Gas Pedal Rudder ideas?

What’s a good way to extend the rudder lines by a couple of feet to reach from the rear of the rails to the front? Ideally, without replacing the entire cable as it is in good condition, but I suppose I could replace it if someone gives me a good enough argument for a one-piece vs. two-piece cable…

Also, is there an advantage to use a spring-loadad toe-control pedal for the rudder as opposed to a non-loaded? My idea is to have the springs keep the rudder in a neutral position for straight tracking as long as I’m not pushing the pedals.

Or, is there an easy way to quickly set a “bias” on the rudder so that it stays there to help maintain a particular heading in cross-winds/waves for instance?

Since I’m starting from scratch I might as well do whatever I want. Buying parts is low on my priority list as I think I can manage at a much lower cost and get a better fit with a custom design on my own. But if someone has a great source - I’m all ears -:wink:

Answer to your first question
go to Home Depot, Lowes or a electrical supply house and pick up few of the wire connectors that have a small brass screw in type barrel with a set screw.

They come in two different sizes. Just unscrew the brass barrel (discard the plastic outer housing) and use that to connect the two ends of the cable.

West Side boats uses them to make the cable connection in the stern and also at their tiller bar.

I keep a hand full of them in my kayak box in the vehicle just in case a cable ever broke when I was on a trip, to make a quick splice.



What else do you keep in that kayak repair box?

Already learned something new and always looking to learn more.


What cable?
Would “galvanized steel” cable Home Depot and the like sell by the foot or do I need to look for something more rust-proof?

Thanks for the tip on the brass connectors - will pick some-up if I see them.

I think I will do a temporary extension with rope to see how it works, then go to all steel…

Go Stainless Steel
Galvanized will corrode, particularly in a saltwater environment. You can get it from good marine supply sources and some of your better kayak shops.

Electrical tie wraps, needle nose vise
grips, several types of epoxy, a tube of silicone sealant, a roll of black electrical tape, screw driver with changeable heads, a small socket wrench and box wrench that fits the bolts and nuts on the additions that I added to my J cradles, a box with a bunch of every size stainless steel nuts, bolts, screws lock washers and wing nuts that you would ever need to make life a little easier in a canoe or kayak, (think foot braces, and adjustable sliding seats), about a half dozen pairs of various length cam lock buckle straps, silicon spray, Wd 40, 20 feet of line, a jack knife with all the various blades and the ever popular cork screw, my favorite single blade folding serrated stainless steel knife, severeal small pieces of sand paper, and several small pieces of fiberglass cloth, Webbed loops for my front tie downs, along with the front tie down and a spare one, naturally a roll of duct tape, and a whole bunch of mystery stuff that I just throw in there thinking it just might come in handy.

Naturally the box stays in the vehicle, (it would sink the boat) and gets transfeered from one vehicle to another.

When we go on extended trips, I also bring several spare rudder repair kits including a couple of cables.



Agree - even SS will rust eventually
I would never use galvanized hardware in a boat, unless it was just for a temporary repair.



Questions and Link
Any experience with these?

Seems that this would be good enough for me for now and is reasonably priced. BUt, how does it feel? Do they provide enough support wihtout constantly moving the rudder because they would keep pivoting back and forth?

And one more question. Watch the video on that page - see there is a spring on the left? What happens to the other side of the line? I can’t figure out how the thing works - when you push with the right foot, it pulls forward and the spring stretches, the cable pulls the rudder to the right, that part is clear. But what happens to the other end of the line that is attached to the left pedal? Isn’t it supposed to move in the opposite direction? I think so, but then compare to the starting point of the right side - the left side then must be all the way back in the initial position, so where is the slack?

Or do you set them up in a mid-way position, so they rotate either forward or back arond a middle point?

Kevlar cord
I have been using the kevlar cord that Pat at Onno gave me with my gas pedals and it seems to work great. Its great to just tie a knot and not worry about it.

Epic uses it on the 18X rudder set up.

I haven`t had any problems with it.

Thanks. I may go this route, but since I already have steel cable in place that is perfectly good I plan to use that and patch it forward with either kevlar cord or another steel cable.

