Rudder cable (cable or twine?)

My surf ski and outrigger both have metal rudder cables but my Epic 18X uses twine. I never really thought about it before, but what do most kayaks use? The twine must flex compared to cable and affect responsiveness. Is there a way to change the Epic to cable? Thanks.

Could be Spectra
Spectra and a lot of similar new fiber materials stretch about the same as steel but have better corrosion resistance and less problems with kinking causing weakness. I’d call the manufacturer before you change it. You just might make it worse.

I have considered changing mine to spectra as they would be thinner and may slide easier thus reducing sticky rudder response.

My boats had twine when …
…they came from the manufacturer, and the previous owner, who raced, replaced the gas pedal/twine system with a tiller/ss cable system.

One thing that had recently occured to me, after reading about how someone had gotten their foot somehow caught in the rudder cable in a capsize, is that I could use my knife to cut the twine, but not the cable!

1-1.5mm usually used in kiteboarding. Depending on formulation the stuff little to no stretch and not leave burrs on cut ends. Definitely effective alternative to ss cable.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

Idle question of the day :
How does one termiate the synthetic cords? Swaging an eye onto a aircraft cable is fairly simple and foolproof, even using a thimble and swage is a no-brainer.

Knots? Can eyes be swaged onto Spectra/Dyneema?

Inquiring minds want to know.


Jim, when I used to paddle
ruddered kayaks I replaced all my stainless steel rudder lines with 2mm (nominal) Dyneema (polyester sheeted).

Stainless steel does corrode in an anaerobic environment when mixed with salt water (line housing). SS also fatigues and while it might look great on the surface suddenly will fail when you least expected it. It did it on me despite regular inspections of the lines and did it on other kayaks of friends of mine.

A Dyneema line with a smooth sheet (some Spectra have a coarse sheeting) will have less chance of failure compared to SS.

Kayak manufacturers Downunder are now installing Dyneema lines for rudders.

Since Dyneema will not kink like SS there is no need for an eye. A simple loop and a slightly more fancy knot that your basic “granny knot” is sufficient.

I have even put eyes on Dyneema (for looks) with a basic knot (I can’t do knots to save my life :slight_smile: and it held great.

Replacing SS with Dyneema can be tricky when trying to thread the line into the housing…

However I no longer own ruddered kayaks: skeg is my master :slight_smile:

One of these days I may replace my SS cables on my QCC with Dyneema.


Vote for dyneema
Supposedly the stuff has no stretch to it at all. I used it to replace a broken steel cable in a Sealution last summer. The boat was used about ten times before returning to its owners rack in the back of a Capital Hill townhouse. To my knowledge it hasn’t been off the rack this year. But the dyneema held up fine through the ten days’ use.

I just tied knots for terminations. It was tricky to thread the line. I had to attach it to a leader of some sort…don’t remember exactly how, but there was a lot of trial, error, swearing and try-agains. I think I had to thread some thin monofilament first, then tied off a “Y” yoke of mono through the sheath of the dyneema to pull it through.

I bought my line at Annapolis Performance Sailing. You can find them on the net if you need to order some.


So glad I read this…
I am new to paddling but have three older boats, all ruddered and with steel cables that I know are at least 20 years old. They belonged a good friend who raced and I got them when she died. Do you think one could tie the dyneema to the existing cables and pull it through? Sounds like a nightmare trying to do it any other way!