I am new to the forum, so if this topic has been covered in the past, my apologies for the redundancy. I have a post-2009 WS Tsunami 145 that I would like to fit with a rudder. Can anyone share their experiences with the Smarttrack rudder system vs. the WS rudder kit? Any and all comments would be greatly appreciated.
I put a Crack of Dawn kit on my Tarpon
I got a crack of dawn kit for my Tarpon and would do it again. I got it from Masthead sailing store. they are in Florida and online. I’ve had very good luck with their store service over the years.
The mast head kit has sliding peddles just like the wilderness kit. The smart track kit has toe controls which are better in theory. However, I caution against the Smart track gear for salt water usage unless you are certain they have upgraded their expensive kit. Apparently some of the aluminum parts are not the salt water resistant kind of aluminum so they dissolve in a year or two.
Toe control vs. sliding pedals
If the WS kit is the same as the ones I've seen installed in the 2007 or so models Tsunamis, they are not good because they have sliding pedals. Not to mention that for me, they robbed me of my last inch of leg room compared to the non-ruddered version and for me that meant I did not fit in the ruddered version at all... With such system, if you have steering you have no support to push against with your feet (and if you lock the rudder, you can push off the pedals but you got no steering). Pretty useless...
SmartTrack has a solid pedal to push against and you control the rudder with your toes. Works very well if you can mount them at the right height. The pedals themselves are a bit smaller than ideal, I feel. There are other brands that are similar and some that have a rotating (rather than sliding or toe-controlled) pedals that also offer solid bracing in the center or one edge and the pedal rotates to steer...
The best systems (such as the ones sold by Epic or ONNO etc.) use full plates across the width of the kayak so you can put your feet wherever you like.
There is yet another option, with a tiller steering, but that I theorise (have not tried it for more than a few minutes) is no good except on flat water - you have to do some pretty fancy footwork to steer while you paddle actively in lumpy conditions with something like this...