I saw some photos using small closed loop connectors (sorry forgot what they are called, like climber’s hardware) which will do the trick for accathing the two pieces of rudder line. Strong, won’t come off on its own, easy to detatch with no tools (just twist the threaded piece to open the loop).

Back to the Sea Dog - any experience with these? I thought the foot pegs were pretty comfy when I used them in some rental boats, but not sure how they work with rudder (these boats had no rudders)…

JackL, thanks - as always. NM

A bit of a saga follows

– Last Updated: Sep-29-08 7:53 PM EST –

My experiences, as described below, were with an Enlightened Kayaks T-16 (see my p-net review) - a John Winters designed kayak, that as far as I can determine, is no longer in production. I initially describe the stock Kajak-Sport gas pedel type rudder pedals, and how I replaced them with Sea Dogs.

Though seldom needed, the Kajak-Sport Navigator rudder has performed well; however, the rudder housing appears “flimsy” looking in a space age plastic sort of way. The reliability of the Kajak-Sport pivoting rudder pedals proved to be quite another matter. These large, foot-shaped, gas-pedal type rudder pedals had a poor angle of throw, and were crudely constructed of plywood. At 2 months (in July 2006) one of the rubber (sic) connectors that held the pedals to the rail bracket failed. Mike Steines, owner of Enlightened Kayaks and always a delight to deal with, immediately replaced the entire pedal assembly.

Over the winter 2006-2007, I retro-fitted a set of Sea Dog pivoting rudder control foot braces - an easy piece of shop work.

Unfortunately I ended up being a beta test site for the just introduced Sea Dogs system’s teething troubles, and without the above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty interventions of Chuck Leinweber of Duckworks Boat Builders with the manufacturer, I would probably still not have a rudder system I could trust.

There was one final issue with the rudder system. To allow for rudder cable tension adjustment in the T-16, a piece of nylon cord connects to the rudder pedal and engages with a plastic cleat that is connected to the rudder cable. The cleat did not provide a secure connection; wrapping duct tape around the cleat proved to be the solution to that problem.

Fast forward to the fall of 2008, and I've had zero problems with the Sea Dogs; and though I have two other great kayaks in my fleet, the T-16 remains a favorite.

If you want digital photographs of the Sea Dogs' installation, e-mail me.


– Last Updated: Sep-29-08 9:17 PM EST –

Thanks for the hint. I actually came upon your post in a nother archived thread along with some other replies that were either for or against either brand... I guess - personal preference as much as anything else.

After looking at ways to do it at home, I "chickened-out" and, got the SmartTrack toe control pedals, and put them today. They seem to be very solidly built and come with the rudder line so one less thing to worry about. CLC had them on a small sale and their store being within a short drive from me helped too.

Will not be able to paddle till Thursday most likely so I'm not sure how they would feel on the water, but sitting in the boat they seem OK.

I use my legs a lot to push on each stroke and I thought that I would not like the full-time pivoting pedals in SeaDog. My feeling is that I would end-up changing the rudder direction constantly, although I might be wrong on that...

The SmartTrack at least has a solid non-movable brace and I have to reach with my toes to turn, so I would not be actuating the rudder by mistake. Will see.

I do not know how much the Extreme needs a rudder or not, but from experience with my other boats to date (all skegged) I expect it will benefit from the rudder for heading control in quartering seas and winds - I felt it has a strong tendency to turn into boat wakes so I think it will benefit from some rudder... Unfortunately, I felt the existing "standard" rudder creates quite a bit of drag... Oh, well - can't have it all -;)

Yes you can
If you are willing to spend the bucks. Look into foil rudders which are shaped not just a slab.

The current blade is half there…
The current blade that came standard seems to have some sort of contour to it (it is not entirely flat) but is still pretty chunky - somewhat fat leading edge.

I guess it is a compromise b/w durability and efficiency, with more emphasis on durability… The entire assembly is also rather heavy but looks sturdy and works well for lifting lowering and turning.

I will need to paddle it more to see if it bothers me or not, plus as I said I’m new to rudders so I do not know enough to make an informed decision now. And $$$ is definitely an issue, so this is low priority.

Thanks for the suggestion though.