On one side there are the kayaking purists that say A well designed kayak should be easily steered by hull steering and paddle strokes, and that kayak makers add rudders to their boats simply to compensate for design flaws.” Basically, A real kayak doesn’t need a rudder.” Many of these purists do however acknowledge the benefits of using a retractable skeg (a non-turning fin located near the stern) in certain conditions to improve tracking, especially on rockered kayaks, in quartering seas and on off-the-wind legs. I have paddled boats with retractable skegs and actually prefer them to rudders because the simplicity (compared to rudders) appeals to me. They also solve the weathercocking problem without the annoying lack of a good foot brace, unlike most rudders in which the pedals move around a bit. Skegs, unlike rudders, are a non-turning fin usually located near the stern, and it helps improve tracking in some conditions, such as with rockered kayaks, off-the-wind legs and quartering seas. 4. Speed: Most kayak racers believe that except in windless flatwater conditions, a paddler in a rudder boat will be faster than the same paddler in a skeg boat because the paddler can use the rudder to compensate for wind or currents, and thus can paddle at full power. Up-to-date pricing and reviews for Kayak Rudders on the market can be found at the kayak models website.
Kayak rudders are controlled by moving paddlers foot rest pedals (for direction) and a control line mounted by the cockpit to lift & lower the rudder. Better control of your kayak in windy conditions will make long paddles a lot more fun, and when the water gets dangerous, a rudder or skeg can make a life-or-death difference. Skegs are a great way to improve boat handling in windy conditions, but they will not give you the control that rudders will.
Whether or not you may be a purest and only use your rudder when conditions warrant, many recreational paddlers who don’t care about going fast or paddling rough water will enjoy the ease that rudders bring to steering the boat, whether that is just making gentle turns around obstacles or to help correct for breezes and currents. Unless you are paddling directly into the wind, your kayak will require some paddle stroke corrections to compensate for the weathercocking and any kayak in following seas will broach and also requiring corrective action from the paddler to prevent it. This is where rudders and skegs have an important role. A rudder blade deflects water in a particular direction, causing the boat to turn; a skeg creates resistance to the turning affect caused by the wind and causes the boat to go straight.
Glass Fiber Watercraft Kayak Boat Rudder kit is designed with Foot control system and with rotating pedals. Believe it or not, the main purpose of rudders or skegs isn’t to turn a kayak, it’s to keep a kayak running straight when you’re paddling with a crosswind. This Jili Online Adjustable Kayak Rudder is a one piece rudder kit that features a steering system so that you can control the rudder using the foot pedals on your kayak.
Ray Wirth paddles kayaks with rudders, with skegs, and with neither in Penobscot Bay, Maine. 5. Handling Adverse conditions: For turning or staying straight in big seas, rudders provide more directional control to the paddler. The paddler can still control the direction of the kayak if the bow and stern are pushed downwind equally.
When paddling in beam seas, the stern the kayak tends to swing around to point downwind, also called bowcocking or weathercocking.) A rudder is a great advantage in these situations as it not only helps the boat stay on course but can be used to help get the kayak back on course. While Eddyline has used rudders on our single kayaks in the past (double kayaks will always need rudder assistance), we are now able to create hulls that are so well balanced in buoyancy and windage that rudder control is no longer necessary. Rudders help control the direction of your kayak in windy conditions or currents.
White water kayaks do not have rudders, nor will you see skegs on them either. Surf kayaks and wave skis will often have a skeg or several skegs mounted toward the stern on the hull, just like surfboards and water skis. Considering a rudder is best used to keep the kayak straight, it is funny that they do not make rudders, or at least skegs, available for these shorter kayaks.
When kept straight, like a skeg, it ensures that the stern of the kayak will want to move slower than the bow, keeping you from “fish tailing.” The rudder also turns the kayak when the blade pivots to one side. The next most important thing to understand is that both rudders and skegs are designed to help the boat go straight when the wind wants to make the boat turn. Instead, these boats make good use of skegs to keep their relatively free moving sterns more stationary during windy conditions.
