Haven’t bought the rudder yet . I was thinking El cheapo. I’m still trying to learn to like this kayak. I’m sure the majority of the problem is the fact that I have no skills although I am learning. I was thinking there might be a way to use hand controls on the rudder because in Sea kayaking I’m really only needing to turn on occasion. My skag cleat is on the side of my kayak and I thought add a couple cleats for rudder controls, but I may end up having to buy the $90 combination. I didn’t pay a lot for the kayak, and I like that I can get it on the roof myself. I’m a little slower then the group, but I get where I’m going. It was just this last trip with the headwind that really made me think I needed to do something. My arms and my legs cramped up so bad that I had to stop and just sit for a bit a couple of times and of course I had the sweep guy having to give up his fun day to babysit me. Would really like to avoid that.
While a rudder can help turn a kayak, that is not it’s true purpose. A rudder, like a skeg, is designed to allow you to maintain a normal forward stroke evenly on both side when paddling in a crosswind that is trying to turn the boat into the wind (weathercocking) or downwind (leecocking). Most boats tend to turn into the wind, but it depends on the boat and how it’s loaded
While a rudder or skeg will allow you to paddle faster and more efficiently in a cross or quartering wind. it will do nothing as far as increasing your speed in a head or tailwind…
Aside from the fact that you cannot be constantly stopping paddling to adjust a rudder with a jury-rigged hand adjustment, it sounds like your problem is just lack of experience with using a skeg and possibly conditioning and improper/inefficient paddling technique.
Is your kayak of similar waterline length and beam as the group that you are paddling with? If it’s shorter and wider that will make a difference.
If it’s technique, ask others in the group to critique your style. Pretty much all kayakers are more than happy to talk about kayaking and help with skills.
With seat time and experience your speed will improve, not with added hardware.
LaShin - From the other thread, we know you have a QCC 600X. That’s actually considered a fast kayak. It’s 16’8" long, with a 16’5" waterline length and only 21 inches wide. So your issues keeping up with the group and trouble making headway in a headwind really sound more like technique.
Use your core not much arm movement
That QCC 600 is a nice boat although not that many QCCs came with a skeg.
I would try to learn the skeg operation before butchering a nice boat by trying to add a rudder on the cheap.
I would think it better to sell it as is and buy a boat with a rudder already on it.
Ok, that’s probably the best advice I’ve heard so far . I was wondering if it was the boat or if it was me. I know I’m not the strongest paddler and I’m certainly not the most talented, but a bad boat doesn’t help. There have been two people in this group who had qcc’s who were very extremely experienced and they hated it because “it just goes straight”.
It took me awhile to learn to adjust my paddling so that my stronger right arm wasn’t forcing it left all the time . Then I learned edging and that helped with the turning. When I had to fight that headwind thinking that having the skeg down was what was supposed to help, I was literally exhausted and had to stop and rest. My arms were spasming and my quads were spasming and my abs weren’t too happy either, but I know that’s all a part of conditioning which will get better with time. Group has a trip going out tomorrow and I just seem to have a bit of PTSD. Don’t want to go even though I need to go, but with 15 mph winds, I’m getting deja vu all over again.
Going to take out my little 13-ft River runner on the calm hillsborough river and just paddle around a bit. See if I can get my conditioning up without a whole bunch of weather issues to complicate things.
Thanks a bunch, Wolf, for sticking with me. You’ve been very helpful. I’m very advanced in a few other activities and I know how annoying newbies can be.
I wouldn’t give up too quickly on the QCC as a bad boat. I just bought my QCC 600X in August and have used it a dozen times or so. I’m really surprised at how well it turns (without using the rudder). I can hear the water gurgle around the stern when making a tight turn so even though it doesn’t have a large amount of rocker, it seems that the stern will slip easily allowing it to turn. Maybe it’s just a matter of weight. I’m fairly light at 165 lbs and have only done day paddles with the kayak unloaded. Perhaps turning would be more trouble with more weight in the kayak.
It must be your technique then. I weigh 140. I was actually thinking of putting more weight in it to see if that would help.
I’m comparing the turning capability of the QCC with other 16-18 foot touring kayaks. It doesn’t “turn on a dime” like a shorter recreational kayak so that might be a factor as well. Your 13 foot River Runner may well be a “turn on a dime” type kayak.
I think you mentioned that you have leaned the QCC to give it some edge for turning. I find that the QCC also responds really well to edging making turning even easier. So next time you use the QCC, maybe try leaning the boat toward the outside of the turn a little more and see if that helps.
