Fellow kayakers.

I am sitting here in 12 inches of snow wondering how to approach our summer vacation. Last year we purchased a 160 T along with our 145T. Neither have a rudder. The 140t is manageable without one on lakes , wind etc. The 160T is a beast, hard to track. I am debating whether or not to add a rudder or trade it on a 145T.

Can anyone speak from experience whether the rudder handmade or storebought will make a noticable difference on the 160T?

My wife and I usually pilot each kayak with our 11 and 13 year old as the hammer. Open lakes and slow rivers are our choice.

Anny suggestions?

160T w/rudder
We have a 160T, and the rudder makes a huge difference, particularly in the wind. We have also found that properly trimming the boat is very difficult with an ever-changing mixture of kids and adults. The rudder also helps make this less critical as well.

We had rented a 135T a while back, and although we enjoyed our day, when loaded with two adults and a child or some gear, it was evident that a larger boat was needed. The boat sat so low in the water that I would have been afraid of even moderate waves and large wakes.

When I went shopping for a boat to buy, all I could find locally were the 135T and 160T. I was actually looking for a 145T. Now I am glad I got the larger boat, since the additional volume has provided more space for the front and rear float bag sets I have installed. I also highly recommend the mini-skirt that WS makes for this boat. It can be configured in a number of different ways, and keeps the front seat person much drier in windy conditions.

We do not need that much space for day trips and purchased a 135T this year. We have been in very windy conditions and had felt no need for a rudder.

Thanks for the info. I am glad the 160T works for you with the rudder. The 145T is an excellent choice also. We wanted one larger kayak so we could carry gear in it along with the other one.

I am curious about the rudder. Does it get in the way when loading and unloading?

Do you find it difficult to steer with your feet and paddle or do you keep it straight most of the time? I am not the best at chewing gum and walking if you know what i mean.

I have not had the rudder be a problem while loading, but there is a tie-down cord that you have to remember to unhook before you launch, otherwise, it is difficult to unhook using a paddle.

The movable foot pedals do bug me a bit. I prefer to be able to push against firm footrest while paddling. One thing I have done to address this is to increase their resistance and help them re-center by using two large heavy duty rubber bands (about seven inches in diameter - from Office Depot)and hooking them around each pedal and attaching the other end to the back of the middle foot brace rail. this continuously pulls each pedal forward and tends to re-center the rudder if I take pressure off of the pedals.

One thing about the soft pedals - since this boat has no thigh braces, the is no real need to “lock yourself in” as you would in a single-person touring boat.