Sometimes referred to as British style sea kayaks, these boats do not require rudders to make the stern move around. With the Kayaksailor rig, the leeboards can be balanced to the center of effort in the sail, maintaining the directional stability of the boat, and on well-designed hulls, rudders normally aren’t necessary. The rudder is a blade located at the stern of the kayak, and is made in such a way that it pivots from side to side, and that is controlled by foot pedals in the kayak’s cockpit.
- This kit contains all of the rudder parts, cables, hardware, sliding footstops and instructions you will need to install the foot controlled rudder system onto your ClearWater Design Kayak. The thing that separates the men from the boys or more accurately rudders from skegs is that a rudder actually steers the stern and changes the direction of the kayak but a skeg can only keep the stern locked into place, preventing the kayak from turning. A rudder is generally a blade mounted on the stern of your boat and can be deployed to help you control your direction.
Once installed, this rudder kit can let you control your yak in strong currents or windy weather using the foot pedals. The rudder features a steering system that can be controlled using the foot pedals that are included with the kit. The Borogo Kayak Rudder Kit is designed to be installed on various kayaks and recreational boats so it could be a good option for older boats or yaks that are not made by one of the big brands.
This rudder kit can be a good option for a range of kayaks, as well as canoes and small boats. When attached to rotational foot pedals this rudder system can help you change direction or keep you heading in a straight line in strong current or wind. Ruddered kayaks are typically longer and have less rocker (the amount of curve of the hull from bow to stern).
Why do some kayaks have rudders and others have skegs? A skeg is also located in the stern of the kayak but instead of being placed on the deck of the boat, the skeg is recessed in the stern and controlled by a push rod or cable near the cockpit. The Aerius I and the Nautiraid singles are very maneuverable boats that need practice to track straight, and a rudder is useful with them in strong winds, too, but I think with both of these boats you need to learn to paddle them without a rudder first, to develop your skills.
Beginning paddlers tend to spend a good percentage of their time fussing with their rudders because it take some time to learn to use them to control boat direction. Without a rudder, you typically need to exaggerate your paddle stroke to steer your kayak left or right or to keep it in a straight line (tracking) when dealing with windy conditions or strong currents. They are controlled by your foot pedals which of course takes a little getting used to. Many models of kayaks come complete with a rudder mount even when the kayak is not equipped with a rudder.
Cables run up to adjustable foot pegs with added rudder control pedals for a complete kayak rudder system. This multipurpose rudder works with a variety of water vessels, including kayaks, canoes, seayaks, and angling boats. Think about it. If a fully deployed skeg makes your boat turn uncontrollably downwind in breezy conditions, won’t a rudder do the same?”
To keep the sport alive get families into stable rudder kayaks with appropriate clothing and then when and if skill develops plug into the skeg boats wearing your goretex etc. Rudders work great on specialized kayaks intended to be paddled with the rudder in the water at all times, like surf skis and racing kayaks. Of course, there is. If you want your ruddered kayak to paddle properly in all wind conditions, you need to adjust the trim of the boat so that it is balanced in the wind when the rudder is down.
Think about it. If a fully deployed skeg makes your boat turn uncontrollably downwind in breezy conditions, won’t a rudder do the same? But not all kayaks come equipped with rudders, and skegs are also pretty rare except on truly premium sea kayaks. Rudders are mechanically controlled, depending on foot pedals and cables.
And it is not the kayaks that need rudders, big ships and large marine vehicles also need a rudder to steer straight on the water. Touring kayaks, sometimes called sea kayaks, are the boats that you will most likely see rudders on. You may find that a rudder is standard equipment on most that you will see. The cables are almost always running through plastic tubes that poke out of the back deck at the stern and poke out of the cockpit walls (sit-on-tops) or (sit-in-sides) inside the hull, maybe through a bulkhead, connecting rudder to the foot pedals.
