Rudder question

I’m thinking of adding a rudder to my Pungo 140.

I plan to get a system that will still allow me to keep the pegs fixed with toe rudder control.

Do you have to keep pressure on the toe adjusters at all times when the rudder is down even when going straight?

Is the Smarttrack a good rudder? With this system I see there is a trim tab hand control available. Is this used with foot controls or in place of?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

I have a toe (gas peddle) style rudder on my Seayak and if I don’t keep a little pressure then waves and such will push the rudder about. I adjust the cable tension such that a fairly natural position on the peddles will keep the rudder neutral.

With the Smart track rudder
if you have it adjusted properly the balls of your feet will be on the fixed pegs, and where your toes end up will automatically keep the rudder in the straight position.

Then when you want to turn you apply pressure with your toes which automatically takes the pressure off that same foot and allows the rudder to turn.

With all that said, the smart track has way too many parts, and it does not lay over on your rear deck. It sticks straight up in the air, and if you do a lot of creek paddling it loves to get caught in low branches.

I have a love/hate relationship with them.

If you do several thousand miles of paddling in a year, you need to keep a complete supply of all their parts and pieces. Especially a few spare cables.



Why considering the rudder?
Avoiding the rudder/no rudder controversy, adding one will still cost money and time. There may be a more direct way to resolve this given that the boat in question is a Pungo 140, a boat that only has so much scope no matter what you do to it.

Very Tactful
way of saying the effort of installing a rudder would be wasted on a Pungo. Not a bad boat but it’s a far cry from a racing kayak and known for it’s straight tracking. It would be interesting to know why the poster thinks a rudder is needed on that model.

I use the boat for fishing and I thought it would be useful when drifting due to wind. The Pungo tracks fine. I thought a rudder would help during turns when traveling to my favorite fishing spots. I typically paddle 6 - 10 miles of flat water twice a week.

I think when drifting downwind the rudder will mostly cause the boat to point downwind. I’m not sure how much control it will give you - perhaps people with similar boats can give you an idea.

As far as the turning, I wouldn’t bother on such a short boat, but it’s just personal preference. Sweep and rudder strokes will turn the boat just as fast, IMO, and without all the time and money spent installing a rudder. But if you’ll enjoy your boat more paddling with a rudder, then go for it. (If you haven’t already, try a similar boat with a rudder so you’ll know that after the conversion you will be satisfied with the result.)

The Pungo 140’s stern
angles the opposite way of most kayaks. Are you sure its rudder compatible?

Good point
One of our boats (Necky Arluk 1.9 - her boat) has a Smart Track on it. I liken it to an Italian sports car – sleek design, overly complicated, and works wonderfully when it’s not broken. Problem is, it’s usually broken.

So that boat hardly ever gets used anymore, because the rudder has broken more than once when it was needed, and the skeg boats get 99.9% of the water time and all of the big water time.

If for fishing…
Thanks for replying. Honestly, if this is to help hold the boat from drifting while fishing, I’d guess that the hassle of managing even something like a SmartTrac type rudder system would be a giant pain while trying to either relax or concentrate for fishing. Don’t know which style fisherman you be - I was the relaxing type myself if it was freshwater, reason that trout fishing and I never made a match.

For that purpose, I think you’d be better off looking for something like an anchor or a drogue. That would allow you to stay physically involved in fishing but still limit your drift.

As to the turning part - if you are in high enough wind, a rudder could make your life easier yes. But conditions that absolutely require a rudder to turn the Pungo are not going to be really fun conditions for a boat with that size cockpit. I suspect that the conditions you tend to be out in can be managed by shifting your weight to create a bit of an edge and a good sweep stroke too. What wind forces to you go out in?

And I who am a rudder lover,
completely agree with you.

a Sealine rudder would be way to expensive for that boat.

I would be tempted to jury rig a home made rudder or find a el cheapo one.



I typically don’t go out if the winds are more than 10-15 mph. I think everyone here has convinced me that it wouldn’t be worth the cost. That and the fact that I would have to Fab a bracket due to the angled rear. I was hoping to “hear” from someone that had tried a 140 with rudder, but perhaps no one has.

Thanks for the opinions.