slot idea for a skeg, if I go that route. One of those "a ha" moments that I relish as I talk and meet folks on WCP with superior building skills.

The Mariners do paddle beautifully. I've had them out on the west coast in conditions. They work best with an extremely proactive paddling style to offset cocking issues, and the sliding set versions make the complete picture. Certain models are sensitive to loading. And, they didn't have the deck configurations lot of paddlers demanded when they used to be in production.

Mike (from Eco...) did mention handling characteristics were prone to changes with certain Hydroskeg models on certain kayaks. I have no first hand knowledge, admittedly.

I don't think a rudder will save your life. Hyperbole at its best I suppose. A well designed rudder, maintained, with a gas-peddle mechanism and a well-thought-out deployment system does add significantly to longer excursions from the perspective of wear and tear to shoulder joints and other considerations that rudder users are well aware of and not necessarily willing to expound to the unencumbered.

Rough water paddling groups that don't allow rudders for storm paddling probably do so for the safety factor of rudder potentiation for failure, which both puts the paddler in possible jeopardy as well as other paddlers along for the outing. I just know what a good, deep draft rudder is capable of and find most rudder users unaware even of what significant advantages they have. But, you only use a deep draft rudder when you absolutely need it and the rest of the time it sits atop one's deck acting like a wind vane.

My next over-stern deep draft rudder, if I get one/build one, will be incorporated partially into a slot on the distal deck. At least that’s the plan. Maybe by then there will be more understern options.

With my shoulder tendonitis, I need something. With a kayak with some rocker evident in the hull (read a more fun kayak) I'll at least need a skeg.

And for all out, hell-bent big open water sorties, I don't know how I'd get by without a deep draft rudder now, not after experiencing a well executed/modified derivative of what's commercially available.

For those who do well without a rudder (or skeg) in big seas, both hard-core rough water day trips and longer expedition paddling in extreme seas, you know who you are and your awesomeness in noteworthy. Amen.

Doug Lloyd
 

windowshade

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The hydroskeg is both a qualified success and a limited failure.

I have one. It works well, but it takes up a lot of room in the rear storage compartment. That's the qualified success.

The limited failure is more serious. The components & fittings don't appear robust. Instead, they look as if given a bad knock they would fail. (Not sure, I haven't tried it, for obvious reasons.) If it breaks on an expedition there's little hope of repair. But, it's too bulky for expedition paddling anyway.

My bottom line. Good for a day boat. A non-starter for a touring boat.

Malcolm
 

Doug_Lloyd

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windowshade said:
The hydroskeg is both a qualified success and a limited failure.

I have one. It works well, but it takes up a lot of room in the rear storage compartment. That's the qualified success.

The limited failure is more serious. The components & fittings don't appear robust. Instead, they look as if given a bad knock they would fail. (Not sure, I haven't tried it, for obvious reasons.) If it breaks on an expedition there's little hope of repair. But, it's too bulky for expedition paddling anyway.

My bottom line. Good for a day boat. A non-starter for a touring boat.

Malcolm
Thanks for the response to this thread Malcolm. The website says these skegs are robust, but I have my doubts too. From what I gather, some of the Kari-Tek wire and rope skegs are awesome and low profile however. I suppose when one adds complexity, one should expect some propensity of components toward damage. The rudder version would only be on a magnitude even greater.

I actually like the idea of a device-free, well behaved kayak like a Mariner (add model name here) free of underhull devices with an added (horror of horrors) rudder out back (no hull-integrity loss with a rudder for the most part). You then have an awesome handling kayak not dependent on a skeg with a sound hull yet have a rudder for adverse conditions on a long crossing.

Other than loss of handling with a rudder dependant kayak or paddler when said rudder breaks, have rudders ever been a known source of danger to the kayaks seaworthiness and integrity of hull during some event that damaged the rudder badly? Obviously, rudders and rudder lines can hurt a paddler.

Are there examples out there of serious leakage form a skeg box causing an emergency?

Anyway, you were discussing the Kari-Tek devices, not discussing my tangential thoughts.

I'll be interesting to see what feedback there is with the Hydro Skeg n' Rudder version as more Keri-Tek devices show up on the North American coastline (no not discarded ones washing ashore from across the pond :D ).

The preceeding was pane-previewed :)

Doug Lloyd
 

Mark_Schilling

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Doug_Lloyd said:
Are there examples out there of serious leakage form a skeg box causing an emergency?
I can only speak for my own skeg, but I'd assume most of them use a similar design.

