Rudder for 2.5" rockered tandem?

Hi, Have a great old heavy Rx Dagger Legend tandem river runner that I’d like to use for flatwater now too if practical. Wife and I had a tough time last eve with weather cocking in about 10+ kts wind and a long fetch on our local choppy/rolling flatwater Pamlico River. A 2009 post suggested a rudder may be of little value in a light n lean solo but wondering if would help my heavy tandem and if anyone knows of a source for one, or the piece parts? Tks, R

I’d bet

– Last Updated: Jul-25-10 11:47 AM EST –

That if you put a rudder on a Legend Steve Scarborough will hunt you down and snatch you bald headed.

One option to improve tracking would be to swap boats. Another would be an ACA Essentials of Touring Canoe session. Let's summarize the latter.

To start with, make sure the hull is trimmed down at the stern slightly. The easiest way to do that is always place the larger paddler in the stern. Then, if you two paddle IN CADENCE, ON OPPOSITE SIDES and switch to steer you'll do fine in a Legend, one of the truly great river tripping tandems.

The trick to cadence and steering is communication. The stern paddlers is usually looking at the bow paddler's back, so the bow paddler determines cadence, changing every ten strokes or so to reduce fatigue. Most stern paddlers will notice that too, and switch sides automatically.

The stern paddler can better see when the hull is drifting of course, so he calls the huts. Hut! indicating both paddlers need to change sides to maintain course or set up to move around and obstacle.

Once those basic rules of the river are achieved, try to get your top hands out over the rails to use vertical strokes to eliminate that source of misdirection, then shorten your strokes so they end at mid thigh.

When ever a tandem is turning towards the bow paddlers' side, the cause is ALWAYS the stern paddler using a horizontal stroke, which has a sweeping component, or carrying the blade behind his body int a sweep. Both sins turn the boat and have kept divorce attorneys busy for a century, after the husband blames his wife for something he caused! Don't do that!

All will be well and you won't need to ruin a fine canoe.

Rudders are heavy, expensive and fragile, which seems an unhappy combination. I agree with John Winters comment that they are an indication the designer failed. Steve didn't.

One thing CE didn’t mention is trim.
How was the canoe trimmed when you had those problems?

Legend Front Seat Location
Like many whitewater boats the front seat in the Legend is about a mile back from the bow. Its great to keep the bow light in whitewater drops so you don’t submarine, but having the seat so far back leads to poor paddling balance between the bow and stern.

I spend a totally miserable morning paddling a Legend across a windswept lake with a very capable and familiar partner. The fixed seats and no gear load handicapped us in trying to trim the canoe. We did a correction stroke for every forward stroke we took. The very full bow that makes it so bouyant in whitewater is like pushing a sheet of plywood thru the water.

The Legend may be a legend on a whitewater river, but it was a miserable slug across a lake. I rate it below a Discovery 174 or a Grumman Eagle for paddling ease.

Definitely check your trim in this canoe and stay home when its windy.


I consider the Legend a mixed use
canoe. It has too little rocker for whitewater. The seat situation you describe shows the company knew it wasn’t a hull for whitewater, but anticipated it would be used that way.

If a tandem is truly designed for whitewater, it should not have the front seat so far back that it won’t handle flatwater properly.

Rudder on a Legend?
Putting a rudder on a Legend 16 would sort of be like putting a spoiler and ground effects on a Ford F-350 Diesel truck.

Ok All - No Holes in the Legend - Will
work on technique and trim :-). Maybe get a light, quick, tandem flatwater daytripper in the future. We have to run & keep up with our younger yaker paddle friends as v. few canoe lovers around here, and these seniors prefer the comfort and convenience of open boats. Thanks for the sage advice and experience sharing. Rick

If you carry the beer, the yakkers will
always wait for you.

hey Pete
’round these parts that’s considered a good idea.

Having spent 6 years on an outrigger canoe, I love the pivoting under-stern rudder.

It is the best weapon against the two evil things that keep the canoeist on shore: wind and waves. Go ahead and knock yourself out with correction strokes, sweep strokes, load shifting and perfect form. In strong wind and waves, for the single blader, that stuff–in modern parlance–sucks.

The under-stern rudder also helps control the boat while surfing and fighting currents.

Unfortunately, a pivoting under-stern rudder (as opposed to the less effective over-the-stern rudder), would be a rather complicated device to install in an open canoe. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one.

A decent substitute for fighting wind and waves would be a drop-down skeg box positioned in front of an open canoe’s stern seat.

I’d love to have an open canoe with that. You could add more rocker than the typical touring canoe, yet have the ability to drop the skeg partially or fully for forward travel and w-w weaponry.

Not a bad idea
Putting a skeg box and skeg in the stern of a maneuverable canoe sounds pretty intriguing.

Now about a retractable skeg in a Wildfire?

I’ve considered making a drop skeg
for our MR Synergy. With a skeg, it would make a tolerable pocket tandem for short and medium lake ventures, when we’re up in the North and wanting to paddle mixed waters.

I figure the skeg could be on a V-yoke pivoting off the gunwales and swinging down close to the stern. That’s as far as I’ve got.

Here’s a WW kayak with a drop skeg

The idea is precisely to have a turnable WW boat that can track decently across a lake.

Yes, I would like a drop skeg in a Wildfire-like solo canoe with even more rocker and a little more depth to handle waves better.

Thanks, Really Like the Skeg Idea and
should be not too dificult to install/seal/operate in an open boat. Getting very popular in yaks, and been on my old windsurfers from day one. Big challenge would be best position for it along the center line in the stern for best result, and selecting best box n blade shape. And the risk of tearing it out in the Legends original river running role. Also living with the comments of the long time Legend fans as we’d be going from a few holes in the stern to a big hole in the bottom :-). One of my windsurfers has a nice spring loaded replaceable skeg, but not ready to canibalize it yet. Will look at yaks with them and see if there is a favored point WRT balance and trim. Will google to see if anyone else has tried it. Great forum - thanks all. R

I have a Legend 16
and in years past, I paddled it quite a bit on flatwater, even solo. Needless to say, it is not the greatest design for that purpose and I don’t think I would choose to paddle it any distance of flatwater these days, unless I had no reasonable option.

The Legend has enough room in front of the bow seat so as to be able to glue in a pair of pads allowing the bow paddler to kneel, which might get the weight forward a bit. If that isn’t enough you could add a little weight to the aft stem area which should trim it out.

If the boat is in reasonable condition, rather than making a sizable investment in a skeg or rudder, I would either reserve it for river use, or sell it, and look for a more suitable flatwater tandem.

get another boat
The Legend is a decent boat. But your aims have changed and its time to change the boat and not wreck the Legend. Let someone else enjoy it.

Its boxy and catches wind on the flats. We traded our Legend in for a Dumoine for canoeing the Missinaibi several years ago. Had we had the Legend we would still be south of Moosonee.

Peoples canoeing life changes…its ok to swop boats.

We did quite well in the Hudson WW Derby in the Legend even though we had no idea what we were doing and we managed to keep it upright in class 3 even though it was full of water…eddy out submarine!