I have a yak that uses para cord for it’s rudder and I’m thinking of changing to cable. Is this difficult or should I leave well enough alone and stick with the present system. Thanks FishHawk
From West Marine
1/8" polyester braided cord is lower stretch than paracord, will stand up to the elements better, and will not force you into the esoteric world of aircraft cable, swaging, eyes and such.
…SS cables can be tuff to cut w/o the proper tools and the ends tend to unravel while trying to secure them to end fixtures. but they last a lifetime and don’t wear or degrade from sun exposure.
Stainless cables the size used in kayaks have a fairly long life, they do not last forever however. And on occasion they break too, worse in saltwater when it’s not washed off. One of the reasons you are urged to learn to paddle without a rudder.
I think if you want to use rope, but would like something with less stretch, I'd choose a higher performance braid. There are a variety of braids with polyester jackets (so they're UV- and abrasion-resistant) but with fancier cores that dramatically reduce stretch. I'd think it would be annoying to have stretchy rudder cables, and particularly at small dimensions you'll notice polyester double braid stretching.
The next step up from the basic polyester braid you linked to is something called "Sta-Set X". It's not much more expensive, and has half the stretch of polyester braid. Just a little harder to tie knots in because it's stiffer. Beyond that you get into exotic fibers like vectran, and the price goes up, as well as trade-offs, like UV vulnerability. Check out a dinghy racing site like Mauri Pro to browse small-diameter low stretch rope options.