Some kayaks, mostly surf skis, will sport Through-Hull rudders that are mounted close to the stern, but not at the far end. When crossing open water, wind, waves and currents will “push” your kayak around and a rudder blade can help keep the kayak straight, much like the feathers on an arrow allow it to fly true. A rudder is a blade installed at the kayak’s stern, which can pivot (as needed) using foot pedals in the cockpit.
You will perhaps notice that racing kayaks, both flat water and surf skis, all have rudders, and they have them for this exact reason, all of your paddling energy is expended going forward and not wasted on corrective strokes. The biggest advantage of a rudder is in following seas where the ability to steer the kayak with your feet and keep it from broaching provides a significant advantage over boats with skegs or boats with nothing at all. If a rudder cable does break while you are blowing downwind in rough seas, it can be serious, particularly in older boats with sliding foot rests connected to the rudder.
Why do some touring kayaks come with rudders while others come with skegs? The longer the boat, the greater the leverage created by this wind force on the paddler (this is why shorter boats can often get away with neither skeg nor rudder). If we compare and contrast rudders with skegs, does one choice have any advantages or disadvantages over the other with regard to sea kayaks or touring kayaks?
Why do some sea kayaks (touring kayaks) come with rudders and others come with skegs? A rudder or skeg is used to fight your kayak’s desire to do so. Without them, when you’re paddling in wind you can find yourself taking much harder strokes on one side to keep your kayak running straight. Skeg boats require that the paddler have some knowledge of how to turn and control their kayak.
Making this even more complicated, some touring or sea kayaks come with skegs, while others come with rudders, seemingly without rhyme or reason. A final option is creating your own, this is usually much easier with skegs, with rudders you may battle a bit since you have to include the moving parts of the foot pedals for rotating the skeg. Skegs can also be deployed using a control cable and actuator, and they’re usually added to a kayak in order to compensate for poor trim or give some newer paddlers added assistance.
I have two boats with transom mounted rudders and two with skegs. There are lots of YouTube videos on adding rudders or skegs to our kayaks. Confluence Rudder Install Video part 1 Addresses; BTS rudder mount, lift line, foot braces & control cables, applies to many sit-in-side kayaks, Wilderness Systems, Perception and Dagger kayaks.
Ocean Kayak Video part 1 Addresses; foot braces, tubes, control cables with straps, bracket and rudder mount, also applies to many sit-on-top kayaks as well as Necky and Old Town sit-in-side kayaks. Our TrueCourse kayak rudder is our least expensive model for our paddlers that want a durable rudder for solo boats. Our kit includes a rudder blade and head with steering lines & 2 gudgeons to mount rudder to stern.
EXTREMELY FAST kayak for the discerning paddler This kayak has a foot board controlled rudder for serious training or racing. The drop-down rudder acts as a steering aid to keep your boat going straight through wind and waves. Remember, not all situations will call for a rudder and not all kayaks will need one, especially if you tend to paddle in shallow rocky waters or in whitewater.
A skeg can also help when paddling in wind or current but because it can only be raised up and down, it may not have as much effect as a rudder might in the same conditions. It features the rudder blade and the cables to allow you to steer using the foot pedals that can be installed in the cockpit. The Perception Kayaks Rudder Kit is made for rudder-ready Perception kayaks that already have a molded rudder post hole in the stern.
The Ocean Kayak Rudder Kit is a complete kit that is designed for a range of newer models of Ocean Kayak boats (from 2013 onwards). These boats often time have a lof of rocker which enables the paddler to enact a tremendous amount of directional change to the kayak when on edge. Skeg Kayaks aka Brit Boats, are designed to excel in more dynamic environments. Be sure to visit kayak models for the best Kayak Rudders on the market to buy.
Since these boats are longer the paddler benefits greatly by having a rudder to help with control. Typically ruddered kayaks (16ft – 20ft) aka North American Touring kayaks are designed to paddle in a straight line well, be fairly efficient and have lots of storage. Ruddered kayaks also have more space in the stern hatch for storage since they do not have a skeg box.