By the way, I’d rather not kayak in 15 mph winds either. That’s kind of the point where it can become more work than fun. So enjoy the river where you can get out of the wind.
I had just learned about edging from videos and the group had a training class where I got to practice it just before that trip. I got a solid lesson on edging on that last trip. Spent the last mile on my left hip to deal with that headwind. That’s why the quads and the abs were cramping up. Literally when I stepped out of the boat my leg gave way. Totally maxed out. Took a couple steps before I was able to recover so I could pull the boat out of the water. And thanks about the 15 mph wind comment. I don’t know what’s normal and what’s not of course. Felt like a wimp ducking out of this trip, but have to go with my gut. Kayaking is supposed to be fun.
I think I’ve got all I’m going to need right now so I guess I’ll sign off. Thanks everybody.
Absolutely not a wimp to pass on windy weather. You might find this old thread fun to read:
The Sound Rowers, a Seattle based club with an emphasis on racing has developed a classification system for assigning various kayaks, among other boats, for their races. My boat, a Necky Arluk 1.9 an 18’ boat is rated at 9.9 and my wife’s QCC 600 X a 16’ boat at16’ is rated a 9.7. They have close to the same waterline length and beam. Both are considered fast sea kayaks. Kayak classifications are SK or touring Sea Kayaks < 9.25, FSK or Fast Sea Kayaks 9.25 to 10.99, HPK or Hi-Performance Kayaks > 10.99. Surf skis can rate over 16.
A number of years ago the Arluk was considered fast enough to be competitive, so your 600X is not at all a slow boat. For serious racers, there are now a number of boats that are faster and still in the fast sea kayak range.
Knowing when not to go out due to prevailing conditions based on your boat, skills, and comfort level is a critical judgement and not to be sold short. Always be prepared to change your mind or choose an alternate place to paddle even as late as arriving at the launch. We always tell our trip leaders to have at least one protected alternative place to paddle, as you cannot always trust the weather reports. Also, all of the participants must feel comfortable with the decision to go out.
Thank you. I had been looking for quite a while before I bought the qcc. my friends are very advanced and they gave me basic requirements about length and beam and weight. I found a good deal and bought it. It feels to me like it rides a little high in the water and that’s why I’m getting pushed around by the wind. Considering how fast the others are in this group, the fact that I’m usually only about a quarter mile behind them means I’m doing okay then and I can credit this boat. I think a lot of it is I just don’t know enough about what’s normal and what’s not normal . Your input about the speed falls in line with what other reviewers had said on this site before I bought it. So yeah, sadly the problem is not the boat, but me. I need to build up more muscles. But I was also happy to know that even only 10 mph winds are enough to make most people decide not to kayak that day.
Oh and that is so cool about the classification system. I was just going by instinct and reading a lot of reviews. Now that I know that classification system is out there I can use it to buy my next kayak.
Probably work on technique rather than muscles. There is a lot involved in an efficient forward stroke.
Possibly of more use is the U.S.Canoe Regulations for boat classes. They are the overlord for most of the races throughout the country.
Have you bought a rudder? If not there are several types. One type comes with just a pintle. Drill a hole through the deck and into the end pour and cram it in.
You need one with a bolt on adapter. It is still a pain to bolt it.
To work the rudder you do not have buy pedals. You can build pedals like the kind used on surfskis. You can also use a t-bar tiller, like Olympic boats. Westside also uses them.
The cleat is used to lift the rudder when not in use.
I have seen very few QCC 600s with rudders, so I think you need more practice. If you see a 19 foot by 18 inch yellow decked boat or 12 foot woodstrip with a fly fisher in it on the Hillsborough, that is me.
Pretty much everyone here has told me I don’t need to add a rudder so I probably won’t be doing that anytime soon. But I will definitely keep your tips in mind. My seek kayaking group doesn’t really like to do rivers. I’ve been posting on the local groups begging people to kayak with me on the river because I’m not comfortable going alone yet. Message me if you want to go kayaking with a newbie.
Where are you located?
Oh I think I must have responded to the wrong post. I’m still having a hard time navigating around this old timey message board. I’m in Tampa and I know you’re not. I was trying to respond to Craigf because he does live near Tampa and paddles the Hillsborough River.
CraigF, If you want to go kayaking with a beginner in Tampa on the Hillsboro River, message me. I don’t find enough people who want to go and I need more practice.