Here in the dead of winter I have been musing about the rudder on my Kayak. I have a kevlar Swift Bering Sea with a SealLine SmartTrack Rudder. I bought the boat used and this rudder would not have been my first choice. I like the fact that it deploys easily, but I REALLY don’t like the fact that it sticks up in the air when not in use, which is most of the time. So, I am wondering if there are any replacement options. I asked Swift about installing a skeg (my first choice) but they said they would have to tear the boat apart to do that. It seems to me that it could be done through the rear hatch but who knows. Any thoughts?
I like my Sealine rudder on my QCC-500 (basically a Swift Bearing Sea). The foil sticking up can sometimes get in the way, but it works soooo well when needed.
That said, here is a link to a DIY skeg and box. Installation would not require “tearing the boat apart” but you will have a skeg box that is open from hull to deck. Also, I would not attempt this project unless you are experienced with laminating composites.
Can the blade be removed?
Thanks for the advice, and I have no experience with FG/kevlar work, so I think I’ll pass on the skeg. Is it possible to remove the blade of the smarttrack rudder ‘easily’, so that it is less intrusive when I’m carrying the boat, or on days where I know I won’t need it?
Removing rudder blade
It’s pretty easy to just remove the blade of the rudder when you don’t want it in the way. I used to do that when playing in the surf in my Elaho (it had the same rudder system) to avoid damaging it if the boat got tossed onto the sand or flipped in the shallows.
If I remember correctly there’s a cotter pin you can pull off and slide out the tensioning unit, then the blade just lifts out after you unhook the retracting rope. I don’t have the boat to give you specific instructions, but if I could figure it out, anyone can! Less than two minutes to remove or replace.
Virginia Sea Kayak Center
Just wondering, you are removing the rudder because it LOOKS funky? Do you dress in normal kayaking apparel? Not much is funkier looking then a kayaker paddling a lime green boat with a skirt on clad in a day-glow dry or wetsuit. Topped off with a yackhat...aka tilly.. *L* yeah I too think the rudder looks goofy on my 700, but it works. kind of like the old "VW Bug" commercials.
The problem I have with it
It not only looks goofy, but I have bashed it while taking the boat in and out of the garage, and I’m worried I’m going to damage the thing because it sticks up like that. As I said, a skeg would have been my first choice, but I will live with this ‘funky’ rudder. Thanks…