Rudder vs Skeg

I think I've finally found the best solution for the rudder vs skeg argument.  The answer is neither!

I'm finding a few kayaks that work well without either one in most conditions.

Current Designs Kestral 140  - so far so good in winds to 20 and very mild chop and surf. Yet to be determined on three day trips with a lot of wind.

Current Designs Solstice GTS  - So far as I could tell the rudder only helped in single blading and in sailing. Even then it was not a lot of help.  It did not really help with turns because you had to lean the boat pretty far to get it to turn at all. It comes with a rudder but, if I still owned it, I would remove it.

Cape Falcon F-1 - Only completely neutral boat I've paddled in 20 mile an hour winds.

Some kayaks need a rudder and do not perform well without them.

Cobra Expedition - The rudder really helps this boat track straight. Mine is a bent boat and turns right without a rudder. I could ad a trim tab or skeg instead but I'd prefer a straight boat.

Wilderness Systems Tarpon - I did not need the rudder until I went paddling at the coast with mine.  It is a design that lee cocks in bigger winds and chop and becomes uncontrollable without a rudder.  If you do not paddle in breezy and choppy conditions you may not need it.

Wilderness Systems Tsunami - Acts the same as the Tarpon.

Some Boats need a skeg to prevent weather cocking.

Most British designed boats have a tad of weather cocking designed into them with a skeg as part of the design to neutralized this trend in different conditions.

Many boats designed for rudders like the Tsunami tend to lee cock without a rudder deployed in bigger winds. 

I still prefer the rudder for sailing and single blading but most kayakers don't do either of those and so I'd recommend going without.

Racers usually prefer rudders because they don't want to waste any energy on corrective strokes that a rudder can handle more efficiently. 

Expedition paddlers prefer the simplicity and repair-ability of a skeg. And they view the needed edging skills as a feature of sea kayaking and pride themselves on their ability to learn these skills as opposed to simply using a rudder with all it's fiddly metal parts being turned into dust by the salty sea.


Outrigger Ideas

I think these curved outriggers are a pain to bend and they come out a little wonky every time.  There is no way to bend the pvc without some of the tubing collapsing.  If I added sand then it would take a lot more heat and a much longer time to bend the plastic pipe.  The plastic is durable and great for scraping over Oyster beds and bumping barnacle encrusted docks.  It is light and tough.


But they work really really well.  It is easy to have just a little out rigger in the water and so they it you can shift a little weight and balance the outrigger in the air or lean toward the outrigger for a lot more stability than usual.  It also makes a great self rescue aide all while having little affect on cruising speed, wave handling and turning.

I think the next out rigger will be a straight pipe that drags the stern just a bit.  Then I'll try them out in different conditions to see which one is best. Hopefully the straight one works well enough, because it will be easier to make and transport.



Hurricane Florence

Now I can hardly remember the name of the storm.  Around my coastal haunts it is just referred to as "The Storm", but I'm so thankful to be past it and see my favorite place mostly recovered.  There is is a scar or two, but maybe we are more beautiful with the character it gives us.

First we tipped over the totem mermaid we received from a friend.  It is likely too heavy to be washed away but wind or debris could knock it over and crack it.

We spent a day at the boat moving the kayaks off the hard top and taking some of them home for the garage.

We turned the boat around in the slip and added double lines and then added two spring lines.


We then removed everything that we thought could be damaged by wind or rain.

Then we went to the shack and moved everything inside and secured what we could.

Most of these preparations had little affect on the outcome that was coming for us.

Now, all I can say is that we are thankful to still be here; Thankful to still have a place here, and thankful that it has made us stronger.




Nice DIY Roof Rack!



John Larkin made an Excellent example of a wood roof rack that he uses to carry a 90 row pound boat on his Subaru wagon.  He used j bolts and wing nuts to hold the rack to the cross bars. The bike tires keep his boat from sliding around. Really nice job John!

Back to paddling


As some of you may have noticed I've not been paddling as much as I should these days.  With work, family and friend commitments there has been little time set aside for the important paddling.  This dry season peaked in July.  In the first week of August  family and friends were either better or in a better place, I went paddling and realized I had not paddled for the entire month of July.  This has not happened before in more than a decade so I was quite surprised by the discover.  I also noticed an extreme lack of fitness and capability. In addition I think my boats are now a little to small and the fit is too snug. So snug in fact that breathing deeply is inhibited.  However, I'm at it again and really enjoying it.  I've added and out rigger to my most comfortable boat to help compensate for the lack of balance and I'm having a great time with it.  I think in the future I'll try to keep paddling in in its proper place so that I paddle at least 4 times a month and sometimes 4 times in a week.

As you can see the outrigger is home built. The tough part has been molding the bracket between the Aka and the front deck.  The PVC outrigger has a kink in the top but the bottom is fair and I have a plan to make the next one even better. It's going to be a wonderful fall!

Stretching is OK again

Apparently stretching is once again considered good for you. 

Stretching for Paddling

Rest assured I never actually stopped stretching, because each day I do not perform stretching exercises for  5 - 30 minutes I have reduced range of motion and increased pain.

She gets worse before she gets better.

We just visited the Mother-ship and were glad that she floated and started.  We heard stories of other boats in the area sinking. Their engine cooling water strainers cracked when they froze and the boats sunk when they thawed.  Luckily it appears our heater system worked well with our other winter preparations.  So far so good. She started and ran fine.  We charged the batteries,  removed some more broken electrical, installed a step some other hardware.  So many fun boat chores on a sunny day, and it was so warm for a moment I thought about taking off my outer shirt.

The interesting thing about the Mother-ship is that things often look worse before they get better. 

For Example:


Here is our electrical panel before we bought her.  Clearly the AC power breaker panel on the left if not ready for anything but starting fires and explosions.  And in two years I have gotten to this stage:


So the bad panel is out making a big hole on the left where I can put a new DC panel in and slowly replace the currently working DC panel on the right which works fine but is 41 years old so I think it is time for all new.

I'm not certain this boat will ever see an AC panel.  Occasionally AC devices are run on board with an extension cord and a ground fault interrupt device. 

I think a lot of time is going to be spent kayaking before any time is spent considering AC power on the Mother-ship.  Her purpose after all is to facilitate more coastal and inlet paddling.  And for that she is wonderful.