Aftermarket rudder?

I have a Dagger Catalyst 12.8 and really had some problems trying to keep from turning left in light winds last weekend. Would a rudder help this and if so, what brand would you guys suggest?



a rudder would help. Dagger makes one for this model.


A second "yes"
and I would like to add that if there are any new kayakers out there looking at purchasing a kayak, and that particular kayak has the option for a rudder, make sure you get it with the rudder.

All the salesman in the Dick’s and other discount places will tell you that you can always add a rudder afterwards, but it is a pain in the butt to do it.

Get it with the rudder. Learn to paddle without the rudder, but it is there when you need it in that strong quartering wind.




– Last Updated: Jun-21-07 6:53 AM EST –

Even though I have a skegged boat and prefer it for my paddling, I'd agree that you should probably get the rudder if the boat is designed for one. My wife had a miserable time with weathercocking in a rudderless Looksha Sport and was much happier when she finally traded it for one with a rudder.

In a normal rec/touring boat, try to paddle without the rudder as much as possible to develop your skills, and just use it when you really need it.

Skeg or rudder: both help.
Carol and I regularly paddle in the Indian River, where we encounter cross winds and/or currents.

Without the skeg, my Diamante will NOT go where I point it. Dropping the skeg until the boat holds a line GREATLY reduces the effort required to go where YOU want to go.

The only rudder-equipped boats I’ve paddled were the Hobie Mirage Sport (with pedal-activated flippers) and an Epic of some type.

The Epic rudder setup worked REALLY well. If someone didn’t want to learn how to turn a kayak with edging and paddle strokes, or wanted quick turning capability in a tight spot, I can really see the attraction of a rudder.



– Last Updated: Jun-21-07 3:13 PM EST –

for the advice so far. Is it normal to have problems in light winds? Two different people had to work pretty hard to keep this boat going forward, so I'm guessing it wasn't the paddlers.

I called and was told "Rudder Kit F" would work with that boat, part #8025406, MSRP $225. I would prefer something a bit less expensive. Being new to kayaking, I'm not sure that just any old universal rudder kit will work. Thoughts?

On the first question:
Yes for a new paddler and no for an experienced paddler.



Strong wind combined with pretty flat water can make for ickier weathercocking than mild wind and decent sized chop/swell. If i were you, i’d first work on technique. Honestly in my opinion there’s no reason a boat under 17 feet should NEED a rudder, i mean it will make your life easier if you’re not particularly interested in the sport and just wanna go where you wanna go. I personally took the rudder OFF my Elaho because i never use it and like the feel/simplicity of solid footpegs and less weight and windage.

adapt- maybe but…
a P-I-T-A. adapting another (maybe cheaper- maybe NOT)rudder could be a real job that eats up time jury riggin’!

just throw down for the kit, install (minutes) and be done with it.

The Cat is probably the loooooosest rec style boat out there and you could say “doesn’t track worth a darn BUT is so EZZZZZ to turn” yeah…EZ for the wind to turn too. This is why many of the boats in this catagory ‘track better’.


Another Suggestion

– Last Updated: Jun-22-07 1:23 PM EST –

Instead of buying and installing an expensive rudder that you don't really need maybe you should consider lessons. A good ACA certified instructor will help you to learn to compensate for the wind as well as maybe save your life by teaching you how to re-enter your yak in an emergency situation.

Regardless, the more that you paddle your yak you will overcome the wind problem on your own..

I have been paddling for years and can paddle any boat without a rudder or skeg. Sometimes in a strong wind or side chop it just makes it more fun when you don’t have to work as hard. Should you be able to paddle in any conditions without a rudder? Absolutely. Can a rudder make a loose boat more fun? Absolutely. Buy one and have fun. That is what the sport is all about.

Rudder and lessons
As a former owner of a Dagger Cypress, the forerunner to the Catalyst, I can attest that the boat is much more fun with a rudder - like having two boats in one. When I needed the maneuverability (sp?)for tight places, or in calm conditions, the rudder was up. Put the rudder down and it tracked extremely well in just about any condition. The best of both worlds. If you’re into photography, the rudder is invaluable for helping to control your drift as you sneak up on wildlife.

Lessons are a good idea, but even so, the Cypress had a very flat bottom, and sometimes paddling without the rudder was like p*ssing into the wind.