The skeg box on the Explorer extends high enough into the rear hatch that even if I were to remove the hose that seals it from the 'outside', water would not freely flow into the hatch in smooth seas. Since water could only enter the hatch when the top of the skeg box was below the waterline, this would only happen when the crest of a wave was above the height of the top of the skeg box at that position along the length of the kayak. Obviously this could be relatively often in rough seas with a loaded boat, but even with a hose where the cable clamps had been compromised, you'd only get a few drops with every wave. I'm sure a bit of duct tape would create a temporary seal that could be just as good as the (more permanent) hose solution. (Everyone carries duct tape with them while paddling, right?).
 

mick_allen

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From what I gather, some of the Kari-Tek wire and rope skegs are awesome and low profile however.
as all the same skeg parts are used (some modification of course) - skegbox plus housing - they should be similar in bulk other than the actuator.

. . . leakage from a skeg box causing an emergency?
if we have a rear hatch - and either lots of drybagged gear or airbags - there'll still be volume that can't be swamped - to lessen the emergency situation.

that's why airbags are such a help. badly holed boat - still get to shore.

OR:
say you had airtight hatchlids (and low b/h relief holes) - could paddle home ok , but you can't lean, heh heh.

.
 

Jurfie

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What about a recessed slot (like a skeg box) on the back deck (rather than the hull) for a rudder to flip up and into? It can be sloped slighty towards the stern to drain. That would get the rudder "sail" off the back deck when up, and also prevent...ahem...an uncomfortable re-entry. If I'm not mistaken, Seaward's slider rudder deployment system doo-dad keeps lines off the deck. The narrow part at the stern is a less usable space anyways, so it wouldn't be a major loss of storage space...just a thought.

(The above idea, if found to be a good idea, is copyrighted by the author, June 10, 2008. All royalties go to me. :wink: )
 

oldsailor

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Doug_Lloyd said:
I actually like the idea of a device-free, well behaved kayak like a Mariner (add model name here) free of underhull devices with an added (horror of horrors) rudder out back (no hull-integrity loss with a rudder for the most part). You then have an awesome handling kayak not dependent on a skeg with a sound hull yet have a rudder for adverse conditions on a long crossing.
This makes a lot of sense to me, actually. On one of the bigger Mariners (the Max or Escape) a rudder is unlikely to have a downside (barring a cowboy re-entry) and a lot of positives. On edge with a rudder I expect the performance would be startling. I wonder if Matt Broze has any data on turn-times with this combo. Has anyone actually survived putting a rudder on one of his Mariners? <grin>

If you want to experiment with this idea, I have a Mariner Escape hid out at the Whidbey Island getaway that you could play with. But I think that the Escape is such a high-volume boat you might get lost in it. I am pretty sure I could sleep in it and even read for a bit before nodding off. Nevertheless, it might make a nice experiment. I didn't pay much for it and only use it to paddle when I find myself on the west side of the mtns without a kayak (or paddle). I could walk it onto the ferry in Anacortes and hand it over to you on the other side. Assuming I can get back and forth without a passport.

Are there examples out there of serious leakage form a skeg box causing an emergency?
I dunno about an emergency but the last time Pam and I paddled together with her in the Ice Kap (Deception Pass) the leaky skeg box on that boat let in enough water so that there would have been an emergency had we been washed thru the Pass and out to the west. It certainly affected performance. No float bags in that compartment as we were just playing for a few hours til slack.

Craig
 

Dan_Millsip

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Doug_Lloyd said:
Are there examples out there of serious leakage form a skeg box causing an emergency?
I had an incident a couple of summers ago with a year old, but brand new Necky Chatham 18 where the skeg box leaked like a sieve.

I figured that this narrow boat would take a bit of getting used to but I couldn't adapt to it's seamingly worsening initial stability. I didn't take a single on-the-water photo that day, and found it difficult to paddle slowly -- resulting in a very less than pleasant paddle. Nonetheless, I though it was just me, as it was the narrowest boat I'd ever paddled and brushed it off as not being used it it yet. After about 6 km of uneasyness I ended up stopping at a beach for lunch -- when I opened the rear hatch to retrieve my sandwich, I couldn't believe that it was over half full of water!! I then opened the front hatch and it was about 1/3 full of water -- the aluminum hatch flange had separated from the fiberglass deck. In the rear hatch, the skeg housing was cracked wide open where the cable fitting entered it. Duct tape slowed the front hatch leak and I had to stop every couple of km's on the way back to empty the rear hatch but I made it home fine.

I'm happy to say that Necky dealt with the problem in a very satisfactory manner and that their quality has improved a great deal since then.

Personally, I much prefer a rudder to a skeg.

*****
 
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