More Rudder Ideas - Should I chop it?

So far I like this rudder. It does help me keep the boat in trim when I am sailing or single blade paddling.  It is very strong. and the depth is shallow enough that I can bump right over logs or back up onto the beach without trouble.

But when I really turn it, I can hear the water churning and I know it is acting more like a break than a foil.  I'd like my boat to glide like and airplane not grind through turns like a tank. So I'm thinking about how to reduce the drag.  One way would be to use a thicker material and shape a NACA 10 cross section into the rudder.  A simpler way may be to re-cut the profile shape along the bottom to give it a more swept back profile instead of the swept forward profile. Sweeping the center of area back may make it a quieter shape, but it could reduce the area too much and make the rudder less effective.  Also it would change the balance of the rudder, but I don't think that will cause any problems on a tiny kayak rudder.

Right now it looks king of like a dinosaur head.  Do you think I should chop it into a more traditional swept back rudder shape?

Swimming gets you the best pictures!

I really like swimming in the surf and I am getting some better pictures by doing it.  Next time I hope to have a wet suit top instead of a baggy splash top.  The paddling gear just doesn't lend itself to swimming well.

This is what it looks like before I go into the washing machine.

Here I am in the washing machine.

Here's a paddler starting out on a wave.

Looks like he has caught it but needs to paddle faster to get forward!

Too late for that!  Now he's riding in a submarine! You can see the whole boat is submerged.

And naturally the boat stops and re emerges backwards out the back of the wave!

Next time I'm bringing swim fins and keeping my helmet on for swims.

Don't replace your straps for bungees!

Those of you who know me, know that fast access to snacks is really important!  And with that in mind I removed the three straps and buckles from my tarpon hatches and replaced them with bungees.  It did make the hatches much faster to access, but over time the bungees stretch, and then you go surfing, and then your hatches get knocked off by the waves!  Lot's of fun swimming it in but, I'm thinking the best solution might be these special strap buckles from Tom at

Even little waves are hard on the hatches.

Here's a Mystic in the surf doing well.

I've seen this paddler surf like a dream in a Solstice and now he is grace in motion in a Capella. 
I guess it's not all about the boat.

All in all the Tarpon 160 was more fun in the surf than I expected.
I really should go back to straps for the hatches!

Swamp fun!

What are you two smiling at?

Hmmm... I think he is smiling back!

Snakes may look dangerous, but this old cypress looks like it is reaching down to pluck Maria from the water. I wonder how a tree got to be so crooked.  

More information about the Three sisters Swamp Part of the Black River is here:

And more info about the Black River is here:

As you can tell I just love Eva's blog, I wish she and Tamas took more trips with us and posted them!

Surf Fun!

Is that my red helmet?

This is my helmet SILLY!  You are wearing your helmet!

You guys should get helmets that match your boats! 

See how my yellow helmet matches perfectly with my yellow decked Mystic!

Hey! I may not be color coordinated. And I may not be very good at surfing, but I'm getting to be an accomplished rough water swimmer!

I want the best of both worlds.

I've always leaned towards more simple sails, so I've been most happy making lug rigs with easy roller reefing.  V sails can be even easier to make and use but they don't sail as well and it can be hard to dump the wind instantly.

 To further ease the use of the sails I've made I took a lesson from Matt Layden's Kayak rig and made the sheet come off the front of the boom instead of the rear.  This makes it really easy to enter and exit the cockpit unencumbered.

 I also moved towards simplicity by eliminating the stays and having the mast slip into a hole on deck.  The whole rig and mast can be dropped in the water with a simple sweep of the paddle. I've yet to see another rig that dumps so completely and instantly.  On a sit on top it is easy to plug the mast back in and go. But with a sit inside you'd need a to get out of the cockpit to reach the fore-deck. I'm working on this solution and I think I'm on track for a reliable easy method of setting the mast in the step.

My final stumbling block it to move to a non reefing sail.  This means the sail would just be one meter and there would be no option for reefing.  This is pretty practical for long trips where you'd want the simplest sail available.  But here on the Atlantic Coast we have very light winds all summer and a 2 meter rig would mean you could still sail during the summer months.  So I'm struggling with the decision to make an even larger reef-able lug sail or with making my existing size even simpler by maintaining the same size and eliminating the reefing gear.

I'm leaning towards smaller and simpler, because when I want to bring a sail on a trip or just bring one along in case I need it, I always reach for the Flat Earth Kayak Sail that I rigger to be freestanding without stays.  It is too small for most days around here, but it is super easy to use and it sails very well on most points of sail.

New far so good!

I am liking the new rudder! it has a much lower aspect ratio so it works great in shallow water.  It is 3/8ths inch polyethylene so it is strong.  It is a flat plate so I might have someone make one out of 1 inch polyethylene in a NACA 10 profile someday.  In the mean time it is OK!  Can't wait to try it in the surf!

Here is a close up:

Here is a picture on the Neuse River:

Here's the kind of happiness that occurs when rudders work like they should:

Only a Dollar!

The new club stickers are in.  They are only a dollar each  I'll mail them to you for an additional dollar or you can get them at the meetings!  By the way, the regular monthly meetings are free for anyone to attend so check it out at

Please don't hesitate to send along extra dollars to help support the F.A.K.E.  B.O.O.B. political agenda that you can read all about here:

Wonderful Maglite

In the past I've found expensive headlights lasted no longer than the cheapest Eveready ones at Wal-Mart.  But I recently picked up this Mini MagLITE that has a very powerful 3 watt LED and a multi-mode switch.  Twist it once for full power, twist it again for 25% power, again for regular flash like your life vest strobe has, and again for a true SOS strobe.  

It is not a coast Guard Approved visual distress signal (VDF), but it could be some day.  I've had Coast Guard Approved signals that were not as well made as this light and I've had a few of my VDF's fail when tested.  Another problem is that this thing does not float.  So you may want to keep a tether on it.  Your results may vary. Don't get tangled in a tether you cannot break in the surf....

I got mine at Wal-Mart, lot of other places sell them.