Bent Rudder on Findeisen X

My husband was repairing some cracking gelcoat inside the foot wells when the kayak fell. He was able to repair the little bit of damage to the hull nicely but the rudder is now a little bent to the side. It is a fin type on the bottom of the boat and has a shaft. I’d just started learning to paddle this boat when it happened so don’t have lots of time in it, but it seems to want to be offset a bit now and I don’t know if it’s the bent rudder or me being stronger on one side than the other. Does a bent rudder affect handling enough that I should replace it right away or should I keep working on balance ignore that it just looks off? Thanks.

Simply Remove Rudder From Hull
And carefully bend the shaft, so it is straight again. I use a small pipe as leverage to bend the shaft that’s clamped to workbench vise. Sometimes, I over bend and have to repair the rudder blade itself. A bent rudder creates a lot of resistance and you’ll be fighting it all the time. I paddle over reefs and coral heads where bending rudders usually happen. Worst is when the rudder bends back far enough to puncture the hull

Thanks Clydehelund
We will give that a try. The shaft appears to be aluminum and the rudder cables are attached with screws to a plastic wheel that sits on the shaft end. The boat is older and not sure this is standard. If nothing else, this website is revealing just how much I have to learn about boats and paddling in general.

Wheel Is Probably Glued On?
And may need to be snipped or broken off, which means, it won’t be usable anymore, and the shaft is now too short to fit a new wheel back on. So best to retrofit a new rudder with stainless steel shaft and flange, like how most surfskis come equipped today. So save your parts for measurement purposes. However, be aware that if the original shaft is aluminum, the tube guide that it is inserted into may also be aluminum, and with new s/s shaft, you’ll have the problem of two dissimilar metals, so periodically, coat the shaft with grease or anti-seize. I would also change out the old steering cables too. But be careful, for the plastic (irrigation) tube guides for the cables might be damaged or brittle?

Note: 30 years ago, some paddlers preferred the wheel because it was more responsive than the flange. But it was a permanent installation, which required adding a new end piece (carbon) and a new plastic wheel from a lawn grass whip when it came time to replace.

We’ll just have to see what we find…
Thanks, very helpful stuff. I found a little info on the Findeisen and seems the builder was a craftsman in south Florida but hasn’t been active in quite a while.

The plastic piece does looks like a spool for a weedwacker and it does look like the shaft is aluminum as it is sort of corroded with whitish powdery look to it at the end. Having been a cyclist for over 30 years, I’m familiar with the problems of aluminum and steel, having had a few stuck aluminum seat posts in a steel frames. My husband was good at getting them unstuck so maybe we’ll get lucky. Thanks again!

Check Surfski.Info or Yahoo’s Surfski
Groups archives for “Joseph” of Venice, Florida for his email address. He use to help make that ski 25 years ago and knows everything about them. In yahoo groups, his email usually starts with “dogtessa.” So search under that name.